D'Erryl Williams and Jasmine Ware reflect the image of complete high school basketball players, and it's no wonder their coaches and peers rave about them.
Both were tough and determined players this season, competing while inspiring their teammates through injuries to lead their teams deep into the postseason.
Ware of Sacramento and Williams of Sheldon, the two best players on the area's two best teams, are The Bee's Boys and Girls Players of the Year.
"Jasmine was our Energizer bunny," Sac High coach Michele Massari said. "Speed, power, athleticism, heart, determination she did everything. She embodies everything we believe in with heart and hustle and grit. She's an all-time-great player."
Said Sheldon coach Joey Rollings of Williams: "D'Erryl, what an awesome kid, one of great character. He's humble, works hard in school and in basketball, an amazing kid you'd want as your own, a role model."
A 5-foot-10 combo guard, Ware scored on drives, runners and three-pointers in addition to playing frenetic defense. The senior averaged 14.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 4.0 steals and 2.0 assists for the 26-7 Dragons.
Sac High was The Bee's top-ranked team all season, beating every area team it played. The Dragons won the Metro Conference with sweeps over other high-ranked Bee teams Kennedy and Florin repeated as Sac-Joaquin Section Division III champions and reached the Northern California Regional semifinals.
Ware, a 3.5 grade-point average student, will attend UC Santa Barbara on scholarship.
Williams, a 6-2 junior point guard, was the driving force for Sheldon. He was difficult to stop on drives as a crafty left-hander, and he could pop the short jumper or runner.
He averaged 14.0 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 3.2 steals for the 29-6 Huskies.
Sheldon was The Bee's top-ranked team for all but one week. The Huskies swept No. 2 Jesuit and highly touted Pleasant Grove in the Delta River League, and three-peated as D-I section champions with a win over Jesuit.
Sheldon again beat Jesuit in the NorCal D-I final and became the section's first public school to reach the D-I state championship game, losing to Mater Dei of Santa Ana.
Williams, a 4.0 student, is being recruited by college programs.
Meeting for a photo session this week, Ware and Williams agreed "basketball is our life" each refusing to let injuries slow them this season.
Ware was injured in a Metro opener against Florin and feared her season was done. Fortunately for Ware and the Dragons, she suffered only a deep knee bruise and soon returned.
The knee scare paled in comparison to Ware's real loss. Her mother, Darlene Ware, died from kidney failure two years ago.
Ware teared up in recalling the final days with her mother. Since then, Ware has been taken care of by her older brother Demond Philson, a local lawyer.
"You don't get over something like that," Ware said. "It pushed me to work even harder in school, to get in the gym more, to be better in everything. I'm lucky to have so many good people around me to make up for my loss."
Williams suffered a dislocated small finger on his right hand in the NorCal playoffs and vowed to keep playing.
In the state title game, a strained hamstring limited him against Mater Dei, though he still scored a team-high 13 points.
"There was no way I wasn't going to play," Williams said.
Jesuit coach Greg Harcos called Williams one of the toughest competitors he's seen in 25 years as either a player or coach.
"That's a great honor," Williams said. "I love to play. I play hard and I take pride in how I play.
"I like being a leader, having the ball in my hands, and I take pride in my defense."