Advocate All-Area Girls Team: Danville's Young, Lincoln's Harris voted co-players of the year; Danville's Mason is coach of the year
The Advocate-Messenger All-Area Girls Basketball team for 2013 (staff / March 12, 2013)
And that came down to the player of the year race as well, as area coaches split their votes between Danville’s Kasey Young and Lincoln County’s Sydney Harris, who tied in the balloting and are the Area Co-Players of the Year.
Harris is averaging 15.9 points and 7.2 points per game for the Patriots heading into Thursday’s Girls Sweet Sixteen matchup with Owensboro Catholic. She also shoots 75 percent from the line and has 47 blocked shots.
Young, a first-team selection last season, averaged a team-high 19.9 points and 6.2 rebounds and shot 75 percent from the free throw line for the Admirals.
The All-Area team is dominated by veterans, are six repeat selections — Harris, Young, Emily Fox of Lincoln, Devin Conley of Garrard County, Catheryne Claunch of Mercer County and Essence Grey of Danville.
Danville leads the are with three selections, while Mercer, Lincoln, Boyle County and Garrard had two selections each.
Judie Mason, who led the Admirals to an 18-10 record was voted the Area Coach of the Year.
Here’s a look at this year’s team:
The King College signee had a breakout year for Lincoln, as she became a threat on both ends of the floor.
“After deciding to not play soccer this year, Syd worked extremely hard on her game over the summer giving her more confidence in her abilities,” Lincoln coach Cassandra McWhorter said. “Her height and length creates a lot of mismatches for other teams and the fact that she can knock down outside shots, penetrate, and not only post makes her tough to defend.”
Young, a threat inside and out, became the first Danville girl to sign a Division I scholarship when she signed with Eastern Kentucky last fall. She has also been selected to try out for the Kentucky All-Star team which will play Indiana.
“Kasey is a four-year starer and is second in the al-time scoring list at Danville,” Danville coach Judie Mason said. “Kasey has been in the top five in 3-point shooting since her sophomore year.”
The Austin Peay signee is a repeat first-team selection. Fox, who has also been invited to try out for the Kentucky All-Stars, is averaging 17.1 points, 2.2 steals, 1.2 blocks, 1.7 assists and 4 rebounds per game for Lincoln going into the state tournament.
“She has been our go to person for — how many years? Emily has drawn a lot of attention this season from other teams because of her ability to score, yet she still is our leading scorer,” McWhorter said. “I am very proud of her for staying strong and consistent this season and helping her teammates to also succeed.”
The senior guard made a splash in her one season with Mercer. The Lindsey Wilson signee averaged 25.1 points (852 points) and 5.4 rebounds per game. She shot 85 percent from the free throw line, 52.6 percent from the floor and made 104 of 249 3-pointers (42 percent). She has also been invited to try out for the Kentucky All-Stars.
“I guess it would be safe to say you don’t get transfers like this very often. Cassidy shoots the ball as good as any high school player I have seen. It is not just 3 pointers; she can put the ball on the floor and pull up on a dime, and also finishes very well around the basket,” Mercer coach Chris Souder said. “Her stats are staggering. The team accepted her with open arms, and once she adjusted to our style and me getting on her about things that I wanted her to improve on, her play just took off.”
The only junior on the first team, Conley led Garrard in scoring at 16.3 points per game, steals (36) and assists (76) and pulled down 3.3 rebounds per game.
“Devin has grown into a special player. She works really hard at her game and has a passion to get better,” Garrard coach Scott Bolin said. “The game really slowed down for Devin this year enabling her to do more things effectively. I think the best is still ahead for this young lady. What makes Devin most effective is that she is an even better person than basketball player.”
Despite missing eight games with a knee injury, the sophomore guard still averaged 11.3 points and 4.8 rebounds and 5 assists per game for Mercer.
“Catheryne may be one of the most competitive kids I have ever been around. She also probably has the biggest heart on the team. Most everything we do runs through Catheryne, and sometimes I have to remind myself she is still just a sophomore, which is very exciting for our program,” Souder said. “She is also one of our better defenders. Catheryne wants to put the team on her shoulders and carry them, which is very difficult to find a player with that desire to be that type of player. She will be a load in the next two seasons.”
The Danville junior led the area in assists at better than 6 per game, and she also scored 12 points per game.
“Essence Grey is one of the quickest guards in the state and really improved her offensive game late in the season,” Mason said. “She will be called upon to do more of that next year. Essence is already in the 1,000-point club.”
The Garrard senior center averaged 9.7 points and 6 rebounds per game, while shooting 60 percent from the floor.
“Kelly is a six-year starter for our team. She has been a fixture in our post for a long time and will really be missed,” Bolin said. “She has really worked hard with (assistant) coach (Dickie) Gilbert polishing her post game. Her strength and ability to create her own shot really makes her a force on the blocks. Kelly is a outstanding young lady that will be a success at whatever she chooses to do in the future.”
The Danville sophomore guard was having a breakout season, averaging 12 points per game and shooting 44 percent from the field before tearing her anterior cruciate ligament Feb. 1 in a game against Boyle County.
“C.J. McPherson was probably playing better than anyone in the Region when she tore her ACL,” Mason said. “She was by far the most improved player on my team, and I feel in the region. C.J. is working hard to return to that same level.”
The Boyle County senior guard stayed healthy and was part of the Rebels’ resurgence, averaging 11 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. She also had 53 assists and 80 steals.
“Hannah (Harris) and Chelsea have been the backbone of our team success this season. Their leadership has been outstanding. We are truly going to miss them next season,” Boyle coach Greg Edwards said. “They are extremely talented in the classroom and on the basketball court.”
Harris led the team in scoring at 13 points per game, while averaging 3.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game to go along with 44 assists and 82 steals.
“(Harris and Gill) have played hard from the time they have been here and have left a legacy of hard work that epitomizes what we want out of a Boyle County basketball player,” Edwards said.