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Posted: March 8, 2008 2:52 a.m.
Updated: May 9, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Excuse us from not overcoming the urge to use bad car puns when it comes to Hart High center Megan Ford - she had no choice over her last name, after all.

But after establishing herself as the league's best player as a Taurus last year, she splurged for her senior year, helping herself to an upgrade.

Think Mustang.

Fully loaded.

All the bells and whistles.

That old sports cliché about a player carrying his or her team on his or her supportive back was created for stretches like the Cal Poly Pomona-bound center's final 28 games in a four-year varsity career as a Hart High Indian.

Last year she averaged 12.3 points.

This year she had 12.5 more than Hart's No. 2 scorer.

The double teams, triple teams, quadruple teams she faced?

Ford's Hakeem-Olajuwon-eat-your-heart-out array of post moves and soft shooting touch made them moot, leading Hart to a share of a seventh consecutive Foothill League championship.

Her 20.5 points per contest (up it to 21.3 in league games) was also nearly seven more points than the next best Santa Clarita Valley player. Add Saugus' Co-Foothill League Player of the Year Lauren Labat and Hart's second-leading scorer Kelli Lewis' points together and you have Ford.

She did it on 54-percent field goal shooting. Ford - and remember she's a center and that she was visiting the charity stripe on a regular basis- was an 80-percent foul shooter.

Twice she scored 30-plus points this season. Twice Ford tied Indians all-time records for field goals made in a game and twice she tied the mark for free throws made in a game.

The points went nicely with her 12.7 rebounds.

Ford broke records with her glass-cleaning as well.

Ford broke a Hart single-game and season rebounding standard previously held by Sara Wilson. Wilson went on to play at the University of Oregon and then professionally in Europe.

Hart's first-year head coach Zach Koebel once said he'd be stupid if Ford didn't touch the ball on every trip down the court. He calls her Southern California's best post player.

All we know for sure is, for the second year in a row, she's The Signal's the All-Santa Clarita Valley Player of the Year.

First Team
Gabrielle Conn, Saugus
Until a knee injury slowed her at the end of the year, Conn on the glass as any post player in the valley, averaging a Santa Clarita-runner-up best 10.8 rebounds per game. She added 11.1 points and Saugus high's of 3.4 assists and 3.1 steals per game as the undersized but ultra-tough center earned All-League and now All-SCV honors for the third straight season.

Chelsey Hastigan, Valencia
Valencia's only returning starter, Hastigan was leaned on heavily for her leadership and stablity and she delivered big-time. The point guard averaged a team-leading 13.8 points per game, second best in the valley over the course of the season. She also dished out a league-best 4.6 assists and had 2.1 steals per contest. The statistic she'll be remember most for as far as the Vikings are concerned, though, are her 87 3-pointers.

Lauren Labat, Saugus
For what it's worth, Labat was runner-up in our Player of the Year race. The senior was the guard version of Megan Ford this year, a monster in the scoring department during Foothill League play in particular. Saugus' go-to scorer throughout the season at 13.1 points per game, she averaged 18.1 points per contest when matched up against Santa Clarita Valley teams.

Brooke Lemar, Canyon
Asked to run the show for the Cowboys as a new-to-the-team sophomore, Lemar's quickness, athleticism and basketball I.Q. made up for any lack of experience. She led in scoring at 11.7 points per game, adding 3.7 assists and a pair of steals, responsible for many of the swipes and fastbreaks which made the Cowboys such a success this year.

Starla Wright, Valencia
Wright, in her first season with the Vikings after a transfer from Chatsworth High School, broke out in a big way once league season came around. The forward was third best in the entire valley over the 10-game Foothill campaign, becoming Valencia's go-to scorer at 14.7 per game. For the year, the power forward averaged 11.5 points and 7.1 rebounds.

Second Team
Nicole Hicks, Saugus

The lightning quick, slick dribbling, pickpocket-waiting to happen Saugus third-year starting point guard was overshadowed at times by her strong supporting cast but the junior held her own with averages of 8.8 points and three steals, second best of any player in the valley this season.

Lindsey Hill, Valencia
How's this for a No. 3 option? The sophomore shooting guard averaged 11.8 points per game, nearly a point per game higher than any team's second-leading scorer this season. She also notched a matching 2.1 assists and 2.1 steals per game and hit an amazing 20-of-34 3-point attempts.

Kelli Lewis, Hart
A third torn ACL in three years couldn't keep the senior off the court. Despite a serious knee problem which required but didn't receive surgery so she could continue playing, Lewis shined, averaging 8 points and 3.5 assists per game. Most important, she gave Hart key outside shooting.

Angelica Sahagun, Canyon
Canyon's second-leading scorer, the shooting guard's all-around game was key for the Cowboys. Despite taking some statistical steps back from a sparkling freshman campaign due to a preseason knee injury, Sahagun still averaged 8.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and a pair of steals.

Danielle Mofsowitz, Saugus
Mofsowitz, in addition to being the player Saugus counted on when an opposing offensive player absolutely needed to be shut down, came through as a clutch offensive performer for the league's co-champions. She averaged 8.8 points and hit 38 3-pointers, most of them important ones.

Honorable Mention
Roselyn Angilau, Hart
Karla Eberlien, SCCS
Molly Herrera, Valencia
Lindsay Knox, Canyon
Meredith Mathis, Golden Valley
Erin Ruiz, West Ranch
Breann Wilson, Saugus

Coach of the Year:
Jerry Mike, Valencia
With all due respect to the coaches leading co-Foothill champions Saugus and Hart this year, we're giving the edge to the man with two first names over at Valencia High.

Everything was set up perfectly for the Vikings to get run out of the gym by the league's big three of Hart, Saugus and Canyon and perhaps even West Ranch this year, returning just one starter and few backups. Of the top six players in the end-of-year Valencia rotation, two were freshmen, one was a sophomore, another was a junior who wasn't with the team over the summer and one was a senior who played fewer minutes and scored fewer points than anyone the year before.

In past year's Mike could fall back on talent.

This year took leadership. And he rose to the occassion.

Mike's Valencia team was the only squad to beat both Hart and Saugus, finishing in a tie with Canyon for third place.


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