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All-SCV Boys Basketball: Coley Apsay, The green arrow

Point guard helped his team end title drought

Posted: April 8, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 8, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Canyon senior and four-year varsity player Coley Apsay made his teammates better with his court vision and instincts at the point guard position. Canyon senior and four-year varsity player Coley Apsay made his teammates better with his court vision and instincts at the point guard position.
Canyon senior and four-year varsity player Coley Apsay made his teammates better with his court vision and instincts at the point guard position.

For the past five years, the Canyon boys basketball program had come up short of the Foothill League title.

For the past two years, the Cowboys had to settle for second-place finishes, despite going a combined 5-2 against the eventual league champions.

They were pointed in the right direction. Turns out, it was their point guard that led them over the hump.

In his final Foothill League season, Coley Apsay led Canyon to its first Foothill League title since 2006. Head coach Chad Phillips retired after the season, but one of the reasons he stayed through 2012 was to finish coaching Apsay.

That’s the ultimate compliment. Apsay paid him back for it, and then some.

The Signal’s All-Santa Clarita Valley Boys Basketball Player of the Year posted solid numbers. He averaged 18.1 points and three assists per game, and he shot 42.5 percent from 3-point range and a reliable 83.3 percent from the free throw line.

But numbers don’t pin down Apsay’s impact on the games he played. His smothering defense showed his teammates how to protect their basket. He controlled the tempo of every game, rarely making a rash decision and operating with the cool of a coach on the court. He rebounded well for his position, showcasing his leaping ability and toughness to battle for boards.

When Apsay was on the floor, Canyon was a much better team. One could point to several examples.

He scored 11 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter to lead Canyon to victory at archrival Hart, securing the Foothill League title in the process.

He scored a team-high 22 points in the final game, a loss to Tesoro High in the CIF-Southern Section Division IIAA playoffs that closed a 24-4 season, the best record Canyon’s ever had.

He scored 15 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter and overtime of Canyon’s critical road win at West Ranch, a team that had given Canyon fits the last couple of years.

That night, teammate Clay Kasdorf went off for 48 points, and Kasdorf’s complete offensive game complemented Apsay all season.

But Kasdorf also benefited greatly from playing with Apsay. So did every other teammate in Apsay’s four years on varsity.

Together, the Cowboys brought the Foothill League crown back to Canyon Country.

It wasn’t hard to find. They had an arrow dressed in green pointing them the right way.

First Team

Troy Hammel • Valencia • Senior

The Vikings came up short in their quest for a third straight Foothill League title, but the blame can’t be laid at the feet of Hammel. He curled his way around screens and weaved his way through traffic en route to a league-leading 21.9 points per game, and he demonstrated his smooth stroke by shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc. The quick guard also averaged 3.2 assists, three rebounds and 1.8 steals per game.

Kevin Harris • West Ranch • Junior
The off-guard with the giant afro led West Ranch in scoring at 17.2 points per game this season, and he shot an eye-opening 59 percent from inside the arc. Harris gave the Wildcats a perimeter threat that helped them clinch a share of the first Foothill League title in program history and nearly upset top-seeded Mission Viejo in the CIF-Southern Section Division IIA quarterfinals. His length also helped him average 2.3 steals per game.

Ako Kaluna • West Ranch • Junior
The Foothill League’s most dominant inside presence, Kaluna showcased improvements to his game this season. He averaged a double-double with 16.1 points and 10.9 rebounds per game, but he didn’t merely use his 6-foot-7-inch frame to bully his way to the basket, instead demonstrating fluid movement at both ends of the floor. That also helped him become a defensive force, averaging more than a block and a steal per game.

Clay Kasdorf • Canyon • Senior
Arguably the most complete offensive player in the Foothill League, Kasdorf played a critical role in Canyon winning a share of the Foothill League title. His 21.2 points per game led the Cowboys in scoring, and his array of moves helped him attack the basket, hit shots from the outside or set up teammates. Without Kasdorf’s epic 48-point performance at West Ranch, Canyon might have finished second in league for the third straight year.

Lewis Stallworth • Hart • Sophomore
Hart suited up a stable of budding young talents this season, and none of them starred more consistently than Stallworth. The shooting guard’s dribble penetration was tough to stop, and he averaged 16.6 points per game while shooting at a 51-percent clip. Stallworth also rebounded well for his position, pulling down 4.4 boards per game, and he had several big games late in the regular season to help Hart nail down third place in the Foothill League.

Second Team
Matt Coleman • Saugus • Senior
Coleman always had talent, but he really came into his own during the Foothill League season, when he averaged a double-double at 12.1 points and 12 rebounds per game.

Myles Franklin • Hart • Freshman
The hyped freshman showed little signs of intimidation at the varsity level, averaging 11.7 points and four rebounds while doling out a league-leading 5.3 assists per game.

Jeremy Gatewood • Saugus • Senior

Few perimeter players were as dangerous as Gatewood, who averaged a team-high 15.3 points per game, but his 4.2 assists per game demonstrated his selflessness.
Austin Maly • Hart • Senior

Maly led Hart in scoring at 17.8 points per game, but he made more important contributions elsewhere, as an in-your-face defender and an even-keeled leader.

Bo Vaughn • West Ranch • Senior
Vaughn made good use of the Wildcats’ weapons by averaging a team-high 5.2 assists, and his play — especially his mid-range game — really rounded into form as the season wore on.

Honorable Mentions
Alek Golden •  Canyon • Senior
Wade Rodriguez • Golden Valley • Senior
Davis Koppenhaver • Hart • Sophomore
Tikko Moore • SCCS • Senior
Chris Lockwood • Saugus • Junior
James Brooks • Trinity • Senior
Zach Davis • Valencia • Senior
Kyle Williams • West Ranch • Junior


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