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Player of the Decade: Rylee Sager had durability and productivity during her days at Lompoc High

Player of the Decade: Rylee Sager had durability and productivity during her days at Lompoc High

From the Player of the Decade: Get to know the greatest girls basketball players from the last decade series

Just about every other Player of the Decade nominee claims basketball as their best sport. Actually, for most, basketball is their only sport.

Basketball was not the only sport for Rylee Sager. Was it her best sport? Perhaps, though she was also a softball, golf and cross country standout at Lompoc High. In fact, Sager earned Los Padres League MVP honors in both basketball and softball and would go on to play softball at Sacramento State.

Sager also landed All-CIF recognition in both basketball and softball, a feat not many athletes achieve. For her work on the hardwood, Sager is a Player of the Decade nominee.

The 5-foot-7 guard was a contributing player at Lompoc High as a freshman and an impact player every year thereafter. She was durable, playing in 107 games in four years, and productive, scoring 1,104 points in that span. But, unsurprisingly, Sager was a versatile basketball player just as she was a versatile athlete.

Sager was probably Lompoc's best scorer, defender and rebounder every time she stepped on the court. In addition to scoring over 1,100 points, she also secured over 700 rebounds, assisted on over 300 baskets and swiped more than 300 steals.

The former Brave averaged 14 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 3.3 steals per game as a senior, leading Lompoc to a 22-7 overall record and 13-1 mark in the Los Padres League.

Araujo scored at the 34-minute mark of the first half as the Galaxy trailed 2-0. A Los Angeles corner kick curved into the box and the ball was headed out by a Portland defender. The ball rolled to Araujo about 20 yards outside the penalty area. Araujo took a soft first touch with his left foot to draw in a defender, then exploded slightly to his right with another touch of the ball, this time with his right foot. Araujo's third touch was a rocket shot of his right foot.

Sager and the Braves went 44-12 overall and 26-2 in league during her final two seasons at LHS after they went 26-26 and 13-11 in her first two years there.

Sager helped guide the Braves to the CIF Southern Section Division 4AA semifinals as a senior, where they lost 43-42 to Duarte. Sager led that 2015-16 team in scoring and assists, and was second in rebounding and steals.

Sager earned All-CIF Southern Section honors in basketball in 2014-15 and 2015-16 and led the Braves to three straight LPL championships. She was named the Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table Athlete of the Year in 2016.

In all, Sager played four years of softball and basketball and two years of both golf and cross country for the Braves and was an eight-time First Team All-League pick. She also earned 12 varsity letter scholar-athlete awards during her four years at LHS. She helped the Braves win a CIF-SS title in softball as a senior.

After high school, Sager walked on to the softball team at Sacramento State, where she wrapped up her athletic career earlier this year after the season was scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“My story is about never giving up on yourself. People start giving up because they fear regrets," Sager told the Times earlier this year. "For me, regret is the act of giving up. Life is about believing in your aspirations so heavily that you will do whatever it takes to get it. My advice for people is to follow your dreams and don’t let fear get in the way. From my hustle, grind and sacrifices, I never gave up on myself, and for that, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Sager is the 15th Player of the Decade nominee and second from Lompoc High, joining former teammate Danielle Morgan. The other Player of the Decade nominees include former St. Joseph players Tatiana Dunlap, Kaitlyn Flowers, Aly Beebe and Syenna Ramirez; Pioneer Valley's Shnyia Tell; Santa Ynez grad Hailey King; Righetti graduates Mariah Cooks, Danita Estorga and Molly Schlemer; Arroyo Grande's Ashlyn Herlihy and Heather Madrigal; Valley Christian's Simone Swain and Cabrillo's Erin Jenkins. The Times is polling current and former coaches to develop its list of nominees for Player of the Decade.

The 16th and final Player of the Decade nominee will be announced Saturday before a tournament-style voting contest will be held to determine the girls basketball Player of the Decade. Readers will be able to vote online at santamariatimes.com; lompocrecord.com and syvnews.com. Players from Northern Santa Barbara County and Southern San Luis Obispo County whose final seasons where in between 2009-10 and 2019-20 are eligible.

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