Merced College women’s basketball coach Allen Huddleston was named the California Community College Athletic Association State Coach of the Year this past weekend at the state championships.
Huddleston lead the Lady Blue Devils to a 28-6 record this season and their first appearance in the state championship game.
Huddleston tried to be sly when accepting the award this past weekend.
“I was fighting back tears,” Huddleston said. “I was trying to act like I was wiping sweat off my head and I went all the way to down to wipe the tears from my face. I was really surprised. I realize it’s because of what these young women did this season. I was a little bit overwhelmed.”
The Blue Devils made the journey to the state championship game by playing all season with a rotation of just seven or eight players.
Merced College was led by sophomore Trinity Washington, who was named the Central Valley Conference MVP after averaging 12.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 5.3 steals per game.
Tajaheray McMahan led the Blue Devils in scoring at 13 points per game and Shea Glasglow-Williams chipped in at 12.3 points per game.
The Blue Devils became the first No. 4 seed from Northern California to earn their way to the championship game. Merced College upset Palomar, which was the top team in state, in the state quarterfinals along the way.
“If you look at our team, we had low numbers and we were undersized,” Huddleston said. “We made up for our lack of people and lack of size with heart. It was amazing to see how hard each young women played. They laid out for each other. That made our season special.”
Huddleston was also named the Central Valley Conference Coach of the Year after helping the Blue Devils earn a co-championship with College of the Sequoias and Fresno City.
Merced College later defeated Fresno City in the state semifinals before falling to Mt. San Jacinto in the championship game.
“People called us underdogs,” Huddleston said. “Our girls never thought we were underdogs. They believed we were supposed to be there.”