There was serious thought toward giving this honor to Candice Wiggins so each of the four Ms. Basketball finalists could say they had at least one player of the year honor. But Candice, through no fault of her own, just hasn't done enough yet to warrant a selection above Sa'de. The Lynwood and La Jolla Country Day standouts will get to do this to us one more time next season and hopefully the friendly competition for all these honors will just make both of them better players.
Sophomore: Courtney Paris (Piedmont)
Courtney is regarded as the better player -- just slightly -- than her twin sister, Ashley, and led Piedmont to a ranking of as high as No. 3 in the state. The 6-3 center averaged nearly 25 points per game and led the Highlanders to the Div. IV Northern California final where they lost to eventual state champ St. Mary's.
Freshman: Latara Darrett (Ayala, Chino Hills)
Ayala had one of the top Div. I teams in the Southern Section and Darrett was the team's leading scorer at more than 19 points per game. The 5-8 guard also was the only freshman named first team All-Southern Section in any division.
Div. I: Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood (Lynwood)
Sa'de will have a chance to three-peat with the Knights in this division next year, which considering the competition, might be more impressive than going four-for-four in a different division.
Div. II: Amanda Livingston (Troy, Fullerton)
Although her team won the Div. II state title over Vacaville, Amanda's output in that game was below par. That still didn't prevent her from winning this honor as the 6-3 UCLA-bound center was Troy's top player throughout the season. She averaged 17.8 points per game.
Div. III: Noelle Quinn (Bishop Montgomery, Torrance)
The UCLA-bound senior accounted for all but eight of Bishop Montgomery's points in the Div. III state final with 27 points and six assists as the Knights won their four straight state title, 49-43, over Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco. Quinn averaged more than 25 points per game and was versatile as a rebounder, passer and defender.
Div. IV: Dominique Banks (St. Mary's, Stockton)
Also named the 2003 Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year.
Div. V: Katherine Suderman (Mission Prep, San Luis Obispo)
The dominant player in this division at 6-foot-5, Suderman's team lost to quicker, guard-oriented Convent of the Sacred Heart in the Div. V state final, but that wasn't enough to deny her this honor. Suderman ended with year with averages of 18.2 points, 12.7 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game. She's been named the San Luis Obispo County Player of the Year for the second straight season.