La Cañada High's Chen pushed her team to new heights

Senior guard is All-Area Player of the Year again after guiding Spartans to 24-7 record, Rio Hondo League title and deep postseason run.

April 10, 2014|By Andrew J. Campa,
  • La Cañada High's is the All-Area Girls' Basketball Player of the Year for a second straight season. (Tim Berger/File Photo)
La Cañada High's is the All-Area Girls'…

Regardless of whether the La Cañada High girls’ basketball team played at home or on the road this past season, the Spartans’ jerseys had a certain uniformity of cardinal, gold and white.

While Spartans senior guard Courtney Chen wore the same colors as her teammates, the 5-foot-4 sparkplug also accessorized.

Chen could been seen throughout the year with purple bruises, blackened knees and reddened elbows earned by a give-all, play-hard mentality that helped lead her squad to several wins and Chen to individual awards accompanied by bumps, lacerations and even a concussion.

“I liked to model my game, especially my defense after [Ohio State senior guard] Aaron Craft,” said Chen in reference to the recently named National Assn. of Basketball Coaches Defensive Player of the Year. “I’m not saying I’m as good as him, but he plays the way you’re supposed to play.

“You have to hustle to be a good defender and you have to get in your opponent’s face. Don’t be dirty, but be aggressive and be annoying. That’s what I tried to be.”


While no high school award for “most annoying player” exists, Chen certainly racked up her own honors in being named the Rio Hondo League co-Most Valuable Player along with South Pasadena’s Lexie Scholtz, earning a spot on the CIF Southern Section Division III-A first team and finishing as her school’s No. 2 scorer all-time with 1,383 points.

Now Chen can add one more accolade, as she’s been selected the 2014 All-Area Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year by the sportswriters of the La Cañada Valley Sun, Burbank Leader and Glendale News-Press.

The award is the second in a row for Chen, the area’s first two-time winner since Bellarmine-Jefferson’s Shelley Gupilan took the title in 2008 and 2009.

“Courtney is a special player,” said Spartans Coach Tamar Hill, who recently stepped down after a 14-year run. “She wants to win as bad as anyone on the court. She’s a beast on the defensive end and is hard to keep up with.

“But more than that, she’s a smart player who knows how to find her teammates and get them involved. She’s a team player.”

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