La Cañada girls' basketball's Courtney Chen named Rio Hondo League co-MVP

With a league championship and a deep postseason run under its belt, perhaps it's not surprising that the La Cañada High girls' basketball team earned a big share of recognition when the Rio Hondo League awards were recently released.

Spartans senior guard Courtney Chen was named the Rio Hondo League's co-Most Valuable Player along with South Pasadena's Lexie Scholtz, while four of her teammates landed on the first and second teams.

"Being MVP is an award that everybody wants," Chen said. "Everybody wants to be an MVP. When you hear MVP, you're like 'Oh, wow.'

"It's definitely an honor and I'm happy I received the award."

Chen was the catalyst for a strong season for the Spartans, as she averaged a team-best 12.5 points per game, while adding four rebounds, four assists and 3.1 steals per game through 27 games this season.

"Courtney is a special player and she's going to end her career as the school's second-leading scorer," Spartans Coach Tamar Hill said. "She's difficult to defend and she's an animal on the defensive end. She's going to be difficult to replace."

Chen's four-year point total, as listed on, is 1,383 points, which would put her behind Spartans' all-time scoring leader Melissa Lord (1,625 points).

As for the season, Chen helped pace La Cañada to a 24-7 overall record, which included a Rio Hondo League crown.

The Spartans won two games in the CIF Southern Section Division III-A playoffs and reached the semifinals, before falling, 69-57, at Santa Margarita on March 1.

La Cañada recovered from the defeat and qualified to the CIF State Division III playoffs, where the Spartans defeated Eagle Rock, 52-49, on March 12 before having their season ended in Saturday's second round in a 55-43 defeat at Santa Barbara.

"It was a great season," said Chen, who is headed to the University of Redlands in the fall. "You couldn't have asked for anymore for a senior season. I just wanted it to go as long as possible. We had an awesome run."

Two driving forces in La Cañada's success were junior Keilee Bessho and senior Alyssa Miller.

"Keilee and Alyssa complemented each other's game because they took different approaches," Hill said. "Alyssa was huge behind the three-point line, but was also a fantastic finisher.

"Keilee is the opposite. She prefers to slash and drive, but she can also shoot as well."

Bessho averaged 7.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.7 steals per game, while Miller averaged 7.4 points and 3.5 rebounds a game.

Spartans seniors Sarah Borland (4.8 points and 2.8 rebounds) and Aundrea Issakhanian (6.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game) were selected to the second team, while Sarah Kurdoghlian and Marie Weston earned honorable mentions.


Follow Andrew J. Campa on Twitter: @campadresports.

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