Athena Saragoza
Santa Barbara’s Athena Saragoza scored 30 or more points in seven Channel League games. (Gary Kim / Noozhawk file photo)

Santa Barbara High’s dynamic senior guard Athena Saragoza was honored as the Channel League girls basketball MVP for the 2021 season.

Lily Mires, a junior forward at Dos Pueblos, received the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award, and Santa Barbara’s Andrew Butcher was named the coach of the year after leading his Dons to a 10-0 league record.

Saragoza, who is headed to Regis University in Denver, averaged 30.4 points per game and shot 52% from the floor. She had seven games where she scored 30 or more points, including a career-high 40 against San Marcos.

The 5-foot-11 Mires was standout for Dos Pueblos at both ends of the court.

Santa Barbara and San Marcos each placed two players on the all-league first team. Junior guard Caia Trimble and junior forward Jaeda Spence were the honorees from Santa Barbara. The San Marcos first-team members are sophomore forward Michelle Arellanes and freshman Natasha Stapf.

Senior guard Ashley Gerken was selected from Dos Pueblos.

Rounding out the team are Santa Ynez senior forward Grace Padilla, junior forward Gabriela Cordova of Cabrillo and junior guard Mallory Branum of Lompoc.

The second team consisted of Santa Barbara seniors Brianna Trujillo and Isabelle Goebel; sophomore Ariel Plourde and freshman Mia Martinez-Tomatis of San Marcos; freshman guard Justine Katz and junior Leila Chisholm of Dos Pueblos; Cabrillo juniors Maiya McIntyre and Heather Zent; Santa Ynez juniors Nayeli Torres and Giszelle Hrehor and Lompoc junior Natalie Soriano.

The honorable mention choices are: freshmen Chloe Adams of Santa Barbara; freshman Ellie Munson of San Marcos; junior Ari Tapia of Dos Pueblos; senior Alexa Smith of Cabrillo, sophomore Cierra Bailey and junior Shantel Gonzalez of  Lompoc and senior Katie Nguyen of Santa Ynez.

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Barry Punzal, Noozhawk Sports Editor

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