Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Liberty’s Makani Whiteside no only averaged more than 29 points per game for the Hawks this season, but he also led his team to a Div. V Valley Championship, the first in school history. He was the North Sequoia League’s co-Most Valuable player and The Madera Tribune’s boys basketball Most Valuable Player.
Most Valuable Player
Senior Guard Liberty
Whiteside’s emergence helped lead the Liberty Hawks to their first Central Section championship, easily defeating Firebaugh to win the Div. V title. Whiteside blew out every Liberty scoring record previously held. He also could have set the career scoring mark in just one season. There was basically nothing on the basketball court Whiteside couldn’t do. He could hit the 3-pointer, shooting 28 percent, but he could drive to the bucket, shooting 42 percent. He also made free throws, making 74 percent of them and also had 10 rebounds per game and averaged five assists per game. Whiteside averaged 29 points per game. He eclipsed 30 or more points 13 times and scored 51 in a win over Los Banos. He also scored 40 or more points twice. The only question to Whiteside’s season is why was he a co-MVP of the North Sequoia League insteand of a unanimous pick.
Junior Guard Liberty
Whiteside needs a partner like Batman needs a Robin and Stephens was it. When Whiteside drove to the lane, the defense collapsed and that left Stephens with a wide-open shot. He averaged almost 12 points per game and 45 of Stephens’ 73 field goals were from 3-point range, averaging 35 percent. He also eanred first team All-NSL honors.
Soph. Foward Liberty
Copher was one of those players that could do everything on the court. He could drive, hit the jumper and hit the 3-pointer. However, his best came on the defensive end of the court where he could use his athletic ability to stall opponent defenses. He averaged six rebound s per game, but also came away with a steal per game. Just a sophomre, Copher is making a name for himself as one of the best athletes in Liberty history. He earned first team All-NSL defense this season.
Junior Guard Madera
Like Cathy Figueroa for the Coyote girls team, Barrios is the engine for head coach David Lozano’s Coyotes. He can make his own shots with his wild and crazy layups to go with his wild an crazy hair. He is quick and can get to the lane in a hurry. Barrios needs to work on his 3-point shooting and he will be tough to stop next year in the CMAC. He earned a CMAC honorable mention.
Junior Guard Madera
Trukki is another one of those players that could do everything for Lozano, but he took a backseat to Barrios. However, when the Coyotes needed another scoring option, Trukki was the player they turned to. He was dangerous with the baseline 3-pointer where he was almost automatic. He and Barrios give Lozano hope for the future for the Coyotes.
Senior Guard Madera South
Johnson was one of the better sharpshooters in the CMAC. When his shots were falling, it gave confidence to the rest of the Stallions they could play with any team. He also didn’t sit on the 3-point line because he was comfortable shooting three or four feet behind the line. When he was on, he could single-handidly keep the Stallions afloat. He earned a CMAC honorable mention.
Senior Center Madera South
Galvan stepped up later in the year to become the team leader head coach Jody Sharp was looking for. He was the one that kept the team on a steady course. However, it helped that he also stepped up his game. He became an animal getting rebounds. He started to get his offensive boards to fall and that helped the Stallions stay in many games.