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2014 All-SCV Girls Basketball

Canyon's Kali Vittallo is Player of the Year

Posted: April 13, 2014 9:11 p.m.
Updated: April 13, 2014 9:11 p.m.

Canyon senior guard Kali Vittallo led Canyon to a fifth straight Foothill League title and a fifth straight CIF quarterfinal appearance.

 

Twenty-seven.

That sort of says it all.

Canyon girls basketball won 27 games in 2013-14.

If you were not on the team — and that would make all but 13 (including head coach Chuck Johns and assistant coach Paul Broneer) of you — your thought about Canyon basketball this season is that it would be a good team, not a great team.

Not a 27-win game. Certainly not a Foothill League champion and likely not the last girls basketball team in the Santa Clarita Valley standing at the end of the season.

By all indications, the Canyon girls basketball dynasty was officially over before the season started.

The only significant on-court contributor to the program’s past successes was Kali Vittallo — the 3-point line hugging shooting guard who was the third option just last
season.

But options one and two (Alia McCoy and Jaya Schultz) graduated after the 2012-13 school year, leaving Vittallo as the unquestioned No. 1 option surrounded by a team of unproven players.

So coming into the season, Johns moved Vittallo to point guard so she would control the offense and set the tempo for Canyon basketball in 2013-14.

Great idea, but who was she going to pass to with a team mostly full of question marks — including four girls who hadn’t even played basketball coming into their freshman years at Canyon High School.

Now let’s go back to the final result — 27 wins, a co-Foothill League title and a spot in a CIF quarterfinals for the fifth time in five years.

That’s what sets Kali Vittallo apart from any other player in the Foothill League — she made her teammates better than any other player did.

Let’s take Canyon forward Monica Friedl for example.

Friedl was one of the four who was new to basketball as a freshman.

In three years leading up to her senior year, Friedl was, at best, an average basketball player.

In her senior year, Friedl, Vittallo’s best friend, was easily one of the league’s best.

Coincidence?

Friedl’s not the only one who grew leaps and bounds this past season — without naming most of the team, it was most of the team that got better.

Vittallo’s generous passing, smart play and lead-by-example nature were reasons for that.

Now we throw in her stats to show how good of a season she had — 15.3 points, 4.8 assists, 3.5 steals, 69 3-pointers made and a 75 percent free-throw percentage.

In the Foothill League opener, Vittallo fell to the floor and an opposing player fell on her foot.

Vittallo’s ankle was badly sprained.

She had it wrapped all season so tightly that it couldn’t move east or west.

Her lateral movement suffered early, but she powered through it.

On Feb. 7, with Canyon’s league title hopes on the line, Vittallo hit a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left to give the Cowboys a 46-43 win.

The shot prevented Valencia from clinching an outright league title.

It helped give Canyon a league title split and its fifth straight championship.

Vittallo, who will be playing for NCAA Division III Austin College in 2014, was a stellar player who made those around her better.

And for it, she is our choice for All-Santa Clarita Valley Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

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