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I think it’s time to recognize the first set of winter sports athletes for Zo’s Gold Mines.

The season is starting to pick up amid the rain and the recent string of smoke from the recent California fires. While some games were reshuffled, there have been standout performances on the basketball court and soccer field last week.

Here are this week’s gold mines:

Danielle Morgan, Hancock College women’s basketball: The freshman and Monday’s Female Athlete of the Week at the Round Table has made her early impact for the Bulldogs: Averaging 18 points and nine rebounds at the Cuesta Tournament, where AHC claimed the tournament’s consolation title.   

Tawny Lino, Hancock College women’s basketball: The former Pioneer Valley Panther averaged 14.3 points per game at the same tournament last week. She’s reached double figures in scoring in every AHC game so far this season.

Corby Burress, St. Joseph girls soccer: While underneath a downpour of rain, the future Point Loma Nazarene student-athlete scored both goals for the Knights in their 2-1 win over Cabrillo last Thursday.

Orcutt Academy girls soccer: The Spartans went 4-0 at the Linfield Christian Tournament from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 – upping their overall record to 5-0-2 overall.

Morgan Christen, Cabrillo girls soccer: The senior goal keeper prevented any goals in the 1-0 win over Pioneer Valley, in a contest that was a late addition to both schedules. She is also signing her National Letter of Intent to Menlo College in Atherton on Wednesday.

Chyanna Medina Tell, Pioneer Valley girls basketball: Despite the narrow 58-53 home loss to Lompoc last Wednesday, the freshman knocked down six 3-pointers en route to 28 points then helped Pioneer Valley take down St. Joseph last Friday.

Erick Romero, Santa Maria boys soccer: He had the hat trick of three goals in the 6-0 romp of Santa Ynez while underneath rain last Thursday.

Thomas Segel, Santa Maria boys basketball: Segel got the Saints to claim two wins at the Morro Bay HIT Tournament by averaging 19.5 points per game – leading to his Male Athlete of the Week honor at the Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table.

Righetti boys soccer: The Warriors are off to the fast 3-1 start after netting wins over Orcutt Academy, Taft and Monrovia – all three games saw the Warriors outscore their opponents 13-1.

Pioneer Valley boys wrestling: The Panthers swept the competition on Saturday at the Pete Duca Invitational at PVHS to start the year.

Derrick Portis, Ferris State football: Portis, who starred at Lompoc High, had 59 total yards of offense and a touchdown in the Bulldogs’ 37-14 NCAA Division II quarterfinals win over Arkansas Ouachita Baptist. His team is still unbeaten at 14-0 overall.

Toa Taua and Elijah Cooks, Nevada football: The four-year varsity Lompoc High standout and 2016 Lee Central Coast Newspapers’ Most Valuable Player Taua was awarded the 2018 Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year award last week. He and the former St. Joseph Knight/Atascadero Greyhound Cooks also helped lift the Wolf Pack to a 7-5 mark and solidified a future trip to the Arizona Bowl on Dec. 29, where Nevada will take on Arkansas State.

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Lorenzo J. Reyna covers sports for Lee Central Coast Newspapers, particularly in the Lompoc Valley. He can be reached at lreyna@leecentralcoastnews.com 

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