Sam Child is tabbed state's top player

GIRLS BASKETBALL: The Tualatin senior is named the Class 6A Player of the Year
by: JAIME VALDEZ, STATE’S BEST – Tualatin senior Sam Child (32) was named the Class 6A girls basketball Player of the Year.

TUALATIN - For Sam Child, the 2006-2007 high school basketball season was filled with achievements, accolades, record-breaking moments and plenty of victories.

And it was all capped off with a big honor - a very big honor.

Earlier this week, Child, a Tualatin High School senior, was named the state's Class 6A girls basketball Player of the Year.

'This really means a lot to me,' Child said. 'I worked hard the past four years, and it's gratifying that it paid off with something like this. To be included with players such as (past Player of the Year recipients) Jillian Harmon and JJ Hones is really an honor.'

Child, a 6-foot wing who will play college basketball for the University of San Diego next year, put together what could easily be described as a tremendous senior season at Tualatin.

She helped the Wolves to a 23-4 season, which included a 15-0 mark in Pacific Conference play. She scored at an average of 19.4 points a game on her way to being named the league's player of the year.

Child also seemed to be at her best in big games. She scored 20 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and came up with four steals in Tualatin's 75-69 win over North Medford in a Class 6A state playoff game. It was that victory that put the Wolves in the state tournament for the third year in a row.

In the state tournament, Child scored at a 19.0 average in the Wolves' two games - the top average for any player in the tourney. She was an all-state tournament first-team pick for the second year in a row.

But maybe her biggest performance came in her final game against rival Tigard, back on Feb. 20. In that contest, an 83-60 victory, she set an all-time school single-game scoring record with 38 points. She also had seven rebounds, five steals, two assists and a blocked shot in that game, where she also broke the Tualatin single-season scoring record.

'The University of San Diego got an absolute steal when they signed her,' Tigard coach Steve Naylor said after that game.

Child was joined on the Class 6A All-State first team by Jesuit senior Lauren Wilkins, Oregon City senior Kelly Marchant, Sheldon senior Kendra Little and Southridge junior Michelle Jenkins.

'There are so many great players out there,' Child said. 'It (the Player of the Year honor) could have gone to anyone.'

Child is quick to point out the Player of the Year honor is something she didn't get on her own.

'I owe so much to my coaches and teammates,' she said. 'Coach (Todd) Jukkala and Coach (Mark) Martens have been great. I can't thank them enough. And I love my teammates. We had so much fun this year.'

It was Jukkala who informed Child of her honor.

'My first reaction was `wow,'' Child said. 'I think the first word out of my mouth was `what?' I didn't really believe it. I was with my mom when I found out, so that was really nice. I couldn't ask for a better ending to high school basketball for me.'