Lady Zebras, Lady Chargers each awarded 5 all-district selections
Mar. 17—Behind district champion Maypearl's eight selections, the all-district team for District 17-3A girls basketball features balance among the rest of the league's participants.
District 17-3A was one of the more tightly contested leagues in the area with only three games separating first-place Maypearl (9-3) and fifth-place Whitney (6-6).
The Grandview Lady Zebras and Keene Lady Chargers each went 8-4 in league play, with Grandview finishing second by virtue of its head-to-head tiebreaker over third-place Keene. And West (7-5) edged out Whitney for the fourth seed.
While Maypearl leads the way on the all-district team with eight selections, Grandview, Keene and West each received five selections while Clifton (four) and Whitney (three) were next in line.
Grandview's all-district representation is led by junior Kaylie Smith as the co-offensive player of the year along with Maypearl junior Mak Pudgurney.
"She put in a lot of work this summer," Grandview Coach Tyler Adams said. "We went how she went. If she scored, we were going to have a good chance to win the game. I felt like she did a better job this year of being more consistent with her jump shot, her free throws were better, her rebounding was a lot better on both ends of the floor. It was nice to see some more growth, especially with us going into a tougher district.
"Everybody knew to game plan for her and for her to still be our leading scorer and to average a little over 11 points per game is a testament to her work ethic and her wanting to be good."
For the season, Smith averaged 11.4 points per game on 44% shooting with 5.6 rebounds and two steals per game.
Headlining Keene's all-district selections are freshman Brynleigh McFarlin as the newcomer of the year and senior Hanna Jormanit as the sixth man of the year.
McFarlin averaged 9.1 points, four assists, four steals and 3.8 rebounds per game as the Lady Chargers' starting point guard.
"The thing about BK is there was a lot put on her as a freshman," Keene Coach John McFarlin said about his daughter. "I've always used my point guards to do a lot of the on-floor work with adjustments and things like that. She's got to make sure the ball is getting distributed. I've talked to her a lot about, if you get into too many possessions without a specific player get the ball, we need to get them involved soon. She gave us a lot in terms of the offensive side and she had a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio as well.
"She also does a lot defensively, too. It was her job to communicate rotations and changes. With what I put on her, I was proud of how she handled herself the way she did. She's a big reason why we were able to advance out of our district and get into the playoffs."
Jormanit averaged 4.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game off the bench for Keene to earn sixth man of the year honors.
"It was important to have Hanna off the bench for us," McFarlin said. "She was good enough to start for us but it was important for her to come off the bench and she was a key weapon for us to bring off the bench that teams had to worry about. She had good range, she can make good passes most players can't make. To have somebody as good as her embrace that role, it was big. Even when I had a starter go down, she still didn't start because she was important for us coming off the bench. She's one of two seniors we had and she'll be missed."
Representing Grandview on the all-district first team is sophomore point guard Jamie Snider, who averaged 6.4 points, four rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.9 steals per game.
"She grew up a ton from last year when she was thrown up on varsity as a freshman," Adams said. "That's a big jump from eighth grade to varsity. She grew a lot this year leadership-wise and being more mentally tough. She made us go offensively and was probably our most aggressive girl on our perimeter defense, which helps us going into our fast-paced transition. She did a lot better job of getting to the rim and finishing. I think that comes from another year of growth. She's got a bright future ahead of her if she continues on the pace she's at right now. She's going to be really good by the time she's done."
First-team honors for the Lady Chargers go to sophomore Kenlie Ingram and junior Kierra Juano.
"Kierra was new to us so it took a little while for her to get comfortable in our system," McFarlin said. "As the season went on, she felt more confident as a scorer and she was strong inside. She can shoot the ball well but can also get to the rim and attack. It's going to be nice to have her again next year. Kenlie is our high-energy player and she stretches the floor well and runs to the rim well. A lot of her points come off hustle plays, offensive rebounds or outrunning her defender.
"Those two together along with BK all averaged around nine points per game, but there were multiple times when one struggled but the other was able to pick them up."
Juano averaged 9.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.2 steals while Ingram scored 9.6 points per game with 7.2 rebounds and two steals per game.
A trio of Lady Zebras garnered second-team recognition in senior River Mangum, junior Skyler Moore and freshman Wren Smith.
While Mangum wasn't a big contributor offensively, she filled a key role defensively as one of Grandview's leading rebounders and shot blockers.
"River was our energy bug," Adams said. "We relied on her to keep the energy up and keep the attitudes positive. She was our go-to defender. She led the district in every defensive stat: rebounding, steals, blocks. And she accepted that role. I felt like last year she kind of didn't know where to fit in but this year she grabbed the reins on being our energy bug and defensive player."
Moore averaged 5.6 points and was Grandview's top outside shooter.
"She was our best shooter," Adams said. "We wanted her to shoot 10 or 12 3's per game. She shot 28% for the year but her confidence grew throughout the year. As the season went on, you expected her to make every shot and you were almost shocked when it didn't go in. She just continued to put the work in all season."
Smith scored 5.3 points per game with 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game.
"For Wren to start three-fourths of the season as a freshman and to play multiple positions, I was extremely proud of her," Adams said. "She was a really good defender. We could put her on a big or the other team's best ball handler. It's nice to have a freshman who can be that successful her first year on varsity."
Keene sophomore Susan Nimo is the Lady Chargers' lone second-team selection after averaging 7.4 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.2 steals per game.
"Susan was benefitted from BK coming up," McFarlin said. "She had to run as our starting point guard last year and that's not where she was most comfortable so with BK coming up that moved her to the wing. She had a little bit of a slow start this year but then she had a game where she hit five 3's and she really came on for us."
Grandview finished the season with a 24-9 record before losing in bi-district for a second consecutive season.
"I felt like we did a much better job this year of being a collective unit and everybody being on the same page and rowing the ship in the same direction," Adams said. "Our energy was way better. With them being a year older, we were able to execute game plans and put more difficult game plans into the mix. Just being one more year mature, you could see they were more comfortable with it. Nothing anybody threw at them made them panic.
"I hope we take the next step next year. Our goal is to win a district championship and win as many playoff games as possible. The last two years we've been knocked out in the first round. So we want to win district and win playoff games and see how far we can go. If we can continue on the path we're on and make the jump we made from last year to this year, all of those things are possible."
Keene wound up with a 25-9 overall record, a solid 25-win season for a relatively young team, before falling in the bi-district round for the third straight year.
"If you would've told me going into the season that we would've made the playoffs and in the second-to-last game of the season we had an opportunity to finish as co-champs and to win 25 games, it's good for them," McFarlin said. "We won a lot of close games. Being we were so young, I don't know if we over-achieved but it was a successful season for us and there's a lot of excitement coming back. It was a really fun group that worked hard and let me coach them hard. I'm excited about the years to come."
West sophomore Kera Kaluza was voted the District 17-3A MVP. Maypearl junior Evyn Stroud received defensive player of the year and Maypearl's Allex Hensel received coach of the year.