Melgoza earns All-City MVP honor after record-setting year


The numbers are amazing: Six 40-point games; 10 30-point games; a 50-point game in the CIF quarterfinals on the road; scoring more than more than 1,000 points this season while shooting over 50 percent from the field; racking up 2,000 points in three years of varsity basketball.

Amber Melgoza had one heck of a junior season for the Santa Barbara High girls basketball team. Her scoring helped the Dons post a 24-7 record, win three preseason tournaments and advance to the semifinals of the CIF-SS 2AA Division.

Presidio Sports is pleased to name Melgoza as the MVP of the All-City Girls Basketball Team.

Amber Melgoza - Santa Barbara High

Amber Melgoza is Presidio Sports’ All-City MVP for Girls Basketball

The All-City roster includes Jada Howard of Santa Barbara, Bishop Diego’s dynamic duo of Hannah Rogers and Jordyn Lilly, Carpinteria’s Tori Kelley and Camila Casanueva of Dos Pueblos.

With her ability to score from anywhere on the court, Melgoza drew all kinds of defensive tactics from opponents. But it didn’t matter what they threw at her because her teammates were so good at getting her the ball in positions to score. She also was very good at creating her own opportunities. She’s deadly with the step-back jumper.

“Her shooting percentage was the highest we have had a player reach since 1990, quite a feat,” Santa Barbara coach Andrew Butcher said. “Also, she scored more than half of our team’s points.”

Butcher credits Melgoza’s improved play to the hard work she put in during the off-season

“Her improved conditioning allowed her to play at a very high level for extended periods of time,” he said. “Many high school players lack this.”

In her 50-point game against Fontana’s Summit, Melgoza took a physical beating against some aggressive defenders.

“In my opinion, her best game was the 50-point outing at Summit in the quarterfinal,” Butcher said. “They had won 19 straight games and were a solid team.”

He said Melgoza’s improvement in staying under control and balanced when she drew contact enabled her to get calls from the referees and get to the foul line.

“Amber has been working a lot on being a lot more balanced when she attacks the basket,” Butcher said. “She’d drive and fake and fake and they’d land on her, and she’d put the ball up and get a three-point play.”

Other highlights of her junior season include breaking Holly Ford’s single-game scoring mark of 45 points with a 47-point performance and then rewriting the record with 48- and 50-point games; becoming Santa Barbara’s all-time career scoring leader with 2002 points, passing the 1,804 points of Lisa Willett; becoming only the fourth player in CIF-SS history to score more than 1,000 points in a season. She finished with 1,015.

“Besides the scoring, she led us in rebounding, was our best defender and led the team in times on the floor diving for loose balls,” said Butcher.

2014-15 All-City Girls Basketball Team: 

Amber Melgoza, Jr., Santa Barbara, MVP

Jada Howard, Jr., Santa Barbara: Howard was a stealth-like defender for the Dons on the press, picking off passes and starting fast breaks. Howard averaged 3.1 steals per game. Offensively, she was second on the team in scoring, averaging 11.2 points per game. She also averaged 5.3 rebounds and was a 72 percent free-throw shooter.

Jordyn Lilly, Sr., Bishop Diego: An all-around player, Lilly was the leader for the CIF 5A-champion Cardinals. She was the team’s top scorer, but she made it point to get everyone got involved in the offense. “She made everyone she played with a better player,” said Bishop coach Jeff Burich. She sacrificed scoring this year, dropping from 18.7ppg to 15.8ppg to make us a better team.” She also played tough defense — she held the state’s leading scorer to 13 points and her worst shooting percentage. Lilly became the school’s all-time scoring leader with 1,288 points. “Her unselfishness helped develop players like Hannah (Rogers) and Sienna (Gonzalez) and is the reason we won a CIF championship this year,” said Burich.

Hannah Rogers, Sr., Bishop Diego: Rogers was a double-double machine for Bishop. Twenty-four times this season she chalked up double figures in points and rebounds. She averaged 15.5 points and 13.3 rebounds. “She became one of the best rebounders in the history of Bishop Diego with multiple 20-plus rebound games,” said coach Burich. She was tough to stop in the low post and formed a great chemistry with Lilly on the pick and roll. “She became a leader that the rest of the team looked up too.  She is still improving and I can’t wait to see reach her full potential,” said Burich

Tori Kelley, Soph., Carpinteria: The point guard was an all-everything player for the Frontier League-champion Warriors. She averaged 16 points, 4.8 steals and four rebounds. “There were a few close games in the middle of league season where she willed us to victories, each victory a must to eventually win the league,” coach Dan Mercer said. “Tori’s a joy to coach because she wants to be the best that she can be — the sky’s the limit for her.”

Camila Casanueva, Soph., Dos Pueblos: A savvy, fearless player who ran the DP attack. She averaged 11 points and 3.1 assists. She also was one of the best free-throw shooters in the area, shooting 81 percent from the line. “Camila had a breakout year,” DP coach Phil Sherman said. “She proved that she could compete with the best point guards in our league. Her confidence in pressure situations helped us compete against the best. I believe the best is yet to come for Camila.”