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Amirah Leonard, Athlete-Basketball
In the Fall 1996, Amirah enrolled at Ventura College from Crescenta Valley High School, where she had an outstanding career. Teaming with future UCLA star Michelle Greco, Amirah made 222 3-point baskets in her high school career.
At the time Amirah arrived, Ned Mircetic's outstanding woman's basketball program had just won its first California State Championship, defeating Saddleback College. (The V.C. Men's team, Coached by Phil Mathews and led by Rafer Alston, won the State Championship, and it remains the first time one school had both its Men and Women's teams win State Championships on the same floor, the same night. Who will ever forget back-to-back at San Jose State). The leader of that team, Marina Torres-Reyes had graduated, and the V.C. coaches definitely needed someone to replace Marina.
Led by sophomores Kara Newman, the eventual State Player-of-the-Year, center Adria (AD) Sneed, and prolific 3-point shooter Cindi Jensen, freshman Amirah Leonard brought to the 1996-97 team the speed and quickness that would have V.C. poised to win a second consecutive State Championship. Not only did the V.C. women successfully defended their crown in a hard-fought victory over Canyons, but Amirah, the only freshman starter on the VC team, scored 19 points and was selected the State Tournament's MVP.
In Amirah's sophomore year, she teamed with Lynda "Frenchy" Amari, to lead the Pirates to another undefeated league championship and into the State Playoffs. The V.C. team was the State's #1 ranked team all year.
At the end of the regular season, the Pirates had won 33 consecutive games, and had an overall 34-1 record. Amirah was averaging a team-high 20.9 points a game, and had made 77 3-point baskets (the VC school record is 83, set in 1990). Prior to the 1997 playoffs, V.C. had won 105 out of 107 games.
Just prior to beginning the playoffs, both Amirah and Lynda Amari sustained ankle and knee injuries. Lynda's injury was so severe she could hardly walk; all Amirah could do was run slowly. Unfortunately a third consecutive championship was not to be: V.C. lost to Sierra in the championship game. In fact, Sierra was the only team to defeat V.C. that year.
Amirah received a full athletic scholarship to Clemson University, where she graduated with a B.A. in Speech and Communication. Amirah played pro ball briefly in Denmark.
Currently, Amirah is a certified fitness trainer with the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. She resides in the Los Angeles area.