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Her final season of basketball in the Cabrillo black and gold saw more insurmountable challenges.

Erin Jenkins lost her go-to post option in Britney McCune to a season-ending knee injury in December 2017.

Then valuable defender Kiki Dial went down with her season-closing knee ailment during Los Padres League play.

Lastly, there was the defeat in the CIF Southern Section Division 3AA title game – denying the Conquistadores their first-ever girls basketball section title.

Yet, Jenkins never wavered or said a single negative word – and kept scoring, rebounding and denying scoring chances underneath the basket as a do-it-all type for the 27-4 Conqs — a Conqs team that stretched their season to the CIF State Playoffs.

And for the second year in a row, Jenkins is named the Lee Central Coast Newspapers All-Area Most Valuable Player.

“It feels awesome,” Jenkins said of winning the nod once again. “I honestly didn’t know what to expect but I honestly wanted this award because I felt I worked really hard for it. I don’t mean to brag – but I feel like I put a lot of effort into this season and this is a big accomplishment for me because we lost two key players.”

Watching her fellow teammate – and cousin – McCune go down was a loss Jenkins admitted was hard to get over.

“At the beginning of the season, it was really challenging because we really didn’t know how to work without Britney,” Jenkins said. “Once time progressed on, we got a chance to do better. It all worked out in the end.”

Then along came Dial’s injury nearly one month later, which decreased Cabrillo’s roster depth during the final push for the LPL title and its pursuit of a CIF title. But Jenkins kept working, the CHS coaches kept adjusting and most important, Cabrillo worked with who remained and kept winning – 20 games in a row to be exact before the CIF-SS title game loss.

Jenkins, though, calls this 2017-18 run a season of “What if?”

“What if Britney didn’t get hurt or what if Kiki didn’t get hurt? Would we have gone undefeated the whole way or would we have gone to state all the way? But it was a great season no matter what,” Jenkins said. “I had so much fun. I loved this team.”

Jenkins posted career-high numbers for her senior season according to Max Preps. Her average of 20.3 points per game is a career-high mark. Her average rebounds per game (8.6) and assists (3.4) are also the highest marks for her during her four-year odyssey with the Conqs.

Jenkins leaves CHS as one of the most decorated girls basketball players at a school that first opened its doors in 1965. The four-year varsity letter-winner will take with her All-LPL, All-Area and All-Santa Barbara County awards, plus played a pivotal role in spearheading the program’s first section and state title run during her final season.

And her basketball career isn’t ending anytime soon, as Jenkins will soon trek back to her native state of Idaho and play for Northwest Nazarene University of the NCAA Division II realm next basketball season.

“I’m really excited,” Jenkins said. “I talk to the girls out there all the time. They always ask me how I’m doing. I talk to the coaches all time too. It’s really awesome.”

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Sports Reporter