One of Porterville High's all-time greats in girls basketball who led the Panthers this past season to one of their greatest seasons will take her talents to the next level.

Nseije Ortiz has committed to Holy Names University in Oakland, Calif., an NCAA Division II school.

“I'm very happy for Nseije,” PHS coach Dave Kavern said. Kavern contacted Holy Names coach Dave Covell two months ago when Covell was at Porterville College. While Covell was at Cal Maritime, he recruited players at PC when Dave Kavern was the Pirates' women's basketball coach.

“I’ve talked to Dave several times about Nseije, I sent him game film on her, he was very impressed with what he saw and put together a good financial aid package for her,” Kavern said.

Ortiz will join another local standout at Holy Names, Strathmore High graduate Jazmine Soto, Tulare County's all-time leading scorer who led the Spartans to the 2021 Southern California State Division 5-AA title. “I think it helped in that Nseije knew Jazmine Soto,”

Ortiz had a brilliant career for the Panthers as she was a four-year starter who helped lead PHS to three East Yosemite League titles and two Valley Championships.

During her career, PHS played in the state playoffs three times and she capped off her career by helping to lead the Panthers to the Southern California Regional Finals this past season. “Being a former Division I coach I see and understand what it takes to get to the next level,” Kavern said. “Nseije has all those qualities. We want to wish her the best of luck as she continues her career at Holy Names.”

Kavern added Covell looks to recruit players from successful programs such as Ortiz and Soto. “Winning breeds winning,” Kavern said. “That is something you cannot teach.”

This past season, Ortiz also surpassed 1,000 points scoring in her career and was named the EYL's Most Valuable Player. Ortiz averaged 16.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 5.5 steals per game this past season for the Panthers.


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