There are few players who have the ability to beat an opponent with multiple weapons. Some can drive the ball to the basket, others can simply shoot the ball well, still others have the ability to find an open teammate with a pass. But the truly special ones have each of those abilities and that is why Northview senior Whitney Medworth is this year's Girls Basketball County Player of the Year.
"(Whitney) became a true three-way threat this year on offense," commented head coach Bob Medworth. "She was able to drive and take the pull up jumper or dish it off, spot up for the three or make the pass from the perimeter for an assist."
This season Medworth became Northview's All-Time leading scorer with nearly 900 points, passing St.Mary of the Woods standout Frieda Crispin a 2000 Northview graduate.
Though Medworth has been a solid scorer for the Knights the past several years, what many critics agree is her greatest strength, is her passing.
"Between her own scoring and (Whitney's) assists, she was directly involved in over 40 percent of our points the past two years," said Medworth.
Medworth showed a knack for getting the ball to teammates Julie Whitted and Erica Koehler in good position to score this year. That is certainly part of the reason that Medworth tallied 5.1 assists per game this year.
She received co-MVP status in the Clabber Girl Classic basketball tournament this season with South Vermillion's Kylee Wood. Medworth was part of the All-Tournament Team and averaged 11.5 ppg. for the Knights.
Her work ethic also helped make her a leader on a team that featured a handful of seniors on the squad.
"I think she was a pretty hard worker," said coach and father Bob Medworth. "The biggest thing she had to overcome was having her dad (Medworth) tell her what to do four hours a day at school (band and basketball), plus at home."
Medworth's talents have piqued the interest of several Indiana college squads, including DePauw and Franklin as well as a couple of junior colleges in Illinois.
While her 6'0 frame, long arms and ball handling are certainly tantalizing for the school's that are interested in her basketball services. What made her so valuable to Northview's squad, according to her coach, was her ability to have fun.
"Wherever there was laughing and joking going on, she was usually in the middle of it and that is important for team chemistry. Whitney and the other seniors definitely brought something to the team each day besides their basketball skills," commented their coach.
One of Medworth's fellow seniors will join her on the All-County team along with a sophomore that has created a stir in the Wabash Valley with her potential.
Fellow senior Erica Koehler is a throwback sort of player that is hard to find these days when athletes tend to look for the spotlight and glory rather than floor burns and hustle.
The Knights won 28 games the past two seasons and much of that reason is the hard-nosed play of Koehler who, while averaging nine points per game and hitting 59 percent from the field, added almost five rebounds a contest.
When asked about what made her so valuable to the team, Medworth also pointed out the intangibles that Koehler brought to the court. "Her flat out tenacity," said Medworth. "She got a lot of rebounds that weren't hers to get, but she went after them. She also has a great eye for making the cut to get open to score."
Koehler also led the team in steals with 32 in 18 games this year, a testament to her knack for the game said Medworth. "She knows where to go for a rebound, for a steal, when to make a cut to the basket etc. She is just someone your glad to have on your side."
Up-and-coming sophomore Julie Whitted is someone that a lot of coaches wish were on their side.
The 6'5 Whitted has shown the ability to dominate on the inside on occasion and even on off nights offensively is still a disruptive force on the defensive end.
Whitted led the team in both rebounds (9.9 rpg.) and scoring at over 15 per game (15.3 ppg.). She also had a team 55 blocks (2.6 bpg.) which is perhaps her strongest contribution to defense.
While her basketball skills are still raw, Medworth believes there is little limit to Whitted's potential if she puts in the work to get better. "If (Whitted) will continue to work on her individual game and make an offseason commitment to conditioning , I think she can be one of the best players in the state. I think the sky is the limit for her if she so chooses."
While Northview's Knights had the most successful season by the numbers, Clay City's Eels certainly made the most improvement.
One year ago, the Eels were extremely young and it showed often times on the court.
The Eels won just three games with one of the younger teams in the state.
But despite the first year growing pains, Clay City's youth movement made excellent improvement and it showed on the court this season led by All-County Team members Whitney McWilliams and Cameron Gerber.
As a freshman McWilliams was the leading scorer for the Eels but lacked a certain degree of consistency in her shot which teams were able to exploit. This season McWilliams improved her outside shot and her dribble drive to add to a consistent game.
While averaging nearly 16 points per game, McWilliams showed explosive scoring ability as witnessed in her Feb. 5 game against North Daviess in which she scored 20 fourth quarter points as the Eels won.
Her defense improved this season along with giving Clay City another outside shooter, one that defenders must respect on the drive to the basket as well.
"Whitney (McWilliams) is a great player who has a feel for the game," commented Northview coach Bob Medworth. "As she continues to improve she will cause a lot of problems for teams."
Gerber's improvement was another key to the Eels' improvement from three wins last year to seven this season.
She scored close to double-digits at over eight points per game and helped lead by example. Her strong play seemed to energize those around her while on the court.
"Cameron (Gerber) is one of my favorite players to watch," said Medworth. "I saw quite a few Clay City games this year and she just gives you 100 percent every second. You can just tell by watching her that every ounce of her heart is in the game."
That attitude, while not reflected in the boxscore, is what landed Gerber on the All-County team as a player that makes every one around her even stronger. She will no doubt be one of the team leaders heading into next season as a senior.
While there are a handful of other players who one might argue should be included on this All-County team, numbers weren't the sole criteria for inclusion. Those who made the squad displayed ability along with various intangibles that helped make their team better in the end.