While other programs like the football, girls volleyball, softball, both cross-country teams and several others at the school gained some credible success over the years, even their boys basketball counterparts also winning CIF-Los Angeles City Section titles in between, the 2022-2023 school year finally became the time for girls hoops on 15th and Alma Streets.
With a determined team led by a driven leader in head coach Kevin Simpson, the Lady Pirates were able to achieve indescribable, and undeniable success to turn the school, and their city upside down, along with everyone's heads and eyes to them in February.
Becoming CIF-LACS and Marine League champions for the first time in 37 years, then taking it three steps further to become the first team in school history to reach a CIF Southern California Regional championship game, the 2022-2023 San Pedro High girls basketball team made it a year impossible to forget.
However, it wasn't the auspicious kind of start this team was looking for, as San Pedro struggled out of the gate with five losses in their first six games. Things started to click for San Pedro once December started, and they split their four games in their inaugural Lady Pirate Holiday Classic to get San Pedro's overall record to 9-8.
January 11, 2023 started the proverbial chain reaction of victories, when the Lady Pirates for only the second time since 1991, defeated perennial CIF-LACS power Narbonne of Harbor City, 42-32 at home for their third straight Marine League win, and they never looked back, dominating the rest of the way to complete a perfect 10-0 league season.
The only real threat was the rematch with Narbonne on January 27, where two game-winning free throws by junior point guard Noelani Raigans propelled San Pedro to a 49-47 victory for their first victory over the Lady Gauchos in their home court in 32 years. From that point on, nothing seemed impossible for the Lady Pirates, as they earned the top seed of the CIF-LACS Division 2 playoffs.
In the first three rounds, San Pedro eliminated Roosevelt of Los Angeles, 70-46, held off league foe Carson, 69-62 (third win over Carson in 2022-2023), and then outlasted Bravo Medical Magnet, 50-39 to put San Pedro into the Division 2 final against Chatsworth Charter, a team looking to gain retribution from losing in this predicament one year ago to Verdugo Hills of Tujunga.
Putting on a defensive clinic, both the Lady Pirates and the Chancellors took turns putting up scoring runs each quarter, but with Chatsworth leading 43-38 in the closing minutes, Raigans provided the most important run of all, as her three-pointer followed by two free throws in the final minute to force overtime, and made the eventual game-winning basket with just over a minute to play in the extra frame, banking in a three-pointer for a 50-48 lead. Senior guard Jaliyah Robertson's layup increased the advantage to four, and the Lady Pirates did just enough to hold on and win 52-51 for the Division 2 championship.
Even though Raigans got perpetual praise from her own teammates at the award ceremony with a rousing 'MVP!' chant for scoring 13 of her game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter & overtime combined, the performances of fellow juniors Shalia Coleman (17 points) and Maia Wooldridge (8 points) before they both fouled out, could not be overlooked.
All three of these All-City Division 2 selections along with some other notable heroes on this special team kept the good times rolling as the second seed of the CIF Southern California Regional Division 5 playoffs.
San Pedro defeated three straight CIF-Southern Section schools on their home floor in Riverside Prep (56-41), Laguna Beach (62-43) and St. Monica Prep of Santa Monica (53-51) before finally falling in the Regional final, 51-43 to eventual CIF Division 5 state runner-up Marina of Huntington Beach, ending the Lady Pirates' incredible & in some cases, improbable 15-game winning streak.
Against St. Monica Prep on March 4, San Pedro trailed the entire first half and were in dire straits early in the third quarter until Simpson called upon freshman guard Madison Adrid, and she delivered with six points, none more important than her winning mid-range jumper with five seconds left. The basketball gods were smiling on the Lady Pirates as the Mariners' last-ditch attempt to steal the game rimmed out as time expired.
Raigans, the 2023 Marine League and CIF-LACS Divison 2 Player Of The Year, scored 10 of her game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter against St. Monica Prep and was awarded a Cal-Hi Sports All-State Division 5 selection as well. Coleman, Wooldridge, senior forward Aleisha Fizer and junior guard Natalia Garcia join Raigans on the 2023 All-Marine League team.
On a year where the San Pedro girls volleyball and boys swimming teams also won CIF championships along with Port Of Los Angeles High boys basketball also taking home a CIF title, San Pedro girls basketball is your undisputed San Pedro Prep Sports Team Of The Year.
SAN PEDRO NEWS PILOT PAST PREP SPORTS TEAMS OF THE YEAR
2011-2012: San Pedro High School Football (12-1; CIF-LACS Division 1 semifinalists)
2012-2013: Port Of Los Angeles High School Softball (28-8; CIF-LACS Division 3 champions)
2013-2014: Port Of Los Angeles High School Baseball (14-9; CIF-LACS Division 3 champions)
2014-2015: Port Of Los Angeles High School Girls Soccer (22-4-2; CIF-LACS Division 4 finalists; CIF Division 5 Southern California Regional playoffs)
2015-2016: San Pedro High School Girls Soccer (20-2-3; CIF-LACS Division 1 semifinalists)
*2016-2017: San Pedro High School Softball (25-9-1; CIF-LACS Division 1 Champions)
*2016-2017: Port Of Los Angeles High School Girls Soccer (18-4; CIF-LACS Division 2 Champions; CIF Division 3 Southern California Regional playoffs)
2017-2018: San Pedro High School Boys Soccer (14-9-2; CIF-LACS Division 4 champions; CIF Division 4 Southern California Regional playoffs)
2018-2019: San Pedro High School Girls Volleyball (26-6; CIF-LACS Division 1 champions; CIF Division 4 Southern California Regional playoffs)
2019-2020: Port Of Los Angeles High School Girls Volleyball (15-8; CIF-LACS Division 4 champions; CIF Division 5
Southern California Regional playoffs)
2020-2021: Mary Star Of The Sea High School Girls Basketball (22-1; CIF-Southern Section Division 4-AA champions; CIF Division 3-AA Southern California Regional finalists)
2021-2022: San Pedro High School Boys Swimming (CIF-Los Angeles City Section champions)
2022-2023: San Pedro High School Girls Basketball (24-9; CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division 2 champions; CIF Division 5 Southern California Regional finalists)
* - Both Teams Share The Team Of The Year Honor