During her years at Ygnacio Valley Fulsom excelled running cross country and track, but it was on the basketball court where she made her biggest mark. This past season she led her handful of Wolves teammates to the North Coast Section Division IV playoffs where she ended her career with a 47-point game in a losing effort at No. 4 seed Del Norte, 367 miles north of the Concord school. In that final game she amassed a triple double with 12 rebounds and 10 steals to go with her scoring that included 19 of 25 shooting from two-point range.
Her high school and club coach Rae Jackson Jr., founder of Bay Area Magic basketball, says, “Leniyah is deceptively good. You look at her size and height [5-6] and you look past her. After the game, many coaches have said ‘we underestimated her.’ She leads with her defensive dominance and speed to take over a game.”
Fulsom had her share of ups and downs during her high school basketball journey. As a freshman Ygnacio Valley went undefeated to win the Diablo Athletic League Valley Division title and reach the NCS playoffs. The following year, in the midst of the COVID-19 disruption of high school sports, she tore her ACL at the start of the season and her team was winless. Jackson says, “She recovered and rejoined the team her junior year. This season her senior leadership kicked in to make a league title run and [get to] NCS.”
For this performance she earned honorable mention all-Bay Area honors. Among her accomplishments this year was a quadruple double in a win over Franklin of Stockton. She was 12th in the nation in steals and was voted co-MVP in the DAL, among her post-season laurels.
The senior says, “Outside of YV basketball I play for Bay Area Magic where I was able to learn life skills that will help me on and off the court and learn how not to just be a true point guard but a complete basketball player. Outside of sports I am a very shy person. I dislike failure because I am a perfectionist. I aim to be the best at anything I do. I have learned through sports that dedication, commitment, hard work and time management are necessary for growth and success. Knowing that, I no longer aim for perfection, instead I aim for progress because I now trust and understand the process. So, I take this approach with me everywhere I go.”
Fulsom wants to continue playing basketball in college and study law. She’ll continue to “enjoy doing hair, working out, drawing, math and having good sports related conversations.”
The Pioneer congratulates Leniyah and thanks Athlete Spotlight sponsors Dr. Laura Lacey & Dr. Christopher Ruzicka who have been serving the Clayton and Concord area for over three decades at Family Vision Care Optometry. laceyandruzicka.com.
Do you know a young athlete who should be recognized? Perhaps he or she has shown exceptional sportsmanship, remarkable improvement or great heart for the sport. Send your nomination for the Pioneer Athlete Spotlight today to email@example.com.
Jay Bedecarré is a long-time resident and writer in Concord and Clayton. He began his newspaper writing career while still a senior at Mt. Diablo High School and he has been part of The Pioneer since its inception in 2003. Jay also operates Bay Area Festivals, presenting events around the San Francisco Bay Area including Bay Area KidFest annually in Downtown Concord.