Rosary's Richard Yoon is the Register's girls basketball coach of the year. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Orange County Register/SCNG)

Rosary's Rich Yoon is the Orange County girls basketball coach of the year


FULLERTON – A trophy fashioned to replicate the shape of California isn’t the easiest memento to lug around, especially when there’s a pair of hefty plaques that accompany it.

Three trophies, two hands. It’s not the worst predicament in the world for Rich Yoon.

In what was his 25th season at Rosary, Yoon captured the trifecta only a select number of coaches in state history can make claim to: winning CIF Southern Section, Southern California Regional and CIF State championships in the same season.

After leading the Royals to a 30-5 record, their first CIF-SS title since 1999 and the school’s first regional and state crowns, Yoon has been named the Register’s Orange County girls basketball coach of the year.


“Looking back, it is truly a dream season because I still can’t fathom all that’s happened,” Yoon reflected, days after Rosary topped Campolindo of Moraga in the Division III state championship game. “It’s almost like you’re trying to pinch yourself and you’re going to wake up and find out that we didn’t do all this, but we actually did.

“I can’t give credit enough to our kids and to our school for supporting us so much. They came out in van loads to support us in the journey that took us all the way to the state championship.”

Hundreds of the team’s fans made the trip to Sacramento, including a rooter bus filled with Rosary students that left the campus at 4 a.m. the morning of the team’s finale, ventured six-plus hours north for the game, celebrated and proceeded to hop back on the bus for the 415-mile trek back to Orange County in the same day.

It was worth the ride.

Freshman Kate Goostrey established herself as one of the county’s up-and-coming stars, burying six 3-pointers in an NBA arena to finish with a season-high 25 points. Becky Obinma continued her monumental growth as a player, scoring 12 points, grabbing 17 rebounds and swatting away 10 shots. And for seniors Alli Iannone, Camille Lira and Tea Carbullido, it was the apex of their high school careers.

Maybe most impressive about the Royals’ run was the growth the squad exhibited to the very end. Rosary survived a pair one-point overtime thrillers in the Southern Section playoffs, including a 52-51 win over Camarillo in the title game. In the five games that ensued, Rosary won by an average margin of 17.6 points, never playing a game closer than 16 points.

“Sometimes it’s just your turn,” Yoon added. “These are some special seasons. If this happened all the time, how special would it be? For us, we’re going to celebrate as much as we can because we never know if this is going to happen again.”

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