Aysia Shellmire proved her worth with the Burroughs High girls' basketball program this past season.
One needs only to ask Indians Coach Vicky Oganyan how much the senior meant to the team to get a definitive answer.
“Without Aysia, we don't win a league championship. It's that simple,” Oganyan said.
With the 6-foot-1 Shellmire patrolling the post for Burroughs, the team captured a share of the Pacific League championship with Arcadia. It was the Indians' second league title since winning the outright crown in 2011.
Fittingly, players from Burroughs and Arcadia shared the league player of the year honor, as Shellmire and senior Melody Chang were elevated to the top spot.
“I respect her as a player and I respect what they were able to do as a team,” Shellmire said about Chang. “It was a tough battle the two times we played this season.”
Eight players from Burbank and Burroughs were honored with all-league accolades. Making the first team was sophomore Davina Del Castillo of Burroughs and senior Courtney Seidler of Burbank. Indians junior Sidney Ortega and Bulldogs seniors Jamie Gonzalez and Aja Locke were second-team picks and Burroughs junior Jakarra Waddell and Burbank junior Ashley Linda were honorable mention choices.
In the head-to-head contests, the Indians (23-5, 12-2 in league) lost to the Apaches (23-5, 12-2) in the teams' first meeting, 52-49, on Jan. 16, but captured the second contest, 49-45, on Feb. 5, which clinched a share of the title for Burroughs.
Unfortunately for the Indians, they couldn't carry over that success into the playoffs, as they fell in a CIF Southern Section Division I-A first-round contest to Fountain Valley, 61-57.
Shellmire did a workmanlike job for the Indians all season, as her 16.9 points per game were a team high. In addition, she averaged eight rebounds, 3.7 blocks and two steals a game.
“I feel very privileged to get the honor,” Shellmire said of the co-MVP award. “Being a senior, it was a good way to end my high school basketball career.
“I'm really proud of
my team for even getting a share of the league title. From last year to this
year we improved so much.”
Shellmire, a former All-CIF selection, is the first Burroughs female basketball player to win two league championships in her career.
Del Castillo was a rebounding machine for the Indians, averaging 10.3 a game. She also averaged 5.5 points, 3.8 assists and 3.5 steals.
“She deserved to be on the first team because she led us in all categories except for scoring,”
Oganyan said. “She was a big defensive presence for us.”
Seidler played an instrumental role in helping Burbank (16-13, 11-3) place third in league, just one game behind Arcadia and Burroughs. The Bulldogs also defeated El Toro, 53-41, in the first round of the Division I-A playoffs before losing to Canyon Springs, 85-43, in the second round. Seidler averaged 10.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals a game.
“Courtney was injured during the preseason and we really struggled without her in there,” Burbank Coach Bruce Breeden said. “But when she came back she really gave us a boost and she helped us have the success we did in league.”
Gonzalez and Locke were also a large part of that success. While Gonzalez averaged 8.6 points 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals a game, Locke averaged nine points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.4 steals.
“I really had to fight to get the two of them on the second team,” Breeden said. “The fact that we finished just one game behind the league champions, I thought that Jamie and Aja deserved to be on the team.”
Ortega was Burroughs' second-leading scoring with 12.9 points a game, which included 142 three-pointers. She also averaged 1.7 steals a game.
While Waddell averaged 4.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, two steals and 1.6 assists a game, Linda provided a spark for the Bulldogs, averaging 6.1 points, 2.1 rebounds and two steals.
“I've already talked with Ashley and she's ready to get back in the gym and she's going to be ready for next season,” Breeden said of Linda. “She wants to step up for us next season.”