In the first 15 games of the year, the Stars and sixth-year coach Victor Tuberosi was languishing in a 5-10 start, riddled with injuries, not knowing how good they could possibly be as they planned on challenging for the Santa Fe League championship after reigning league champion powerhouse La Salle of Pasadena moved onward and upward into a new league.
And then Isabella Serrano happened.
Transferring from nearby Port Of Los Angeles, the whirling dervish of a sophomore guard would instantly change the complexion of how Mary Star's season would go with not only her penetration skills, but her depth outside touch from behind the three-point line, not to mention her incredible speed and pursuit of the ball on defense.
The second Serrano became eligible after Christmas due to the transfer sit-out period, the Stars did lose their first game with her, but then would reel off five straight wins, including a league-opening 47-41 upset victory at St. Genevieve of Panorama City in which Serrano nailed all four three-pointers in scoring 20 points. In that same game, fellow sophomore forward Karla Rocha drilled six from downtown in scoring a career-high 22 points.
From that point on, opposing teams geared their game plan around containing Serrano and Rocha, but that opened the door for others to make their presence known, like junior guard Sarah Leyba, senior forward Lexi Quillam and even senior center Lorraine Medina among others.
Mary Star was unable to win the Santa Fe League title, but they would go an incredible 4-2 in postseason play, with three wins in the CIF-Southern Section Division 5-AA playoffs in which the run ended in the semifinals for the second straight year in losing to eventual champion Linfield Christian. However, February 26, 2019 was historic for not only these Stars, but for the entire town as a whole.
For the first time in school history, Mary Star reached a CIF State Southern California Regional, but on that day, the Stars also became the first in the history of San Pedro to WIN a Regional, with a 34-31 victory over host Montclair, the CIF-SS Division 5-AA runner-up.
In their final game on February 28 in the CIF State Division 5 Southern California Regional quarterfinals at Ramona of Riverside, Serrano and Rocha both traded a pair of a three-point bombs in the first half to spark the Stars to a 18-11 halftime lead, but a spirited second half by the Rams ended Mary Star's historic dream season.
Nevertheless, Serrano and Rocha are your 2019 San Pedro News Pilot Prep Girls Basketball Co-Players Of The Year for not only their tandem exploits, but for their team accomplishments as well.
Serrano became the program's third All-CIF selection in the last three years, joining former Star sensations like Angela Pisano (2017) and Hanalei Emnace (2018). Serrano has the scoring mentality of Pisano, but also the defensive intensity that Emnace brought to the table. Rocha meanwhile, even though she was only All-Santa Fe League second team, still led the Stars in scoring while her defense is rapidly improving.
San Pedro made the CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division 2 quarterfinals under first-year coach Roderick Torrence, the 2019 SPNP Girls Basketball Coach Of The Year, thanks to an incredible scoring display in the paint from junior forward Adriyanna Edmonds in their first round 50-48 victory over Jefferson of Los Angeles on February 9. Edmonds was a one-girl wrecking crew for 38 points and 17 rebounds.
The Lady Pirates also placed third in the Marine League behind champion Narbonne and runner-up Carson, the only two teams to defeat San Pedro in a LAUSD Teacher's Strike-shortened league schedule.
POLA overcame the transfer losses of both Serrano and sophomore forward Chloe Clemons (Peninsula) to once again make the CIF-LACS Division 3 playoffs, placing fourth in the Imperial League.
Kaylen Scott (POLA, jr.)
Sarah Leyba (Mary Star, jr.)
Lizeth Islas (San Pedro, sr.)
Lorraine Medina (Mary Star, sr.)
Vanessa Tena (San Pedro, sr.)
Lexi Quilliam (Mary Star, sr.)
Imani Banks (San Pedro, sr.)
Annie Le (POLA, jr.)
Danielle Diola (POLA, jr.)
Cristina Camacho (Mary Star, soph.)
CO-PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
Isabella Serrano (Mary Star, soph. ) & Karla Rocha (Mary Star, soph.)
MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER
Adriyanna Edmonds (San Pedro, jr.)
COACH OF THE YEAR
Roderick Torrence (San Pedro)
SAN PEDRO NEWS PILOT PAST PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
2012: Rita Fiorenza, San Pedro
2013: Angela Wade, Port Of Los Angeles
2014: Rita Fiorenza, San Pedro
2015: Rita Fiorenza, San Pedro & Angela Pisano, Mary Star
2016: Deanna Valverde & Melannie Ortiz, San Pedro
2017: Angela Pisano, Mary Star
2018: Hanalei Emnace & Melanie Meza, Mary Star