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5A Girls "Unsung Stars"
The unsung stars of the 2017 5A Girls Real Dairy Shootout
Published: 2/20/2017 11:20:05 PM

Each year, selects its own “All-Tournament” teams following the boys and girls state basketball tournaments.  It rewards the best and the brightest for a job well-done representing their teams and their communities.

But, sometimes, credit is due beyond the stars.  Players who don’t lead the team in scoring or rebounding, but play great defense, set good screens, get key rebounds, win individual battles and excel at the little things to help a team win games.

These are my type of players.  I wasn’t a great scorer in high school.  In fact, I was a pretty awful scorer.  I rebounded, I hustled and I prided myself on playing hard every time I was on the court.  I teamed with Gary Jones on the 5A Girls Tournament this past weekend and we saw the usual array of stars – players like Tori Williams, Nina Carlson, Melody Kempton, Leah Dougherty and Cassidy Tiegs.  But I also saw a number of players who chipped in for their team in small ways.  They may not get the acclaim of the stars, but they’re still stars to me.

The unsung stars.

So, without any further delay, the 2017 5A Will Hoenike Unsung Stars (in no particular order):

G Lexi Rowe (Highland): Her overall stat line for the Rams wasn’t sparkling – 8 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists over the two games– but Rowe won a lot of individual battles for loose basketballs, for positioning on rebounds, to get through screens.  Little details like that help teams win basketball games and she’s one of four starters who should be back in the Highland lineup next season.

F Alicia Curry (Centennial): It’s tough to call the starting post for the state-champion Patriots an “unsung star,” but her contributions were invaluable to Centennial’s run.  At 5-foot-10, she’s bit undersized as a true “post,” but Curry battled big, strong players like Lake City’s Lauren Rewers and Keara Simpson, Eagle’s Kaitlyn Murray and Highland’s Allie Thayne and,along the way, averaged over 10 points and nearly five rebounds per game.  She also blocked four shots.  She forced opponents to respect her game, which helped the rest of the team find open shots en route to the school’s sixth state title in girls’ basketball.

G/F McKenna Emerson(Eagle):  If you listened to our free audio webcasts, we repeatedly mentioned that Emerson would have been a starter on just about any other 5A team in the state. But, on a team as deep as Eagle, she was the 6th man.  A defensive stopper and a spark plug.  On a team filled with stars, she averaged nearly ten points per game in the state tournament and also contributed 13 steals.  She’ll be back for her senior season with Eagle next winter.

G Tyler McCliment-Call (Post Falls):  Most of the Post Falls offense, justifiably, ran through junior leaders Melody Kempton and Bayley Brennan.  But McCliment-Call, as a freshman, provided a big lift as a viable third option, collecting 29 points and 7 assists for the third-place Trojans.  She also averaged over four rebounds per game over the weekend and made 9 of 11 free throws. And, to repeat, she and her twin sister, Jacksen (who kicked in 14 points and four three-point shots in the tournament), are just freshmen.

G Chloe Teets (Lake City):  She made one field goal in the entire tournament.  Had just seven rebounds and two steals.  And the sophomore point guard sat out a total – total– of five minutes and 40 seconds during the Timberwolves’ three games in three days at the state tournament.  And two of Lake City’s opponents were high-pressure defenses from Centennial and Mountain View.  Sometimes ball-control and getting a team into its offense, by themselves, are skills that get overlooked.  Lake City loses just two seniors off of this season’s team and head coach Bryan Kelly’s team should be considered a viable contender next season.

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