After a brief hiatus over winter break, The Post is back with your latest Athlete of the Week winner – Kaley Phillips of John I. Leonard!
The senior guard, forward, and wing won 68.28 percent of votes in last week's poll for her performances against Palm Beach Central and Inlet Grove.
Phillips averaged 33.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.5 steals in both wins.
On the season, Phillips is averaging 30 points, 12 steals, and 6.5 assists per game, commanding the turnaround of the Lancers' 3-4 record ahead of Jan. 22 – the last playing date for district tournament seeding.
It's Phillips's third year as Leonard's top scorer, posting her breakout season amid the pandemic. In six performances during 2020's abbreviated season, Phillips averaged 20 points and four steals per game.
Girls head coach Ausbee Bryant has seen Phillips grow into a "fearless competitor who will give everything to win."
In a Twitter post, Leonard boys basketball coach James Lake called Phillips one of the "absolute best student-athletes on campus."
Although it makes for a stacked schedule, Phillips attributes being a multisport athlete to her steady climb in establishing herself as one the area's star basketball players.
"Competing year- round definitely keeps me in shape for basketball and even helps me improve on different aspects of the game," said Phillips, also a member of Leonard's flag football team.
When she swapped her sneakers for cleats last season, Phillips became a wide receiver and cornerback for the Lancers, contributing to a four-game win streak – including three consecutive shutouts – before a 33-7 playoff loss to Park Vista.
"Because she plays flag football, her vision and her anticipation have come around 100 percent," Bryant said, now finding Phillips "relentless on both sides of the ball."
Being there for jump-balls on the field has translated to a significant change in Phillips's ability to rebound on the court.
Before joining flag, Phillips was posting 2.3 rebounds in a game.
After her first season, Phillips has returned to the court a dominant defender and is averaging nine rebounds per game.
With aspirations of being a college student-athlete, the unrecruited Phillips is out to turn coaches' heads this year – whether she's tossing the rock or the pigskin.
Bryant has "no doubt" that she will prove she's worth a scholarship, as Phillips boasts a 3.4 GPA and the talent to go with it.
"I hope I get thirty-six more like her next year," Bryant said.
Bryant says the "budding star" leads her young teammates by a "no slack" example – and it seems to be that Phillips is taking the same approach to finding the next court she'll call home as she prepares for all-star games and visits her senior spring.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: The Post's Athlete of the Week: Leonard basketball's Kaley Phillips does it all