Student Athlete of the Week
Fairfax High School’s Marguerte Effa
Fairfax High School has the low post on lockdown. That is because 6’3” power forward/center Marguerte Effa, who can practically jump out of the gym, dominates the painted area. She is tall, lean, quick, athletic and physical, which allows her to have her way near the basket.
Basketball did not always come easily to Effa, who is from Cameroon, Africa, where she played soccer as a young child. She moved to Los Angeles five years ago, and like anybody who has become accustomed to this climate, she is in love with the weather. While many transplants enjoy getting out of the colder climates from the East Coast and Mid West, Effa is happy to get out of Cameroon’s heat.
Effa’s father, Parfiat, was also an athlete, as he made it to the Olympics in judo. She followed in her father’s footsteps by pursuing sports, but she became a fan of Lisa Leslie and Candice Parker when she moved to the United States, so she gravitated toward basketball.
At first the switch from soccer to basketball was difficult, as she did not know how to dribble—or that she even had to—and she shot the ball with two hands. But after a year or so she quickly picked up the game, and with her superior athletic ability it was not long before she became one of the top players in the area.
Now as a junior, Effa is one of the best players in the City Section, and she has the goal of bringing a city title to Fairfax. Last year she was named First Team All-City, as Fairfax nearly won the city championship. She did all that she could in the title game against Narbonne, scoring 23 points, pulling down 14 rebounds, and blocking two shots. She was clearly the best low-post player in the game, and arguably the best player on the court, but Fairfax fell for a second consecutive year to Narbonne, both times in the championship game.
With Effa leading the way, Fairfax looks like they have a great chance to get over the hump. Last year she averaged 13.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. She has improved her game, as she is averaging 20.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game, with both stats being among the leaders in the City Section. She recently had a three-game stretch where she scored 33 points against Hamilton, 31 against Westchester, and 35 against Summit, all with a bad ankle.
If Fairfax is going to take home the championship this year, they will probably be against Narbonne, who have played in the last four City Section championship games, winning the last two, both against Fairfax.
Lucky for Fairfax, they have Effa for two more shots at the title, and then she will be off to college. She is maintaining a 3.0 grade point average, which will qualify her for just about any college in the nation.
As a student, she has found time to juggle her studies with the amount of time that she spends on the court. Her favorite classes are marine biology and history, and she has an interest in becoming a crime scene analyst, as CSI is one of her favorite television shows.
Before she gets to that point in life she wants to play in the WNBA. But first is college, and three local universities have already made her offers, including Pepperdine and UC Riverside. Maryland, who is currently No. 8 in the nation, has recently shown interest, and the expectation heading into next season is that a number of highly ranked Division I-A colleges will be recruiting her.
But in the meantime, Effa is being a great player on the high school court, and a model citizen as well. She and her teammates regularly play basketball with the special education students at Fairfax, helping them with their skills and giving them their time to shine.
Effa’s star is rising, and she is an asset to the African American community.