A mid-season coaching change, injuries, and Fiorenza missing games in the Marine League due to sickness rattled the Lady Pirates in a 5-13 season in 2013, and the Pirates started off the 2013-2014 year 1-3 in the Downey Tournament, but after that, Fiorenza and San Pedro came back strong in a big way, going 14-9 overall, nearly tripling their win output of the previous season, and they even went 8-4 in the Marine League.
Fiorenza herself would have a breakthrough year, averaging 18 points, along with 7.2 assists, 3.1 steals and 4 rebounds a game, a season worthy enough of being named the 2014 San Pedro News Pilot Prep Girls Basketball Player Of The Year.
"(Winning this award) feels amazing," said Fiorenza, who helped pace the Pirates to a first round home game in the CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division III playoffs. "I'm very grateful and proud of myself for this honor and I'm glad I was able to play the whole season and get our team that far."
Not only did Fiorenza have a great season, her fellow co-captain senior forward Cheyenne Alvarez also had a banner season for San Pedro despite their 47-35 loss to Huntington Park in the playoffs which ended their season. The two of them shined the brightest in their final regular season home game against Washington on February 7.
Fiorenza scored a game-high 31 points, including ten of the Pirates' 13 points in overtime, to pace San Pedro to a dramatic 66-63 overtime win over Washington that capped their first-ever season sweep of the Generals.
"I just got really focused and knew what I had to do to win," said Fiorenza, who made 5-of-7 three-point field goals against Washington that day. "I took the risk of shooting those clutch shots (two three-pointers made in OT), but I just stayed confident and played my game."
San Pedro also proved they were the best team in town on December 9, 2013 when they defeated neighbor Port Of Los Angeles, 56-38 at San Pedro High. Fiorenza scored 26 points in the victory over the Polar Bears.
Last year's News Pilot Player Of The Year winner, POLA senior forward Angela Wade, also had another great season in pacing the Polar Bears to the quarterfinals of the CIF-LACS Division IV playoffs, where they lost to LACES. Freshman guard Kyerstin Galloway had a great season as well, as her MVP performance in the Downey Calvary Chapel Tournament in early December paced POLA to an early 4-0 start to the season.
Mary Star may not have made the CIF-Southern Section playoffs, but first-year coach Victor Tuberosi turned the program completely around. They tripled last year's win total and went 7-18, and seemingly gained a new 'Star', no pun intended, in freshman guard Angela Pisano.
With her uncanny, but effective shooting stroke, Pisano led the Stars in scoring and posted the highest individual scoring output on January 3 in the Firebaugh Tournament against Paramount, scoring 33 points in a 47-43 loss.
Pisano and junior guard Marina Vitalich, the George Mason-bound softball standout, made the All-Camino Real League second team.
It was truly a year to remember for all the San Pedro girls basketball teams, and here's our All-News Pilot selections.
Angela Wade (POLA), senior
Angela Pisano (Mary Star), freshman
Cheyenne Alvarez (San Pedro), senior
Kyerstin Galloway (POLA), freshman
Ray Anna McDowell (San Pedro), senior
Marina Vitalich (Mary Star), junior
Alex Espinoza (POLA), senior
Deanna Valverde (San Pedro), freshman
Amanda Vitalich (Mary Star), freshman
Alejandra Macias (San Pedro), senior
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Rita Fiorenza (San Pedro), junior.