- Medworth named as county's player of the year -
The process of nominating players for an All-County team as well as determining the most valuable player is very rarely an easy decision and this season was no exception.
The most difficult decision generally lies in naming the county's most valuable player since in a team sport, each player accentuates their teammates. In the end, that concept is what lead to the decision to name Northview High School's Whitney Medworth as this season's MVP.
No one statistic leaps out and grabs the attention, however, Medworth's ability to defend, score from inside or out, pass and think on the run made her the best overall player.
Medworth was second on the team in scoring at 12 points per game while leading the squad in assists at 5.2 per contest. Those assists might very well be her most valuable ability considering it is a measure of getting the ball to a teammate in a position to score. Northview coach Bob Medworth believes that her passing is one of the most important skills she possesses. "Her eyes are without a doubt her best asset - she sees the court very well and this leads to her ability to find the open person."
She also was second on the team with 24 blocks and lead the team with 37 3-pointers, a pair of stats that Medworth believes is a product of her well-rounded game. "With improvement she can be a true triple threat to the defense. She can shoot the ball well from inside or out. Her long arms are an asset on defense as well."
Those same long arms also allowed her to pick up 43 steals this season, second to Amy Thiemann.
But most importantly, she is simply a part of a team that has grown together and become a force over time and should only get better when they return next season. Medworth's value lies not in being the best all-around player in the county, but because she helps make her teammates the best players that they can be.
Of those teammates, three of them have made an appearance on the All-County list this year with a pair of juniors and a freshman.
Juniors Erica Koehler and Amy Thiemann are two more players that provide both offense and defense for the Knights.
Koehler was third on the team at 8.2 ppg. and second with 4.9 rebounds and was one of the most aggressive defenders in the area this year. "Erica is the hustle of the team," commented Medworth. "She is strong and very, very athletic and a very natural athlete. She's always in the middle of the action doing extra little things that you might not see."
Thiemann meanwhile gives the Knights an established point guard along with Medworth that can handle opposing teams' pressure defense. She can also score from the outside and drive the hoop as well and lead the team in steals with 53. Her average of 7.5 ppg. adds depth to a dangerous scoring club and she also contributed 3.7 rebounds per game. "Amy's first strength is quickness and ball handling," commented Medworth. "When she concentrates she can take care of the ball and handle most presses thrown at us. She also gives us a very strong point defender."
The fourth Knight to make the team is freshman center Julie Whitted.
At 6'5, Whitted adds an inside presence to complement the Knights' outside shooting ability. She topped the team in rebounds with nearly 10 per game and also lead the way with 13.3 ppg. and added 42 blocks this season and 13 steals. "Julie really improved across the board. Her shooting, her rebounding, her hustle, her conditioning, etc," commented Medworth. "I think she can be one of the premier players in the state by the end of next season. It depends on how hard she wants to work now and this summer. If she wants to, I think she can be just about unstoppable in the low post."
The Knights' 15-7 overall record this year and unbeaten conference mark could simply be the beginning of something bigger next year with all but one player returning from this team.
The Clay City Eels didn't match Northview's success on the court though some of that might be attributed to a wave of illness and injuries that the Eels suffered throughout the season.
Throughout however, Clay City was lead by a a senior and a freshman who shone brightly.
Senior Jenna Koehler has been a leader on this squad for the past two years and was one of just two seniors on the team this season. Though she missed a handful of games because of illness, Koehler still contributed a great deal outside of her statistics that were solid, if not spectacular.
Koehler averaged 7.1 ppg. for the Eels in 12 games this year and contributed over four rebounds per game. She was a calming force for the Eels who struggled a bit without her ball handling and ability to drive the ball.
Without Koehler, the Eels leaned heavily on freshman Whitney McWilliams who took over the scorer's role most often along with point duties.
McWilliams topped the team at 10.9 ppg. and averaged nearly three assists and three rebounds per contest. She was also a tough defender that refused to give in regardless of the chore. Though she had little time on the court with the Eels' full complement of starters because of the health issues, McWilliams did an admirable job of keeping her teammates on the same page.
Each of these All-County players contributed all-around ability to their squads and helped make their teammates an even stronger unit. Only one of these members has played their last high school game so expect next season to be even better for the remaining five.