Girls’ Athlete of the Week : McDaniel’s Strong Play Has Been Quite a Feat
Aimee McDaniel, the outstanding point guard for the Brea-Olinda High School girls’ basketball team, gets caught flat-footed in games all the time.
No, her defense is not weak; her feet are.
“I have flat feet,” said McDaniel, The Times’ athlete of the week. “I have to put lifts in my shoes.”
McDaniel has overcome her flat feet, a left leg that is shorter than her right, a bad back, shin splints and two sprained ankles to help lead the Wildcats (30-2) to their seventh consecutive Orange League title, the Southern Section 3-A title and the Southern California Regional Division III championship.
Last week McDaniel, who leads the team in scoring with 16.9 points per game, scored 59 points in three games to help the Wildcats win the regional title and give them a chance to play for the state title against Mercy of San Francisco Saturday at the Oakland Coliseum.
But the day before the regional title game against Lemoore, she sprained her ankle for the second time this season.
“We were concerned about that because she was in a lot of pain,” Brea Coach Mark Trakh said. “But we rehabbed her Friday night and in the morning they taped her up and said she could play, and she played well. She hit four of eight three-pointers, handled the ball for us and everything else.”
At the beginning of the season, she got treatment on her back twice a week.
“Because my feet are uneven, it tweaked my back,” said McDaniel, 16. “I would keep playing on it. I would go to the North Orange County (sports) rehabilitation center and they would crack my back and adjust my feet, so it would make my feet even again.”
But the back problem irritated her shins, causing her to miss three league games.
“I remember one practice they hurt so bad I just wanted to cry,” McDaniel said. “I played soccer before and never had (shin splints), but I guess it is just the pounding on the floor, and I have flat feet, and I guess that’s what did it.
“I was kind of disappointed. It kind of put a damper on the season. But I would rather have them hurt at the beginning than at the end,” said McDaniel, whose shins have been relatively pain-free for the past three weeks.
Despite her aches and pains, McDaniel has directed the Wildcat offense brilliantly.
“She does for our team probably what Magic Johnson does for the Lakers,” Trakh said. “She is just the catalyst. She runs the game . . . controls the break for us. The thing that makes her important in our scheme of things is she makes good decisions as far as passing and shooting, which is important to us because we run so much.”
Said McDaniel: “The shin splints are better and the ankle is fine. So far, I am physically OK, but I’ve still got three or four more days to hurt myself.”
Angie Gomez, Katella High School’s point guard who averaged about six points a game in league play, scored 33 points in two games to help lead the Knights to the girls’ Southern California Regional Division II championship.
Paige Lauby of El Toro was named the most valuable player of the Corona softball tournament Saturday after recording her fourth victory in four outings in a 7-2 victory over San Clemente in the title game.
Brea-Olinda High School
Position: Point Guard
Height, Weight, Class: 5-6, 125, Junior
Last Week: McDaniel scored 59 points in three games to lead the Wildcats to the Southern California Regional Division III championship.
Season: She led the team in scoring (16.9 points) and helped Brea (30-2) to its seventh consecutive Orange League title.