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I highlighted players to watch this season on the basketball court last week, now it’s time for me to highlight my first set of winter sports athletes for this week’s Zo’s Gold Mines.

Some are basketball stars who have already hit the ground running, while another is a fast riser on the soccer field. But, this week’s ZGM also ends with one last fall sports team to give praise for. Here’s this week’s list:

Erin Jenkins, Cabrillo girls basketball: She went on to win the Coachella Valley Tournament Most Valuable Player award. It’s clear Jenkins isn’t done collecting awards.

LeAndrew Knight, Cabrillo boys basketball: How do you bounce back from a season opening loss to Rio Mesa? By scoring 28 points against Nordhoff and lifting the Conqs to the 65-48 win in the next game and then, follow that up with an astonishing 47 points against Sanger despite the loss to the CIF Central Section state qualifier from last season.

Danielle Morgan, Lompoc girls basketball: Morgan isn’t even completely healthy with a knee injury from this past spring. But while playing with a brace, she still earned All-Tournament honors at the Bryan Ayer Classic at Lompoc High.

Ayziah Simmons, Lompoc girls soccer: Playing against a powerhouse from Ventura County in Oxnard High – which entered Huyck Stadium on Saturday with a combined 45-10-6 record in the last two seasons, the sophomore Simmons scored the lone goal in the dramatic 1-0 upset of the Yellow Jackets.

Karly Beyers, Hancock women’s basketball: The local product Beyers (from Pioneer Valley High) recorded a double-double in the 61-48 victory over Las Positas in the Phillips 66 Tournament – by scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

Santa Maria High football: What a run! It’s the first time I’ve seen the Saints pursue a CIF championship on the football field and it was a thrill to help cover them as much as I could. Hopefully most of the seniors are seen on a college football roster next year. But we were told that the future is even brighter for Saints football in the coming years with increased numbers and participation. 

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Sports Reporter