May 8, 2013 9:19 PM by Andrew Masuda

MB High grad and Cuesta star Aria Johnson to play Division II basketball

The Cuesta College women's basketball team added another milestone to its successful season on Wednesday. Sophomore Aria Johnson signed her scholarship papers to Merrimack College, a private school that competes at the Division II level.

Johnson earned All-Western State Conference honors this season. The forward averaged 13.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game for the Lady Cougars. The Morro Bay High graduate made the team at Colorado State as a freshman. But after a redshirt season she returned to the Central Coast and enrolled in Cuesta. Johnson was instrumental in the Cougars' 19-11 record in the 2012-13 season, which included the team's first playoff berth in five years. Guided by head coach Ron Barba, Cuesta's second place finish in conference also marked the team's best effort since 1997.

"Coach Barba was amazing and my teammates and I couldn't have done it without any of them. It was great too to come home and have that family support to get me through it. It was a really good experience actually. I wouldn't have gotten this scholarship without it," said Johnson moments after signing her papers to receive a full-ride.

Johnson plans to major in sports medicine at Merrimack. She finished her Cuesta career 7th all-time in career points (675), 6th in scoring average (12.1), 4th in shooting percentage (44.5%) and 5th in rebounds per game (7.5).

Merrimack finished 17-12 this past season, which was an improvement of 12 wins from the 2011-12 campaign. The Warriors compete in the Northeast-10 Conference. The school is located about 25 miles north of Boston in North Andover.

Last month, Atascadero High graduate and Cuesta sophomore Alyssa Palma signed with Adams State, another Division II program.



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