Outstanding Defensive Player
School: Clovis West
The résumé: The Golden Eagles' 13th Central Section title was delivered with a foundation of defense -- arguably the school's best ever -- and it was the 5-foot-9 Neale who was generally assigned the opponent's best offensive player. In its last three games, Clovis West (23-6) beat two-year defending section D-I champion Hanford 57-39 in the semifinals, beat top-seeded Stockdale 53-38 for the title and lost to Millikan-Long Beach 46-44 in a SoCal Regional. Those teams averaged 66.0, 63.0 and 64.8 in all other games. Neale also averaged 11.4 points.
He said it: "In Portia we had like a shutdown corner in the NFL -- she'd take their top scorer out of the game. She really learned to play tenacious defense without fouling, just grinding someone down and breaking their spirit. She's a phenomenal athlete, strong, fast and powerful. I've coached and coached against a lot of athletes who never became basketball players because they did not embrace fundamentals. Portia did, she owned it, she matured and transformed from being a great athlete to a complete basketball player. She'll be a scholarship kid, it's just a question of what level. There's no telling; she could write her own ticket." -- Eagles coach Craig Campbell.