Plenty of All-CIF honors to be had

Exhausted from partaking in nine playoff games in less than five weeks, Vince DeGuzman reflected on a historical season in which the Renaissance Academy basketball team won the CIF Southern Section Division VI championship.

The Wildcats nearly returned to the Division V state final for the first time since 2008, but fell, 58-57, to Village Christian on Saturday in the Southern California regional championship game.

Though still disappointed from the outcome, DeGuzman received a measure of good news Monday when the CIF Southern Section office unveiled him as the Division VI Player of the Year.

The CIF Southern Section Division office unveiled its first teams for the 12 divisions Monday. It marked the first time that DeGuzman, a senior guard, picked up the prestigious award.

"I wish we were moving on to state, but this award definitely means a lot to me," DeGuzman said. "It was a goal of mine to try to get the award and I knew I could do it.

"I had to work out hard in the gym. When my team needed me, it was a matter of being able to step it up and help them out in anyway I could."

DeGuzman was one of seven La Cañada players to earn All-CIF honors. Renaissance Coach Sid Cooke was named the Division VI Coach of the Year for the first time after guiding the Wildcats to a record of 27-7. Jessy Cantinol and Troy Fontanilla of Renaissance were picked to the first and second teams, respectively.

La Cañada's Darrell Dansby earned first-team honors in Division III-AA, Flintridge Prep's Kory Hamane was a Division V-A first-teamer and St. Francis' Emerson Castaneda and the Rebels' Robert Cartwright were second-team selections in Division III-A and V-A, respectively.

Cooke said DeGuzman, who averaged 15.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game, proved to be a durable and dependable player on both sides of the court.

"He's one of the best people that you are going to find," Cooke said. "He doesn't complain and he's always listening in order to get better.

"He had a lot of big games for us. Sometimes, he would get a lot of points. Other games, he'd grab some rebounds or do something else that would help us win."

Cooke said he was honored to receive recognition from his peers within the division.

"I feel fortunate, as there are a lot of good coaches out there," Cooke said. "This goes to the team because I had a lot of good players.

"It's a group of players who listened right away and got the message [about trying to win CIF]. My assistants helped out, too, and there are a lot of people to thank."

Dansby got the nod to the Division III-AA first team after emerging as La Cañada's top defender and scorer, averaging 11 points and six rebounds a game. The senior forward also recorded 67 blocks.

"Darrell had a great year for us," La Cañada Coach Tom Hofman said. "He was our leading scorer and he was probably one of the two or three best defensive players in school history, that's where his value really was for us."

Hamane, who was tabbed the Prep League's Most Valuable Player, also received first-team Division V-A honors as he helped the Rebels win the league championship for the 10th time in the past 11 seasons. The senior guard averaged a team-high 15 points per game.

"We have a nice tradition of players who have come through the program and earned All-CIF," Flintridge Prep Coach Garrett Ohara said. "He's learned from the guys who were in front of him and become a fine player.

"He was able to drive the net for a basket or knock down a three-pointer. It's one final accolade for him."

Cantinol proved to be a pillar for the Wildcats throughout the season. The senior center averaged 15.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game for Renaissance Academy.

"He's been around here and always worked hard," Cooke said. "He's a lot like Vince in that he could score inside the paint and also dribble well for a big guy."

Castaneda, a senior guard, averaged 16.5 points per game for the playoff-bound Golden Knights. He scored 20 or more points in 14 games.

"With Emerson, he stood out and gave us a lot of big baskets," St. Francis co-Coach Ray O'Brien said.

Cartwright, a sophomore guard, averaged 14 points, 3.8 assists and 2.3 steals per game for Flintridge Prep.

Fontanilla, a senior guard, was named to the second team after averaging 6.8 points, 7.4 assists and 3.9 steals per contest for the Wildcats.

-Andrew Shortall contributed to this story.

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