On the heels of one of the most successful basketball seasons in College of the Redwoods history for the men’s and women’s teams combined, the icing on the cake came Monday when it was announced by the California Community College Athletic Association that a total of nine Corsairs earned All-Golden Valley Conference honors.
Both the men’s and women’s teams finished in second place of conference — a first in school history — with the women making the state playoffs for the second time in three years and the men being bubble-busted and not making the postseason.
For the men, however, who finished the year 16-10 overall (6-4 in the GVC to finish in a three-way tie for second), five players earned All-GVC honors as sophomores James Slade and Jon Losa were named First-Team All-Conference, while Mitchell Hash and Johnny Shelton were named second-team All-GVC and Justin Heidrick earned All-Defensive Team honors.
Slade and Losa, who were teammates at Ferndale High School for two seasons under current CR head coach Justin Mora, each had remarkable seasons for the Corsairs this year.
Slade, who, along with Losa, were the only players to start all 26 games for Redwoods this season, led the team in scoring at 16.1 points per game and finished second on the team in rebounds at 6.9 per game.
Losa, meanwhile, averaged a double-double for the year with 12.4 points and 14.8 rebounds per game.
His 384 rebounds this year led the state and lands him fourth all-time in the single-season school record books.
“It’s just not going to be the same without those guys out there,” said Mora, who coached Slade the past six seasons and Losa the past four in both high school and college. “I’ve been with them since their sophomore years in high school so it’s been fun to watch them grow and become First-Team All-League players. They deserve it.”
Hash finished the year averaging 12 points and five rebounds per game for the Corsairs, while Shelton scored 14.5 points per game and led the team in assists with 104 (4 per game).
For the women, who finished 8-2 in the GVC for a second-place finish (which is the second time in the past three years, but only the fifth time in the program’s 39-year history), a total of four players (of the seven on the roster) earned All-Conference honors.
CR’s Lili Herrera, Hannah Hurley and Sheila Christy all made First-Team All-GVC, while Kiahna Bell earned honorable mention.
Christy was also selected to the All-Frosh Team, a six-member team made up of the conference’s top freshmen.
“Every one of them deserved it and we almost had Kiahna get first-team also, which would have given us four First-Team All-Conference players,” said CR head coach Doug Oliveira. “And that kind of encapsulates our year and shows that we had production coming from a different person every night.”
Herrera’s team-leading 14.8 PPG game was third in the GVC, but she also led the Corsairs in steals (112) and assists (109) and was third in rebounds (5.1 per game).
Hurley, who came on strong to end the season, scoring career high’s of 23 and 25 points in her final two games, respectively, nearly averaged a double-double inside conference play with 11 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.
“Hannah was just unbelievable in league play,” Oliveira said. “Especially down the stretch, she became a force in our league. And Lili and Sheila were just consistently leading us in scoring and also had big games to end the year.”
Christy finished closely behind Herrera statistically, putting up 13.8 points per game to go with three steals and four rebounds, while Bell averaged seven points, seven rebounds, two assists and three steals per game.
Of the nine players to earn All-GVC honors, six are sophomores who were recruited out of the Humboldt-Del Norte Conference, including Slade and Losa (Ferndale), Hash (Eureka), Heidrick (Arcata), Herrera (Fortuna) and Hurley (McKinleyville).