Estrella, Pappas garner all-league first-team honors

GLENDALE — After a solid fourth-place finish in the regular season, Crescenta Valley High was the lone local girls’ basketball team to emerge from the competitive Pacific League and advance into the postseason.

Both Hoover and Glendale finished with 4-10 league ledgers and were left on the outside of the playoffs looking in.

The constant between the three teams, however, was that all received stellar individual performances throughout the course of the season.

And as a result, seven players from the three local schools have garnered all-league selections.

Crescenta Valley’s Cassie Pappas and Hoover’s Rachael Estrella both landed on the first team after leading their respective teams in scoring.

Glendale’s Lidia Rivas joined Crescenta Valley’s Candice Chessum on the second team and Hoover’s Chelsea Baqueiro, Glendale’s Anna Shahinian and Crescenta Valley’s Lorrin Cheeney all were tabbed with honorable mention recognition.

Pappas, the only sophomore on the first team, averaged 16 points per game and 7.2 rebounds per game while leading the Falcons to an 18-10 record.

“Every single team’s whole game plan was to pretty much try and stop her and she still averaged 16 points,” said Falcons Coach Jason Perez, whose team fell to Valencia, 62-51, in a wild-card game of the CIF playoffs. “That’s a testament to how well she played this year.”

Pappas scored over 20 points six times this season and averaged over 10 rebounds during her team’s final five games.

“She was our best all-around player,” Perez said. “She hit some really big shots for us.”

While Chessum, a senior, and Cheeney, a junior, didn’t post the gaudy scoring numbers that Pappas did, they played key roles for the Falcons.

“Candice was just solid in every game,” said Perez, who saw Chessum average 7.5 points per game. “It was very hard to take her out of games. ... Lorrin had a very strong junior year. She was probably our defensive MVP.”

Glendale’s Rivas, a junior forward, often led her team in scoring and rebounding as she was a force to deal with in the low post. Shahinian, a junior, gave the Nitros needed leadership and outside shooting from her guard position

At Hoover, the Tornadoes’ entire offense funneled through the lightning-quick Estrella, as she averaged over 17 points per game.

“Rachael was the best guard in the area, I thought,” Hoover Coach Jack Van Patten said. “Being picked for first team on a team that didn’t make the playoffs shows what the other coaches thought of her. It’s a huge honor for her.”

When Estrella wasn’t putting the ball in the hoop herself, she was often dishing out to Baqueiro, who was lethal from the outside at times this season.

“She had to adjust this season,” Van Patten said of his junior forward. “She was our second-best player. She’s gonna have a great year next year.”

Burbank High Coach Bruce Breeden, who piloted the girls hoops program at Crescenta Valley from 2000-04, shared Coach of the Year honors with Muir’s Paul Johnson.

Muir’s Cherrish Wallace and Elize Pierre were named co-MVPs of the league after leading the Mustangs to an undefeated league campaign.

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