It was a historic accomplishment in league this season for the Bellarmine-Jefferson High girls’ basketball team.
The Guards were able to capture their first-ever championship in the Santa Fe League, the program’s first league title since securing a Santa Cruz League crown in 2011-12.
Despite going undefeated in league play, a Guard was not voted the Santa Fe League Player of the Year. Instead, that honor went to La Salle junior Julia Macabuhay.
The Guards were still well-represented with plenty of all-league honors, as six players were recognized. Making the first team were senior forward Paige Losoya, junior guard Cosette Balmy, junior forward Claire Borot and sophomore guard Dalila Rincan. Earning sports on the second team were junior guard Caitlyn Couch and sophomore center Kayla Ginyard.
“That is a pretty good amount to get on all league.”
“That is a pretty good amount to get on all league,” Bell-Jeff Coach Claudia Villa said. “It was important for us to win league this year and all of those players contributed.”
Borot played an important role for the Guards, serving as the team’s point guard and playmaker.
“She takes it very personal when we don’t win, that’s how serious she takes it,” Villa said. “She just plays with such intensity and she will just attack a defense. She just works so hard to be successful.”
Serving as one of the team’s captains, Borot gave Bell-Jeff a presence in the post.
“She is really a player who can do it from all over the court,” Villa said. “Her defense is just amazing and she just had so many blocks this season. She really understood what we needed her for and she just did what she did in just such a quiet way. Sometimes when we were having problems, Claire would come in and smooth things out.”
A starter since she was a freshman, Rincan has continued to be a steady performer for the Guards.
“She is just the kind of player that if you ask her to run through a wall she’ll do it. She’s just that kind of a player,” Villa said. “We know that if we tell her to go do something that it’s going to happe.”
Losoya was the lone senior on the team, providing leadership for some of the younger players.
“We really used her experience and that helped us a lot,” Villa said. “Paige was just such an undercover player. She wasn’t flashy and she didn’t make noise about it and that was fine with her. She was one of our other captains and she really fulfilled that role for us.”
Bell-Jeff (23-4) won the Santa Fe League championship with a 10-0 record. The Guards captured the Southern Section Division V-A championship, defeating Chadwick, 56-39. Bell-Jeff went deep into the Division V CIF State playoffs, losing in the Southern California Regional against Rolling Hills Prep, 68-56.