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The value Sophia Davis brought to the Argonaut High School varsity girls basketball team in the 2019-20 season went far beyond numbers.

The lone senior on the Mustangs’ roster this winter, Davis averaged 8 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists per game this season – good numbers, but nothing extraordinary – but it was her leadership and influence on her younger teammates that helped Davis earn the Mother Lode League’s Most Valuable Player honor.

“(Sophia) led by example and positive encouragement,” Argonaut coach Morgan Roots said. “As the point guard, she was essentially the coach on the floor; she would make adjustments on the court that were necessary to the success of the team.

“As the lone senior on a very young basketball team, she provided the team with experience and maturity that were otherwise lacking at crucial times. She continually demonstrated the resilience and heart our athletes needed to be successful. This season we had many close games, and she remained calm and handled the pressure of the games with composure and poise, which her teammates needed to win. We will truly miss her dedication to the game, her teammates and our program.”

Sophia Davis was moved up to varsity for the playoffs in her freshman season and stayed at varsity the rest of her career, being a part of two MLL championship teams and three Sac-Joaquin Section championship teams, including this year’s team which won the outright MLL title and Division IV section title.

“My senior season was definitely the best season of my high school career,” Sophia Davis said. “I’ve gotten really lucky these past few years being able to always play with girls who go hard, put in work and want it just as bad as I do.

“Winning league and sections was awesome, but what I enjoyed most about the season was getting close to my teammates and watching them grow as players. I get to leave knowing these girls will be successful next year and years to come. Of course, it’s a little bittersweet knowing I’ve played my last high school basketball game and won’t step on the court with them again, but I’m excited to come back and watch them dominate.”

One of the players that will likely lead the charge for Argonaut next season is sophomore guard Gabbie Gascon, who was voted the league’s Most Outstanding Player this season. Gascon averaged 15 points per game, along with 6 steals and 5 rebounds per game, and was one of the top 3-point shooters in the league. She also earned a reputation as a clutch player this winter with her knack for hitting big shots in key moments, none bigger than her game-winning 3-point buzzer-beater on January 31 in Jackson that gave Argonaut a 65-63 win over Sonora.

“Gabbie has an energy about her that is contagious and helps ignite the team,” Roots said. “She has a love for the game that goes unmatched, which can be felt by anyone in the gym with her. On defense, she chases down the basketball to get deflections and steals. She is one of our main shooters, but this season she learned when to make a move to the basket, which made her a versatile player. She played the point guard position at times this year, which allowed us to mix up our offensive strategy and pressure the defense into making difficult decisions. She is a continually developing player with two more years ahead of her.”

Also for Argonaut, sophomore Emily Newton earned first team all-MLL honors, along with the sister guard tandem of Madison and Bailie Clark from Calaveras.

Newton averaged 14 points and 5 rebounds per game this season for the Mustangs.

“Emily has a complete understanding of the game that is advanced for being a senior, let alone the sophomore that she is,” Roots said. “When she’s on defense, she knows where to be to force a turnover or take a charge. She’s one of our key shooters as well, but she never forces up extra shots, instead she takes what the defense gives her. Emily is an efficient, even-keeled player. She plays the exact same regardless of the score or the environment and always has a smile on her face. She is also the ultimate team player and the first one to jump off the bench cheering when a teammate on the floor does something positive.”