GLENDALE — After missing most of last season because of a knee injury, Vanessa Romero went right to work to get back into top condition.
There was plenty on the mind of Romero, a senior guard on the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy basketball team, and she set her list of goals high. Romero wanted to help the up-and-coming Tologs post a winning record and go far in the playoffs. She proved to be the ideal catalyst in seeing Sacred Heart accomplish both of those achievements.
Romero also proved she could more than hold her own on offense and defense, leading to her picking up All-CIF Division V-AA first-team accolades after the CIF office unveiled the list of 12 divisions Wednesday.
"I wasn't really focused on any individual awards," said Romero, who averaged a team-high 15.6 points, 3.4 assists and 2.9 steals. "We just hoped to get to the semifinals and we were able to go farther than the previous three years.
"Getting CIF is awesome and things just turned out well for me."
With Romero back in the starting lineup, the Tologs went 17-12, 4-6 in the Mission League for fourth place. Sacred Heart advanced to the quarterfinals, losing to top-seeded St. Bernard on the road.
Romero finished her four-year career with 1,068 points.
"I did a lot of workouts before the season began and that made things easy for me to get back into shape," Romero said. "I wanted to contribute between four to six points per quarter in all of our games.
"Basketball is my passion and I just love the sport. Hopefully, that rubbed off on my teammates."
Sacred Heart third-year Coach Gino Pacella said Romero had the ability to pick up the prestigious honor.
"She went out there and showed a lot of maturity," Pacella said. "I told her in the beginning of the season that she could score 24-26 points every night, but she averaged 15-16 points and distributed the ball a lot more.
"She's going to be tough to replace and we will see what new player can step up and fill in that role that Vanessa did very well in."
Romero turned in several huge performances for the Tologs. She posted 19 points and four steals to help Sacred Heart earn a second-round playoff win against Workman. She followed that up with an 18-point effort against St. Bernard.
Romero averaged 16 points per game in the postseason.
In a league home game against Louisville, Romero notched 26 points in a 59-38 victory.
"We saw her have a lot of big offensive games," Pacella said. "With her in the lineup, we were a tough team to be reckoned with."