Miranda Flores had endured more than her share of talking-tos by Le Grand coach Danny Crosby on the season. Flores struggled with balancing the team's need for her to score and her natural instincts to get everyone involved in the offense.
On this particular December evening, at the West Coast Jamboree, none of that was an issue.
Flores was feeling it, and her demeanor exuded nothing but confidence as she let shots fly from all over the court.
"The first time we played Fresno Christian, we kind of got blown out, so we were looking for revenge," Flores said. "I knew I was going to have to be aggressive and look to score. I hit a couple shots early and my confidence went up.
"That night I was just focused on the game. I didn't really realize how many 3s I was making or how many points I had."
When the dust finally settled, Flores had scored a career-high 30 points to go along with four assists, six rebounds and a pair of steals.
Just about the only thing that didn't go Flores' way that night was the final shot.
With her team down two points, the senior guard got off a last-second 3 that just wouldn't fall.
"The shot wasn't supposed to be for me, but the inbounds pass didn't go how we thought it would," Flores said. "I got a good look, but I knew the ball came off of my hand wrong. I just hoped it would catch the rim and bounce in.
"Unfortunately it didn't fall, but it was just exciting having the opportunity and being in a game like that."
Crosby said the Fresno Christian game helped set the tone for the rest of Flores' season.
"Miranda can be passive at times, but on that night she showed she wanted to be a leader," Crosby said. "She put the team on her back and gave us a chance to win at the end."
Flores led Le Grand with 12.9 points per game and 3.4 assists, helping the team reach the playoffs for the fourth time in her career. For her efforts, Flores is the Sun-Star Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
The award is Le Grand's third in a row with the last two going to Jennifer Hansen.
"I remember seeing Miranda play as a seventh grader and looking forward to when she got to the high school level," Crosby said. "She and Veronica Moreno and a few of the other girls have all played varsity since they were freshmen. She's come a long way in that time.
"Miranda could always shoot, but she's really become a complete player. She's a great free-throw shooter, so she concentrated this year on going to the basket and getting fouled."
Flores' big season had its share of ups and downs as she struggled with replacing Hansen's scoring and leadership.
"There was a lot of pressure," said Flores, who is happy to shine the spotlight elsewhere. "Stepping into Jen's role was a huge task and responsibility.
"One thing I've always struggled with is having confidence in my game, so I really tried to stay upbeat and set the example."
Adding to Flores' woes, the three-time defending Southern League champs suffered a pair of early losses to rival Turlock Christian. The two-game hole set up a must-win situation for Le Grand when the two teams met up for a third time at the beginning of February.
With the stage set, the usually quiet Flores became unusually vocal.
"We knew we were going to need help from some other teams if we were going to get a share of the league title, but first we had to beat Turlock Christian to give ourselves a chance," Flores said. "Veronica and I talked a lot to the rest of the girls that week about making sure they didn't sweep us.
"We did everything we could to pick everybody up and keep them up. We didn't get our fourth straight title, which was really disappointing, but I was really proud that we beat them and gave ourselves a chance.
"This group of seniors accomplished things no other group has before and I'm really grateful to have been a part of it."