By Ray Hamill — Del Norte’s Kaleya Sanchez is enjoying an MVP type season on the local basketball courts, and now she’s getting some national recognition because of it.
Sanchez is one of 31 players from California to be named to the McDonald’s All-American list, a prestigious honor for the dominating senior forward who has her team positioned atop the Big 5 standings.
The top 24 players in the nation, who will play in this year’s McDonald’s All-American Games in Atlanta, will be chosen from the list of 400 All-Americans nationwide on Thursday afternoon.
Sanchez earns the honor after leading the Warriors to what has been a breakout season thus far.
Del Norte is flying high at 16-2 and on the verge of a first-ever Big 5 title in girls basketball.
And as the only starting senior on a sophomore-heavy lineup, Sanchez has played a pivotal role in that success.
“She’s unbelievably athletic and competitive,” Del Norte head coach Justin Clifton said of his senior leader. “She likes to win at everything she does.”
Sanchez is also a standout in both volleyball and track and field, and intends on playing the former at the collegiate level.
Clifton, however, feels she’s more at home on the basketball court than anywhere else.
“She’s good at volleyball, and she’s even better at basketball,” he said. “She could play at Humboldt State. She could probably do both there.”
We hope the coaches are listening.
“I’m super proud of her,” Clifton said.
The Warriors, who are a perfect 5-0 in the Big 5, will return to league play on Thursday night at Arcata, and will hold senior night for their two seniors — Sanchez and Shelby Horner — on Tuesday in their home finale against McKinleyville.
The Warriors will then close out the regular season at Eureka on Thursday of next week in a game that will probably decide the Big 5.