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DIVISION I HONORS: Gill launches Arbor View girls’ breakthrough

One game deep into her varsity basketball career, Ariona Gill had nowhere to go but up.

The Arbor View sophomore went 1-for-9 from the field and scored two points in her first game.

It ended up being the only subpar outing she had.

Gill bounced back from a rough debut to average 12.9 points this season and help the Aggies win their first Northwest League girls basketball title. She was named the league’s Most Valuable Player.

“Our first game, she played horrible, but I think it was just first-game jitters,” Arbor View coach Donna Gentry said. “She has some really natural talent, and it came out as our season progressed.”

Gill played on the Aggies’ junior varsity as a freshman before joining a painfully young varsity squad this year. Arbor View had no seniors on its roster.

Yet, Gill scored 10 or more points in 17 of the Aggies’ 23 games. She averaged 13.8 points in league play, helping Arbor View finish 10-0 in the Northwest.

“She has such natural ability,” Gentry said. “She does some things in practice that just make me shake my head, and even her teammates give her a few ‘Wows.’ She just loves to play. She loves being out there.”

And she still has two more seasons to improve. Arbor View has the potential to have an even more successful season next year with everyone on the roster possibly returning.

“We should be better, but it depends on how much work they put in in the offseason,” said Gentry, named the Northwest’s Coach of the Year after guiding the Aggies to their first playoff appearance.

Bishop Gorman senior Tonishia Childress earned Southwest League MVP honors, and the Gaels’ Sheryl Krmpotich was the league’s Coach of the Year. Both helped Gorman advance to the state tournament, which begins today at Orleans Arena.

In the Northeast, Canyon Springs swept the top honors, with junior Cherise Beynon earning MVP and Dorothy Kendrick garnering Coach of the Year as the Pioneers advanced to the Sunrise Region title game.

In the Southeast, Liberty sophomore Paris Strawther and Coronado senior Sofie Cruz were named co-MVPs. First-year Liberty coach Rich Santigate, who guided his team to the Sunrise title, was the league’s Coach of the Year.

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