Nipomo’s Daren Sosa has been chosen as the All-Area Offensive Player of the Year.
St. Joseph’s Sam Bazunga is the All-Area Defensive Player of the Year.
Both put together marvelous seasons that culminated their marvelous careers.
Sosa’s senior season, which consisted of 18 games, saw him lead the Titans to the CIF Central Section Division 3 title game, where the Titans lost to Bakersfield Christian by a single point.
Sosa scored 316 points this spring, averaging 17.5 points per game, according to coach Stan Ikeda, the All-Area Coach of the Year.
Sosa shot 49% from the field (112 for 227) and 43% from 3-point range, hitting 64 of his 148 attempts. He also shot 85% from the free throw line.
For his career, Sosa played in 93 games and scored 1,434 points. He made 49% of his attempts from the field (497 for 1,022) and finished his career with a school record 319 made 3-pointers, shooting 44% from deep.
He wrapped up his Nipomo career as an 86% shooter from the free throw line.
“Daren, to me, was probably the best offensive player in the area,” Ikeda said. “He is a super competitor, but he’s not cocky at all. He’s a quiet kid. We tried to get him to be more of a leader, more vocal and those things, but that’s not his personality. But when the game is on the line, he’s the kid who wants the ball and the kid with the most confidence.”
Sosa was named the Ocean League Player of the Year as a junior.
Bazunga made one of the best defensive plays of the season in the CIF Central Section Open Division semifinal against Clovis West, stealing a pass at midcourt with about 10 seconds left and breaking away for a game-clinching dunk.
The Knights went on to win the Open Division title.
“Sam’s got some good instincts out there,” St. Joseph coach Tom Mott said. “He read the play. You’ve got to give credit to Clovis West. It was two great teams going at it and we knew it’d be a one- or two-possession game. Luckily, Sam made a huge play there to put us over the top.”
Bazunga averaged 14 points, eight rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.3 blocks per game for the Knights. He scored 1,010 points in 100 career games at St. Joseph. He grabbed 698 rebounds and blocked 138 shots with 129 steals in his St. Joseph career.
The All-Area MVP was Steven Vasquez, St. Joseph’s standout shooting guard.
The Sixth Man of the Year is St. Joseph’s Dre Roman. Though a starter, Roman was the area’s top complementary player and is likely the top returner in the area. Roman averaged 13.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game for the Knights.
All-Area First Team
St. Joseph seniors Jincho Rivera and Angel Ortiz are both on the First Team. Ortiz and Rivera have also been named All-Area MVPs during their prep careers.
Rivera helped lead the Knights to the Open Division title, averaging 16.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. Ortiz averaged 12.8 points and 5.2 assists per game.
Cabrillo’s Hayden Jory, who was named the Channel League’s Defensive MVP, is on the First Team.
Santa Maria’s Alex Milner averaged 13.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. He’s on the First Team.
Pioneer Valley’s Ebba Tefera is also on the First Team. He averaged 5.5 points and 9.5 rebounds, though coach Ross Rivera said Tefera’s impact for his team couldn’t be counted in points and rebounds.
“His impact was bigger than the stat sheet, though,” Rivera said. “He was a defensive stopper who guarded the opposing team’s best player every game. There were multiple games where he had double digit rebounds. He was the glue for Pioneer Valley and a huge reason why we finished tied for second in Ocean League this past season.”
Righetti has three players on the Second Team: Angel Durazo, Jonathan Trigueros and Damian Simon. Trigueros, a junior, led the team with 13.5 points per game. Durazo, another junior, scored 13.4 points per game. Simon, a senior, added 11.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
Valley Christian freshman Gavin Edick is on the Second Team.
Tanner Buzzard, of Orcutt Academy, averaged over 15 points per game for the Spartans to earn Second Team honors.
Lompoc is represented on the Second Team by Elijah Perkins, who earned Second Team All-Channel League honors.
Cabrillo sophomore Lorenzo Martinez and senior Raymond Vega are on the Second Team.
Santa Ynez sophomore Landon Lassahn, who earned All-Channel League honors, is also on the Second Team.
Nipomo’s Rudy Garibay, Joey Garcia and Louis DiModica are on the Second Team.
Arroyo Grande’s Lucas Juarez, Brody Nabor and Josh McCune made the Second Team.
The All-Area teams are prepared by the sports staff at the Santa Maria Times, Lompoc Record and Santa Ynez Valley News. The All-Area teams covers Northern Santa Barbara Count and Southern San Luis Obispo County.