Judge tops all-league roster
In a league that is blessed with a high level of talent from top to bottom, finding a Most Valuable Player is not an easy task.
When the Sierra Foothill League coaches named their all-league girls basketball team, they faced just that dilemma and when push came to shove, they rewarded their league’s player of the year honor to Woodcreek senior Jennifer Judge.
A trio of special seniors have combined to write a great story in this area over the last four seasons, and all three – Judge, Granite Bay’s Sarah Sciascia and Roseville’s Katie Simon – are by far the most valuable players to their own teams.
“I thought J.J. was the best player the last half of last season,” said Woodcreek coach Ray Beck. “To be an MVP, you have to take your team to the next level and she did that this year. She was the best player in the league.”
“J.J. is such a great all-around player, and if it (the MVP) wasn't going to be Sarah, then I am really glad it could be her,” said Granite Bay coach Melissa Triebwasser. “I think what set J.J. apart was that not only was she a proficient offensive player - people think of her as a shooter, but she scores on the block, from the line, and off the dribble, but she often drew the toughest defensive assignments as well, and did a great job.”
It is that completeness as a player that set Judge apart, and it was her work ethic that has defined the culture of success of Woodcreek girls basketball.
“Every girl that has played with her has seen that no one works harder at the game,” Beck said. “She is the hardest worker on the team and other players have seen what it takes to be good.”
Sciascia, who was the league’s MVP last season, and Simon headline this year’s all-league first team.
“She (Sarah) put up great numbers this year, especially in league play, and played the best defense of her career,” Triebwasser said. “I don't think there is a team that relied more heavily on its star than we did, especially with all the injuries we suffered.”
Granite Bay forward Libby Jelinek, a combination player who made a difference for the Grizzlies in the paint and as a solid perimeter shooter, also earned first team honors.
“As important as Sarah was too us, Libby was the one that made teams pay for trying to focus so much on her,” Triebwasser said. “Her ability to shoot the deep ball, bring the ball up the floor and get us into the offense, along with her incredible rebounding numbers, made her as valuable and worthy as Sarah.”
Oakmont forward Sabrina Ali is also a member of the league’s first unit.
“Sabrina is a quiet, intense person who leads by example,” said Oakmont coach Al Voigt. “She is eager to learn, always looking to improve her game as well as her teammates and has an exceptional understanding of the game.”
Judge’s teammate, forward Cara Jones, is also a member of the SFL first team.
“Cara is a great athlete who is a difficult matchup for other teams,” Beck said. “She had some big games against big teams in this league.”