Lady Knights’ duo in all-star game
They have been basketball teammates since grade school and Saturday night Renee Contreras and Airianna Sesma will get to do it one last time.
The Westview seniors will suit up for the Division I-II South team in the Arizona Basketball Coaches Association all-star game at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Mesa Community College, 1833 W. Southern Ave.
“Renee and Airianna have played on the same team for the last seven years,” said Westview coach Lisa Contreras, who coached both at Westview and in club ball. “They played club ball together. They play really well together. Their chemistry was really good.”
There was an intuitive nature to their games from having played so long together, coach Contreras said.
Contreras and Sesma were integral parts of the 2013-14 Lady Knights’ team that went 26-7 and reached the Division I state championship game, falling to Phoenix Desert Vista.
Contreras led Westview in scoring at 12.0 points per game and averaged 9.3 points per game for her career. She also averaged nearly 4 assists per contest for the four years.
“She worked hard on her 3-point shot and getting to the basket,” coach Contreras said.
As important as Contreras was to the Lady Knights’ offense, her biggest contribution probably came on the defensive end.
Contreras led the state in steals in 2013-14 with 244, averaging 7.4 per game. She racked up 743 steals in her career, averaging 5.3 per outing, and was named the Lady Knights defensive player of the year all four years.
“Renee, defensively she did a lot for the team,” coach Contreras said. “Her on-ball defense is exceptional. She has been playing since she was 4 years old and has gained a lot of basketball knowledge.
“We will miss her defense and her taking care of the ball.”
Contreras’ play at Westview earned her a scholarship to Northwest Oklahoma State University.
Sesma averaged 7.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game as a senior. She tied for second on the team with 28 3-pointers and her 86 steals were second only to Contreras.
“Airianna is a real hard worker,” coach Contreras said. “She is very aggressive and she did a great job on defense. She is very coachable.
“She had been injured as a junior and she worked hard last summer on getting to the basket and improving her outside shot.”
Both players said they are honored to play in the game.
“I’m excited to play in the all-star game,” Contreras said. “I get to play with my teammate, Airianna Sesma, one more time.”
“I’m very excited to play in the game,” said Sesma, who has signed to play collegiately at Phoenix College. “It’s definitely an honor for me. I get to play with Renee one more time. We have played together for years.”
One of Contreras’ and Sesma’s South teammates will be Desert Vista’s Emily Wolph, the ABCA Division I Player of the Year, who led the Lady Thunder to the Division I state title with a 30-2 record.
Wolph averaged a team-leading 15.3 points per game. She also contributed 2.2 assists and 3.0 steals per contest.
The ABCA Division II Player of the Year, Julia Barcello of Chandler Seton Catholic, will play for the North.
Barcello averaged 14.1 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.1 steals per game for the Division II state champion Lady Sentinels (32-3).
She will be joined on the North squad by Baylee Wirtzberger of Buckeye.
Wirtzberger averaged 13.5 points and 3.4 rebounds per game, helping the Lady Hawks to a 28-5 record, losing 58-47 in the Division II state semifinals to eventual champion Seton Catholic.
Additionally, Sharrena Doby of Desert Edge has been selected as an alternate.
Doby helped the Lady Scorpions compile a 20-9 record, averaging a team-leading 16.9 points, as well as 6.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game.
Other notable players scheduled to play for the South are Cecily Wilson of Gilbert Mesquite, a Division I first-team all-state section, and Clarissa Sabedra of Laveen Sierra Linda, a Division II first-team all-state choice.
The North roster will also include a pair of Division I all-state second-teamers, Tori Lloyd of Mesa Dobson and Melinda Myers of Gilbert Highland, as well as Heather Heild of Seton Catholic, a Division II first-team all-state selection, and Casey Rarrick of Scottsdale Saguaro, a Division II second-teamer.
Mike Russo can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.