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CV Senior Showcase: National girls squad topples American
CVSS girls 1
Mary Cotton of Lathrop goes up for a shot during Thursday's fifth annual Central Valley Senior Showcase. Cotton was named the American MVP (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

Led by Amaya Ervin of El Capitan and her MVP performance, the National team came out on top after an 80-60 win over the Americans in Thursday’s 5th annual Central Valley Senior Showcase that featured talent from 17 schools.

“I personally think I could've done more in performance wise but overall I had fun so that's all that matters,” said Ervin who earned the National team’s MVP of the game. “I didn't plan on getting it that's for sure. It was a matter of just having fun cause not everybody gets the opportunity to play in an all-star game.”

Ervin was coming off a season where she averaged 21 points per game in 28 contests played, averaging 7.4 steals per game and 5.8 rebounds. Her Gauchos were second in the CCC with a league record of 10-2 and 19-10 overall. She finished the year with 587 points and 208 steals.

Ervin has committed to play at Holy Names University after receiving a full-ride scholarship.

“This season was a struggle for me a little having to transfer my senior year. It was unfortunate, but I'm thankful I had the opportunity to start something new at El Cap,” said Ervin. “The switch to El Cap has brought me plenty of opportunities. I had more than a few colleges interested in me but today I verbally committed to Holy Names University in Oakland, California so that was great.”

The coaches’ choice scholarship for the Nationals was given to East Union’s Donja Payne.

Payne and her squad went 9-3 in league play during the year, taking second in the Valley Oak League and 18-10 overall.

“I was very surprised to be picked as coaches’ choice winner, but very thankful,” said Payne. “I knew I would be able to hang because I have played in a few all-star games. Also, I have played against college girls. So I just wanted to do my best. I feel like I did a good job, my defense was there and I made sure I shared the ball.”

Payne is coming off her most memorable season to-date.

She was named the VOL MVP and finished her high school career with 1,500 points. Payne also has the most double-doubles in league and a was four-year starter at varsity.

“I am very excited to play and ready to work harder at the college level and meet and play with more experienced players. I had a lot of fun being part of this event,” said Payne.

On the American side, the MVP was Lathrop’s Mary Cotton.

“First, all glory goes to the man up above. I just played my game the way I know how, despite the outcome. It was an honor to play with and against these very talented group of girls and it was a great experience,” said Cotton. “I think I did really good, but there's always something that I can improve on and get better at my mistakes.”

Cotton is coming off one of her favorite years of playing ball she said.

“The best was playing alongside my wonderful teammates. We won the WAC league title at 13-1 and went 22-7 overall,” said Cotton. “We didn't go as far as we planned but we played our hardest. I'm not sure as of where I'm going yet but I do want to play at the next level.”

Jaydon Williams of Turlock High earned the coaches’ choice award and the “wow” moment of the game award.

“The game was fun and different playing with other girls, but I enjoyed the competition,” said Williams. “This past season was one that I'll remember. The energy and the support on the team was incredible, every practice and game no matter if you were on or off the court. Our coaches this year were a big part of our success. These past four years are years I'll forever cherish and I'll never forget the life lessons it has taught me. I'm really excited to start my next chapter in life. Can't wait to continue to play basketball in college.”

Williams earned MVP honors in league for the third straight year and was named the Turlock Journal Player of the Year for the third straight year.

She was part of three straight league titles for Turlock High and is a four-year varsity starter.

The game itself was also interesting.

It was the American squad that went up quickly and early, but they only led for a few minutes.

The National side rallied quickly and immediately and went up 22-11 after the first.

They never trailed again for the remainder of the game as they led 36-24 at the half.

By the end of the third, the National squad had extended their lead by 20 points at 60-40.

The fourth was the same story as they held on for the win.