All-County girls’ basketball: Frankfort, CP highlight 1st, 2nd teams
Posted: Monday, March 31, 2014 8:00 pm
BY JIMMY GILLISPIE firstname.lastname@example.org
This year’s Clinton County girls’ basketball championship came down to the final seconds between Frankfort and Clinton Prairie, so it’s no doubt that both squads dominated the Times All-County squad.
The county title was won by Frankfort, who hit free throws during the final seconds to defeat CP this winter. That success landed Frankfort four players and CP three players on the 10-player 2013-14 All-County team. A pair of Rossville players and one Clinton Central player also made the team this year.
While Frankfort had the most players make the most players on the all-county team, the Gophers had the player of year for the second-straight season. CP sophomore Madison Douglass was voted by the county coaches as the best player in the county for the second time in her young career. She was a unanimous player of the year winner as all three opposing county coaches voted her as the top player.
Joining Douglass on the first team were Frankfort junior Taylor Kirby, Frankfort sophomore Jacenda Perry, Clinton Central junior Caitlyn Bradley and CP senior Abby Clark.
The second team honors went to Rossville freshman Keely Criswell, Frankfort junior Cassidy Dubree, CP junior Mattyson Robison, Frankfort senior Samantha Henderson and Rossville junior Breanna Wainscott. The honorable mention all-county players were CP sophomore Kayla Pearson, Frankfort sophomore Tania Olivas, CC senior Anna Scott, CC freshman Taylor Morris and Rossville senior Megan Longenecker.
This year’s four county coaches voted on the all-county team. Those coaches are Frankfort’s Andy Ross, CP’s Jason Haid, Rossville’s Michael Gick and CC’s Kyle Etherington.
Clinton Prairie sophomore
CP’s star center was even more dominant during her sophomore campaign than she was when she won the all-county player of the year as a freshman. She was a unanimous selection this season.
“She’s just so hard to guard,” Gick said. “That’s probably the highest praise you can give a player in my opinion. The fact that she had a good enough shot from the outside, she could back you inside and she’s so much quicker than what you would imagine with and without the basketball. She’s just a tremendous athlete.”
Douglass led the Gophers, who won the Hoosier Heartland Conference title for the second-straight year, in three statistical categories. She averaged 13.7 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game to lead the Gophers. She also averaged 1.4 assists per contest. Douglass was voted Co-MVP and was a first-team All-HHC selection for the second time.
“She was difficult to defend, because she’s a skilled offensive player and she has a lot of size,” Ross said. “She makes it difficult to guard her. She’s so big and strong inside. We didn’t have anybody that big and strong to match up to her. She’s a very skilled offensive player and obviously she’s a very good rebounder. She was the center of our defensive game plan. We knew that if we were going to have a chance to beat them then we had to defend her. She was priority No. 1 for us defensively.”
The Hot Dogs more than doubled their win total from 2012-13 and Kirby was a big reason for the improvement. Kirby’s improvement from her sophomore season was noticed by the other county coaches.
“I just thought her athleticism really helped Frankfort this year,” Haid said. “I thought she was a difference maker because she can get a stop on defense and also push the ball in transition. She can also hit an outside shot if you leave her open. She’s a tough person to guard and someone you can’t leave open in crunch time. I think she’s a big reason why Frankfort had a turn-around season this year.’
Kirby led the Hot Dogs in scoring, assists and free throw shooting percentage. She averaged 12.1 points, 3.1 assists and shot 73 percent from the stripe. Kirby also led the county with 37 three-pointers, while shooting 36 percent from behind the arc. She was voted the second team All-Sagamore Athletic Conference.
“I was very impressed with her when she played us,” Etherington said. “I was most impressed with Frankfort and Taylor Kirby when they were playing Western. We had no clue that Western would go on to win the state this year. She battled the entire game, whether they were down two or 10. If I had 12 players like her, I wouldn’t have to worry about the game plan, because a player like that – great attitude on the floor and all of that heart – you can’t go wrong.”
Clinton Central junior
The Bulldogs’ leading scorer developed into an offensive threat during her junior campaign. She was a first-team All-HHC player for the first time.
“She was probably the most basketball-skilled wise on that team,” Ross said. “She was their best all-around player. It wasn’t indicative of the type of season she had when they played against us.”
Bradley averaged 9 points, 4 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 3.3 steals this season. Her highlight was exploding for 32 points, including five threes, against Rossville.
“She got my vote because she was absolutely unconscious against us,” Gick said. “She probably had the five best games of her life in one game there. She did a nice job of playing the fouls against us and she shot the ball outstanding that night.”
Frankfort’s improvement in 2013-14, especially on the offensive end, was due to an improved season from its sophomore guard. Perry averaged 9 points and 4 rebounds per game this season. She also led the team in two-point field goal percentage as she shot 46 percent from that range. Perry was also chosen as an honorable mention All-SAC player.
“When you shoot 46 percent from the field, I love it if I’m on the Frankfort bench,” Etherington said. “As an opposing coach, I absolutely hate it. In our game against Frankfort, whatever she put up would go in. It was amazing. To top it all off, she doesn’t just score points. She is able to get rebounds, dish an assist here or there and get a steal as well. I was very surprised when she was just honorable mention all-conference.”
Haid was also impressed with Perry’s all-around game.
“She improved her game tremendously from last year,” Haid said. “She was a very good shooter. I think her decision making improved a great deal, especially in transition. She was able to find teammates and get to the rim a lot better this year. She’s a great play maker for them and made them go offensively. They scored a lot of points this year and a big reason for that, I think, is her improved play.”
Clinton Prairie senior
While Douglass absorbed most of the attention for the Gophers, senior Abby Clark was a big reason for their success this winter. Clark ranked second on the team with a 8.9 points and 6 rebounds per game average. She also averaged more than one assist and steal per contest.
“I just thought Abby was a very good complimentary on the ball side with Madison,” Gick said. “If you double down on Madison, she would hurt you from the outside and she was also good without the basketball.”
Clark was selected to the All-HHC team for the second-straight year. She was named Co-MVP for the Gophers, while winning the Outstanding Teammate and Heart-Effort-Determination team awards.
“She’s one of those kids that you don’t want to play against,” Ross said. “If she’s on your team, you just love her, but if you have to play against her, you don’t like her so much because she just plays so hard. She does a lot of different things. She can score, she’s a very good defender and she handles the ball some for them. If she’s on your team, you think the world of her. If she’s on someone else’s team, you just hate to have to play against her. She hustles, plays extremely hard and plays with a lot of energy. She just does so much for them.”
As a freshman, Criswell came one point shy of being a first team all-county player for the Hornets. Criswell led Rossville in three statistical categories. She averaged 9.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game, which earned her an all-conference selection.
“The one stat that really jumped out to me was the 1.5 blocks per game,” Etherington said. “The thing I was most impressed with her, not the blocked shots in theory, was how she was able to change shots. Instead of a player feeling comfortable with a mid-range jumper, she would get her hand up and make the player change the shot or ditch the shot all together. I was impressed with her defensive game more than anything.”
Haid was impressed with Criswell’s performance in their game.
“She was a warrior down there in the post,” Haid said. “She drew a tough assignment going up against Madison Douglass early in the year and I thought she just wouldn’t back down. She is a tough kid. I was impressed with her progress late in the year and in the sectional. She’s going to be a tough player for years to come.”
Dubree wasn’t flashy and didn’t demand a lot of attention from the opposition, but she quietly scored points and led the Hot Dogs in rebounding, by nearly two rebounds per game, as a guard. Dubree averaged 7.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.6 steals and more than one assist per game this season.
“She was very quick and very hard to guard going to the basket as well,” Gick said. “She’s also a very good scorer.”
Clinton Prairie junior
Douglass and Clark led the Gophers in scoring, but Robison was the engine that got the Gophers going this season. The first-year CP player was a true point guard in that she didn’t impact the game with her scoring, but instead with her defense, speed and assists.
Robison averaged 4.8 points, 1.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.4 steals per game. She led the Gophers in steals and assists. Robison was a first team All-HHC player and won the Most Outstanding Defense team award.
“She didn’t get it done with the points in a lot of games this year, but I was very impressed with her leadership on the floor,” Etherington said. “In girls’ basketball, if you average more than a couple assists per game, you’re doing something good. In our game, I know she had more than four or five assists. She’s like an 80s or 90s point guard, where she got the offense running and she was able to get the ball to Madison Douglass about any time they had a mismatch. I was impressed with her intelligence.”
The Hot Dogs lone senior who played this season contributed all over the court during her final season. She led the team in blocks with an average of 1.4 per game, while scoring 6.9 points and 4.8 rebounds per contest.
“She’s one of those hustle players and hard-nosed kids that is going to come up with every loose ball or hit the glass,” Haid said. “She is also able to hit some mid-range shots. We played a zone against them and she can hit that shot in the middle of the zone. She did a lot of little things well for them.”
Wainscott was one of a few upperclassmen who played significant minutes for the Hornets this winter. She finished the season second in scoring with a 7.1 average per game, while grabbing 4.3 rebounds per contest.
“She’s one of those kids that plays extremely hard and does a lot of different things for them,” Ross said. “She handles the ball and is a good shooter for them. She kind of holds everything together for that group, because she does so much on the offensive end, as far as taking care of the basketball and being one of their main offensive players. You saw a whole lot of improvement out of that whole team, her included, late in the season.”
Clinton Prairie sophomore
Pearson was a three-point threat as she led the Gophers with 26 threes. She averaged 6.3 points and 2 assists per game. She was an HHC honorable mention player this season.
The Hot Dogs fifth starter had a solid sophomore campaign. She averaged 4.9 points and 4.1 rebounds.
Clinton Central senior
Scott averaged 3 points and 5 rebounds per game for the Bulldogs. She led them in rebounding and won the Team Mental Attitude award.
Clinton Central freshman
Morris became a solid contributor for the Bulldogs. She averaged 4 points and 3 rebounds per game. Morris also won the Team Most Improved award.
The Hornets lone senior didn’t always put up the numbers, but her leadership were noted by Gick. She did average 2.7 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.