REGION — Jake Gilliam’s rise up the ranks at Torrey Pines has been a lot like the 6-foot-10 senior’s game — slow and steady.
He played on the JV team as a freshman and moved up to the varsity team as a sophomore, playing sparingly due to injury.
As a junior, Gilliam blossomed and earned a starting role on a team that made it to the Open Division semifinals.
This year, the unquestioned leader of the Falcons averaged 15.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game, and led the team to the brink of the CIF Open Division championship, falling in a 48-45 heartbreak to top-seeded St. Augustine.
For this reason, Gilliam is your Coast News Player of the Year.
The two-time all-league first team selection is still undecided on where he will attend college, but expect him to sign during the spring signing period after his strong final campaign.
Coach of the Year
Chad Bickley, Santa Fe Christian
Bickley led the Eagles to the school’s first CIF Title since 2006, a 39-35 triumph over Lincoln in the CIF Division 1 championship game.
Bickley, who has led the program since the 2006-07 season, accomplished the feat with a team that does not have a single Division 1 scholarship basketball player, a rarity in today’s basketball landscape.
Taurus Samuels, 6-0 Jr. PG, Vista — The talented floor general averaged a team high in points (17.1) and assists (5.3) to lead the Panthers to the CIF Open Division Semifinals.
Isaiah Morris, 5-11 Jr. PG, Vista- One of the most improved players in the region, Morris saw his stats jump across the board (16 ppg, 5 rpg, 2.5 apg, 2.5 spg) becoming one of the most potent scoring guards in the process.
Jordan Hilstock, 6-3 So. G, Vista — A first-team All-League selection for a second straight year, Hilstock’s averages (14 points, 7 rebounds) bely his impact on the game as one of the top defenders in the region.
Jalen Flanagan, 6-3 Jr. G, El Camino — The Wildcats leading scorer at 23 ppg led the team to the Division 1 Semifinals.
Ethan Esposito, 6-6 Sr. F, Torrey Pines — Emerged as the Falcons’ second leading scorer (14.3 ppg) and rebounder (7.7 rpg) and was selected Avocado West Player of the Year.
Warren Washington, 6-11 Jr. PF, Mission Hills — The Escondido transfer buoyed the Grizzlies in the paint averaging a double double per game.
Ed Fenzi, 6-0 Sr. PG, Mission Hills — The spark plug for the Grizzlies averaged 17 points per game since becoming eligible Jan. 2 after transferring from Army Navy.
Richard Polanco, 6-7 Sr. PF, Army Navy — The versatile forward put up gaudy stats (26.6 ppg, 16 rpg) for an undermanned Warriors team that nearly upended the fourth-seeded team in the Division 1 playoffs.
Michael Diaz, 6-2 Sr. G, Orange Glen — Stat-stuffing guard averaged 16.9 points, 6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.9 blocks for the Division 2 runners up.
Owen Aschieris, 6-0 Sr. PG, Santa Fe Christian- Exploded his senior year, averaging 22 points per game, including a 41-point effort, to lead the Eagles to the CIF Division 1 title.
Ryan Michaels, 6-1 Sr. SG, Canyon Crest Academy — Ravens leading scorer led team to a deep run in the CIF Division 2 playoffs.
Logan Wazny, 6-3 Sr. SF, La Costa Canyon — Sharpshooting wing was selected to the All Avocado West First Team.
Kody Clouet, 6-3 Jr. SG, San Marcos — Led the Knights in scoring at 16.1 ppg.
Cameron Wager, 6-3 Sr. F, Mission Hills — Versatile defender and scorer was named to the All Avo East Second Team.
Hayden Helfrich, 5-9 Sr. PG, Torrey Pines — Averaged 10.9 ppg and was the emotional leader of the region’s top team.
Xavier Allison, 5-11 Sr. PG, Sage Creek — Led the Bobcats to the CIF Division 3 title and averaged 11.5 points and 7.7 assists per contest.
Graham Cook, 6-3 So. G, La Costa Canyon — An All-Avo West Second Team selection, Cook was the second-leading scorer for the Mavs.
Damien Miller, 5-9 PG, Orange Glen — One of the more unique players in the region, Miller led his team in rebounding at 7.9 rpg to go along with his 9 ppg and 5.2 apg averages.
Charles Dudley, 6-5 Sr. PF, Santa Fe Christian — The Bryant-bound forward was the Eagles leading rebounder and second leading scorer.