Rojas, Jeffers named Sierra Sun’s co-female Athletes of the Year from North Tahoe High School | SierraSun.com
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Rojas, Jeffers named Sierra Sun’s co-female Athletes of the Year from North Tahoe High School

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun
File photoIrene Rojas drives to the hoop during a regular-season game against Whittell this past season. Rojas is the Sierra Sunand#8217;s co-female Athlete of the Year from North Tahoe High School, along with Samantha Jeffers.
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Samantha Jeffers or Irene Rojas?

That was the question. But it was not an easy one.

and#8220;For me to pick one over the other would be very hard,and#8221; said North Tahoe girls’ basketball coach Rick Buhler. and#8220;They’re both great kids and great athletes.and#8221;

Indeed. In fact, choosing between the two seniors was simply too difficult a task. The only answer was to select both as the Sierra Sun’s co-female Athletes of the Year from North Tahoe High School.

and#8220;It’s going to be a challenge to replace both of them next year. There was no quit in either of them,and#8221; said Buhler, who coached both Jeffers and Rojas on the Laker girls’ basketball team the past two years. and#8220;They were not intimidated by bigger schools or anyone else. When they stepped on the court, they expected to win every game.and#8221;

Buhler’s senior co-team captains and#8212; both three-year starters and#8212; complemented each other well on the court. Jeffers anchored the Lakers with her solid post presence while Rojas served as a speedy and pesky shooting guard who could explode for points in a hurry.

In addition to their basketball skills, Rojas was equally effective as a setter and co-captain on the Lakers’ volleyball team, while Jeffers was among North Tahoe’s top softball players in the spring.

and#8220;She (Rojas) brought amazing athletic skills,and#8221; said longtime North Tahoe volleyball coach Tom LeFevers. and#8220;She’s just a natural athlete and#8212; maybe the best athlete in the school.and#8221;

With Rojas and fellow senior Lexie Courcier leading the charge, the North Tahoe volleyball team played into the Northern 2A regional tournament, where the Lakers defeated Battle Mountain in a thrilling five games before falling to defending state champion Yerington. Rojas finished with 32 assists and four service aces to help pace her team against Battle Mountain.

Before that, the senior put on a show on senior night against rival Incline. She posted nine kills and 11 aces to help lead the Lakers to a win in four games. A smart player, Rojas devastated the Highlanders with a deceptive tap shot over the net that repeatedly caught the visitors off guard.

and#8220;She was really fast, with great reflexes,and#8221; LeFevers said. and#8220;She could get any ball, no matter where it was on the court. She had great determination and a will to win. She was pretty aggressive in that way.and#8221;

Coaches voted Rojas to the All-Mount Rose League second team for her efforts.

Come basketball season, the Lakers quickly established themselves as contenders among the 2A ranks, and let it be known that they were not going to be pushed around by the larger 3A schools in the Mount Rose League. Jeffers and Rojas were major factors.

and#8220;Both of them, it didn’t matter if we were up 20 or down 15, they were going to play the same. It was full speed, with no quit,and#8221; Buhler said. and#8220;They didn’t get down on their teammates or themselves. They’d just go out and play as hard as they could. And as a coach, you can’t ask for much more.and#8221;

Jeffers averaged 10.2 points and 14 rebounds a game, and always was a threat in the paint despite giving up several inches in height against some of the league’s taller post players. She could credit her deft footwork, touch around the basket and a willingness to bang with anyone for her success.

and#8220;She’s very physical on both ends of the court, and definitely not intimidated by anyone she faced. I think it motivated her to play against the best, and she performed well against taller talent,and#8221; Buhler said, adding that Jeffers also displayed and#8220;great leadership skillsand#8221; among her peers. and#8220;She leads by example. She was supportive of all the others, but she expected them to work hard.and#8221;

Jeffers was voted by coaches to the All-Mount Rose League second team.

Her North Tahoe team, meanwhile, enjoyed its most successful season in several years, as the Lakers earned a fifth seed in the Northern 2A regional tournament but lost a closely contested game to fourth-seeded Yerington in the first round.

Rojas provided a major spark with a game-high 15 points. She drained shots from the perimeter, stole passes with great quickness and anticipation, and converted fast-break layups to help the Lakers control much of the first half.

and#8220;She knows the game, and defensively she was a danger at all times,and#8221; Buhler said. and#8220;She read passing lanes really well. She just has a knack for knowing where the ball is going. And she’s not only athletically gifted, she’s smart. She’ll see where the ball is going and sit back and set them up, then jump out into the passing lane and steal it or knock it out of bounds.and#8221;

After averaging seven points and five steals a game, Rojas received All-League honorable mention recognition.

Jeffers finished out her high school career with a solid season on the diamond, which earned the right-handed slugger and first baseman All-League honorable mention.


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