Even fans of the opposing school would recognize the best player on the court when the enemy was the Camarillo High girls’ basketball team.
They would spot the No.11 in pre-match warm-ups and hoot, yell, hold up signs. The noise invariably started before the whistleblower and barely stopped throughout the game.
Turns out, it also gave Gabriela Jaquez a reason to smile.
“I would laugh about it,” she said. “It was fun. They knew me and it was a compliment. They were yelling at me and I was having fun with it. I was just playing hard.”
Jaquez is such a special talent, forged such a remarkable season that everyone noticed. Camarillo finished a glitzy 30-3, reached the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 championship game and advanced to the second round of the CIF-State SoCal Regionals.
Few if any high school players in California have matched Jaquez’s high-level performance game after game.
Was her senior season the greatest ever by a Ventura County basketball player? This is not an exaggeration.
The 6-foot senior forward averaged 34.2 points while racking up 1,127 points overall. Both are departmental registers.
His best score of 54 points came in the first round of the CIF-SS playoffs in an 85-42 win over Cajon. Jaquez’s previous high was 52 points in a 73-72 loss to Bishop Diego in the 2021 playoffs.
The single-game points outburst is No. 2 in County history, topped only by Simi Valley’s Cheri Graham with 61 points against Hueneme in the 1980-81 season.
To verify: Oak Park’s Isaiah Sherrard is the Star’s Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year
Jaquez also averaged 15.7 rebounds and totaled 518 rebounds, including 178 under the offensive basket. There were 156 steals, 87 assists and 17 blocked shots.
Jaquez does not hesitate to place herself among the best players in the history of the county. Not impressed either. It’s really what she’s been working toward and almost expecting since the first day she put a basketball in her hands.
“I’m proud of what I’ve done, proud of what the team has achieved,” she said. “I’m very happy. That’s really what I set out to become as a basketball player. I expected to be a Division I college player. I expected to be a good player in high school.
“It was my main goal to succeed as a basketball player, and it all depends on the hard work it takes to make that possible.”
Jaquez has also lived up to the expectations that come with being a top player. With Camarillo chasing stellar goals this season, Jaquez realized she couldn’t afford to have a night off.
“It actually pushed me to be a better player,” she said. “I knew my teammates were counting on me. I worked hard to become the best I could be. I couldn’t have had a bad game for us to succeed.”
Jaquez ends his high school career with a string of high-profile accolades.
She is the Coastal Canyon League Player of the Year and a first-team selection for the all-CIF-SS Division 1 team.
Continued: Star’s first All-County Boys basketball team for the 2021-22 season
Jaquez is just the third player from Ventura County to be selected as a McDonald’s All-American. Courtney LaVere and Courtney Young of Buena were so honored in 2002.
Jaquez received his McDonald’s game jersey in a ceremony at Camarillo High on March 21. She will play in the match, which will air on ESPN2, in Chicago on Monday at 4:30 p.m. PDT.
There is now another great laurel to be awarded.
Jaquez is The Star’s Women’s Basketball Player of the Year for Women’s Basketball and one half of the first sister/brother tandem to be so recognized. Older brother Jaime Jr. — now a standout junior on UCLA’s men’s basketball team — was The Star’s Boys Basketball Player of the Year for his senior season with the Scorpions in 2018 -2019.
With Gabriela next heading to her dream school with UCLA, the Jaquez siblings may well share the same home ground next year at the legendary Pauley Pavilion. It depends, of course, on whether Jaime chooses to enter the NBA Draft or return for his senior season with the Bruins.
“That would be fun,” Gabriela said. “That’s whatever (Jaime) wants to do.”
Among Jaquez’s biggest supporters is Camarillo head coach Mike Prewitt.
He said Jaquez’s skills matched his burning will to win.
“From day one, when Gabriela was a freshman, what she brought to the gym was unparalleled competitive training,” Prewitt said. “She knew what she wanted and that was to be the best she could be.
“What we did in training every day is what Gabs also did. Those things that were emphasized in training – defending, ball handling, rebounding etc – she just brought it to another level.”
Prewitt is intrigued by what is to follow.
“I’d like to think we helped her improve her game, but when it comes to reaching her potential, the sky is the limit,” he said. “I can’t wait for her to come onto the UCLA campus and become a Bruin.”
Jaquez’s taste for success is undoubtedly fueled by family lines. His parents, Angela and Jaime Sr., were star Concordia University players who met on the basketball court.
His older brother, Jaime, is playing in his second consecutive Final Four appearance with the UCLA men’s team. Younger brother Marcos is a junior from Camarillo High and a Coastal Canyon League football and basketball player who is playing baseball this spring.
Yes, Gabriela would do it with her brothers on the family grounds and never shy away from physical contact.
Jaquez forever harbors an intense disdain for defeat and still feels the pain after tough losses. Camarillo’s 59-53 loss to Viewpoint in the CIF-SS Division 1 title match was hard to swallow.
“Devastating,” she concedes. “It was our goal to win the Division 1 championship and we never doubted that we could do it. I cried a lot after that game. It was heartbreaking.
“Really, we were a team that wasn’t used to losing. It was so hard to take. But there’s also satisfaction in knowing that I gave it my all. I did everything I I was able to help us win this game.”
Jaquez is wise enough to know that there will always be a next game. Yet another challenge.
“Basketball has given me so much,” she said. “I have so many opportunities through basketball and so many life lessons I learned. It taught me what I can do through hard work and dedication.”
Jaquez will enter UCLA’s women’s program in one of the best recruiting classes in the nation. Beyond her college career, she already has her sights set on playing in the WNBA.
“That’s my goal,” she said. “I would like to become a professional basketball player.”
At that, she’s not done with high school athletics just yet.
Jaquez is playing again this spring with the Camarillo softball team, which won the CIF SoCal Division 1 Regional Championship last season and moved up to CIF-SS Division 1 this season. a recent game.
“I’ve always loved playing softball,” she said. “Why wouldn’t I play this season? I like being surrounded by my teammates and my coaches. I like competition. Who knows? Maybe I will have another chance to win a Division 1 championship. “
The Star County Women’s Basketball Second Team
- Mimi Moon, Pacifica
- Amia Witt, Calabasas
- Omake Okah, Oaks Christian
- Kristan YumulOxnard
- Kelly Barber, The Queen
- Abrial Ramirez, Santa Clara
- Jasmine Bay, Moorpark
- Maddy Tauro, Calabasas
- Lola Donez, Oaks Christian
- Sophia Graves, royal
- Emily Lim, Camarillo
- Alyssa JacksonWestlake
Loren Ledin is the editor of The Star. He can be reached at [email protected] or 805-437-0285.