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DeGuzman, Cooke are top Cats

Basketball: Renaissance Academy senior named All-CIF Division VI Player of the Year. Eight area players pick up prolific accolades following stellar seasons.

March 19, 2012|By Charles Rich

Exhausted from partaking in nine playoff games in less than five weeks, Vince De Guzman reflected on a historical season in which the Renaissance Academy basketball team won the CIF Southern Section Division VI championship.

The Wildcats nearly returned to the Division V state final for the first time since 2008, but fell, 58-57, to Village Christian on Saturday in the Southern California regional championship game.

Though still disappointed from the outcome, De Guzman received a measure of good news Monday when the CIF Southern Section office unveiled him as the Division VI Player of the Year.

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The CIF Southern Section Division office unveiled its first teams for the 12 divisions Monday. It marked the first time that De Guzman, a senior wing/point guard, picked up the prestigious award.

"I wish we were moving on to state, but this award definitely means a lot to me," De Guzman said. "It was a goal of mine to try to get the award and I knew I could do it.

"I had to work out hard in the gym. When my team needed me, it was a matter of being able to step it up and help them out in anyway I could."

De Guzman was one of eight local players to earn All-CIF honors. Renaissance Coach Sid Cooke was named the Division VI Coach of the Year for the first time after guiding the Wildcats to a record of 27-7. Jessy Cantinol and Troy Fontanilla of Renaissance were picked to the first and second teams, respectively.

Christian Misi and Davis Dragovich of Crescenta Valley High earned first- and second-team honors, respectively, in Division I-A. Emerson Castaneda of St. Francis earned a spot on the Division III-A second team. Flintridge Prep's Kory Hamane and Robert Cartwright were named to the Division V-A first and second teams, respectively.

Cooke said De Guzman, who averaged 15.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game, proved to be a durable and dependable player on both sides of the court.

"He's one of the best people that you are going to find," Cooke said. "He doesn't complain and he's always listening in order to get better.

"He had a lot of big games for us. Sometimes, he would get a lot of points. Other games, he'd grab some rebounds or do something else that would help us win."

Cooke said he was honored to receive recognition from his peers within the division.

"I feel fortunate, as there are a lot of good coaches out there," Cooke said. "This goes to the team because I had a lot of good players.

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