Gaels' core four honored

GLENDALE — Shortly before the season began, Holy Family basketball Coach Ernest Siy mapped out a way for the Gaels to finish in the top three in the Horizon League.

Siy concluded he would need big performances from a quartet of players to secure one of those places and earn an automatic berth into the CIF playoffs. And those four players delivered for Siy and the Gaels.

Gayle Lachica, Gabby Diaz, Elena Lomeli and Clarizza Merino all earned all-league honors after leading the Gaels to a second-place finish in league. Lachica and Diaz were named to the first team, while Lomeli and Merino earned second-team honors, as voted on by the league's five coaches.

"Team success translates into individual accolades," said Siy, whose team finished 8-12, 6-2 in league for second behind Alverno. "As the second-place team, the league recognized and respected the four players, and I'm definitely happy."

Lachica, a senior guard, averaged a team-high 12 points per game. Lachica was named to the all-league second team last season.

Her presence on the court brought the Gaels together and improved their game as a whole.

"She's the glue that holds us together," Siy said. "She was the best player and the leader of our team.

"She's just like a another coach of the floor. When we needed a big bucket or play, she wanted the ball in her hands."

Diaz received all-league recognition for the second straight season as well. The junior guard was named to the second team last season.

Diaz averaged 6.2 points per game this season.

"She's going to be a leader for us next year and will try to fill the void left by Gayle," Siy said. "She's the type of person who can do a lot of things well.

"She doesn't complain and she is always working hard at getting better."

Lomeli received all-league status for the first time ever. The junior forward averaged 5.3 points per game.

Like Diaz, Siy said the Gaels will need to count on scoring help from Lomeli next season.

"She will also be one of our leaders next year," Siy said. "She developed her shot this year by becoming an outside threat toward the end of the season.

"Her shooting and rebounding improved a lot."

Merino averaged 7.6 points per game this season and gave the Gaels an outside threat.

"She was our big outside shooter," Siy said. "She also did other things and she kept working on her game throughout the year."

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