Look around the girls’ basketball teams in the Peninsula Athletic League and you’ll find a ton of guards and wings, and very few strong post players.
“It’s definitely a guard-dominant league” said Westmoor coach Mike Keough.
Westmoor is one of the few that has both and while guards Yazmeen Goo and Marinel Alcantara were both tabbed as all-league performers in the PAL North, Rams junior center Tiara Cobbins showed during the Peninsula Athletic League Tournament that she belongs in the discussion for all-league honors as well.
The main thing that held her back from making the all-league team was a knee injury suffered midway through PAL play. But she returned for the final two regular season games and then really came into her own in the PAL Tournament.
For her efforts, Cobbins is the Daily Journal Athlete of the Week.
“Missing the four games (in league) hurt her a little bit (for post-season honors),” Keough said. (But she is an all-league caliber player) no question about it.”
Cobbins got the job done on both ends of the floor for the Rams, helping lead her team to the PAL Tournament title. In the tournament opener, Cobbins scored seven points in a 48-38 win over Menlo-Atherton. In the semifinals against Terra Nova, she scored a team-high 13 points while pulling down seven rebounds in a 73-42 win. She then added 13 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in the Rams’ 58-40 win over South City in the championship game.
“[Cobbins is] our anchor, in a way,” Keough said. “She’s definitely a vocal leader on the team. When she has something to say, she’s heard. … She directs (her teammates) a little bit better now.”
Cobbins definitely has the characteristics necessary for a center. She’s a tenacious rebounder, who has a knack for tipping the ball away from opposing players before grabbing the rebound. Her ability to alter and block shots makes the opposition wary about challenging her in the middle.
“She’s more of a rebounder. Offensively, we have many options to get points,” Keough said. “She’s playing really physical and I’m really impressed with her overall performance and the way she’s come back from injury.”
Offensively is where Cobbins has opened eyes. She is surprisingly light on her feet, can use both hands effectively and can put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket, which she did several times during the PAL Tournament.
“She’s fighting to get that second and third shot and finishing,” Keough said. “She has a pretty good first step and she’s quicker than most bigs. She’s a lot better with her left hand. Last year, she was really strong with her right. Now, she has the option of going either way.
“She’s also worked on handling the ball and getting to the basket.”
The Rams’ perfect 12-0 mark in PAL play helped land them a No. 3 seed in the Central Coast Section Division II tournament. Cobbins’ play has been a key to that seeding and Westmoor’s success this season.
“Going forward, I think she can get better,” Keough said. “But I think she’s playing at the highest level she can now.”