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2011-12 Signal Sports Awards Female Athlete of the Year: Tiffini Stone, Canyon Basketball and T & F

Posted: July 8, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: July 8, 2012 1:55 a.m.

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Coming into the 2011-12 girls basketball season, Canyon was the favorite for the Foothill League title because of its own “Big Three.”


And of that “Big Three,” Tiffini Stone came into the season as the clear No. 3.


Canyon junior Alia McCoy was a popular preseason pick for Player of the Year, based on a breakout sophomore season in which she was a defensive terror who blocked shots, stole the basketball and bravely dove for loose balls. On the offensive side, she was the most complete player in the Santa Clarita Valley — an inside-outside force.


Jaya Shultz, already committed to Pepperdine as a sophomore, had exceptional ball-handling skills for a tall girl, was quick to the basket and herself a defensive-minded player.


Stone had steadily improved through the years, but her skills weren’t on the same level as the other two.
By the end of the season, she became the clear No. 1 of Canyon basketball.


With Canyon battling Saugus for a Foothill League title and the Cowboys playing somewhat erratically in the beginning of the season, the team needed one of the Big Three to take the reins.


Stone did.


As the league season hit the second half, she was not only consistent, but stellar.


It was her with the inside-outside offensive game.


It was her diving for loose balls.


It was her hitting key shots.


She was the most clutch girls basketball player in the Santa Clarita Valley.


That became evident in the postseason.


McCoy found foul trouble at times and Shultz nursed a leg injury.


Stone took over.


In a first-round CIF-Southern Section Division IIAA playoff game against Redlands, she scored 16 points in three quarters.


The next time out, she scored 25 against Segerstrom.


In the quarterfinals against No. 1 seeded Keppel, she didn’t have it.


Yet, Canyon hung tight and in the game’s final minute, she made a lead-changing layup and dished out a lead-changing assist, only to see the Cowboys fall on a last-second shot.


With her high school basketball career over, she switched over to the sport where she was a clear No. 1.


Throughout Stone’s high school career, she has been a track and field star.


As a freshman, she was nominated for The Signal’s Newcomer of the Year, and every year since, she has done something special.


But her resume was always missing one thing — a trip to the CIF State Track and Field Championships.


Her march there began in March, as she transitioned to track and field after basketball season.


On March 3, in the preseason Santa Clarita Valley Track Invitational, she set meet records in the long jump (17 feet, 6 inches) and the triple jump (36 feet, 3 inches).


This was less than two weeks after the basketball season ended.


At league season’s end, she became the Foothill League champion in both jumps. She was also a vital member of the league championship 4x100 relay team.


In the postseason, she again came up clutch.


At the CIF-Southern Section Division II finals, she was the long jump runner-up, despite setting a school record at 18-5 3/4.


But she then set a school record with a 38-5 1/2 triple jump that scored her the CIF-SS Division II title.


It was there where a coach from UC Riverside noticed Stone as he was about to leave.


He offered her a scholarship she would later accept.


On May 25, Stone qualified for the state championships in the long jump at the CIF-SS Masters Meet with an 18-4 1/4.


On June 1 in Clovis at the state championships, Stone finished 14th overall in the long jump with a jump of 17-8.
It was the end of her prep career and the end of one of the most dynamic seasons we have seen from an SCV female athlete in recent time.


She excelled at two very different sports.


Now we recognize her as The Signal’s 2011-12 Female Athlete of the Year.

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