After finishing second and third in District 11-4A, the Godley Lady Cats and Alvarado Lady Indians each garnered six selections on the all-district team.
Godley (18-8) went 10-2 in district play with its only two losses to district champion Midlothian Heritage to finish second place while Alvarado (12-12) went 7-5 in league action to place third.
The Lady Cats and Lady Indians each received one superlative selection as Godley freshman Logan Reed was a no-brainer for newcomer of the year while Alvarado sophomore Jaiden Wright is the defensive player of the year.
For the season, Reed averaged 10.3 points, four rebounds and 1.7 steals per game as an instant impact freshman for Coach Mark Chauveaux’s Lady Cats.
“She’s super athletic so that helps but beyond that she loves the game and she watches it on TV all the time,” Chauveaux said. “We try to get all of our kids to watch as much basketball as possible and study the game. She just does it naturally. She’s a student of the game and understands the game pretty well for a freshman.
“I think the main thing with her is buy-in. She bought in to what we needed her to do this year. It took a little bit of time for her to realize we needed her to really be more selfish. She wasn’t looking to score all the time at the beginning of the year and she finally realized she needed to do that for our team to be successful. Her numbers went up and we got quite a bit better. She’s a lot of fun to coach because she understand the game but she can do so many things that a lot of other kids can’t just from an athletic standpoint and she has all the skills you want. It’s nice to see that in anybody but especially a freshman knowing you have 3 more years with her.”
Wright was a defensive force for a Lady Indians’ squad that played stingy defense the majority of district play. Wright averaged 6.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and two steals per game.
“When I tell people Jaiden Wright is 5-foot-9, they laugh with disbelief because she has the wing span of a 6-foot-2 player,” Alvarado Coach Kristen Turner said. “She is long and deceivingly quick. She is our utility defensive player: she can handle any guard in the full court 1-on-1, she can play down low when we are outsized, she is a key player at the top of our full-court press when we need a steal, and she can shift and play great defense at the top of our tight zone when we need to stop the drive.
“Jaiden gladly accepts any defensive assignment given to her to help with her team’s overall success. She is our leading rebounder with just under seven rebounds a game and if we didn’t need her defensively to play a guard, she would without a doubt average double-digit rebounds. Due to [Jacie] McCullough and [Charmaine] Hafford-Robinson being able to help out us out down low, we can push Jaiden out and use her athleticism and length. We held three out of six district opponents to 35 points or less in district play and Jaiden was a huge factor in that along with us being able to piece together our defensive strengths.”
While Midlothian Heritage’s Jerzie Bryant took home the top award on the all-district team as league MVP, a third superlative award goes to another Johnson County product in Venus’ Shyann Lewis as the district’s offensive player of the year.
Lewis was a force for the Lady Bulldogs as she averaged 18 points per game with 8.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 5.5 steals per game in leading Venus to a 15-10 overall record (but 3-9 in district).
“I believe that in our tough district this year it was noticed by other coaches how much Shyann did for us on both ends of the floor,” Venus Coach Joshua Smith said. “She controlled the tempo both offensively and defensively. What I think kind of gave her the nod as offensive MVP is the way she was not only able to create for herself but for those around her. She was always willing to make the extra pass in order for a better shot. She was able to keep us in a lot of games with not just her scoring but with her IQ on the offensive side of the ball.”
It’s a rarity for a player on a non-playoff team to win a superlative award like offensive MVP, but Smith said he was pleased to see opposing coaches respect Lewis’ game.
“I think that shows great respect from the other coaches in our district,” he said. “We came in sixth place in a seven-team district. That is not something that happens very often, if at all.
“I think what made her special is how hard she worked to get there. She went from being a guard who couldn’t dribble with her left hand to arguably one of the better guards in our district. She had the ball on the string and created well for others. She made the game easier for everyone else.”
In addition to Reed’s newcomer of the year accolade, the Lady Cats snagged three selections on the first team in senior Hanna Robertson, senior Bryanna Williams and junior Emma Burke.
Chauveaux said he strongly believes Robertson should’ve received a superlative award for her efforts this season.
“I think she absolutely deserved a superlative,” he said. “Her stats were deserving. That was really disappointing for me and I’m sure it was disappointing for her. But it’s her third year she got first-team all-district. I guess that just shows consistency in her play. She’s a kid that’s always going to show up, will always be there and will always give everything you have every day. She’s somebody we’re going to miss from a basketball standpoint but more importantly from a leadership standpoint.”
In addition to being a first-team selection the past 3 years, Robertson was also a second-team all-district selection as a freshman. This season, Robertson averaged 12.2 points per game with 2.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.6 steals per game while being a key leader for a young and inexperienced Lady Cat team that reached the area playoffs.
Joining Robertson on the first team are Williams and Burke. Williams averaged 6.2 points, three rebounds, 2.8 steals and 1.4 assists per game while taking on more of a featured role.
“Bryanna has played varsity since her sophomore year but she didn’t get to play a whole lot until last year,” Chauveaux said. “She got second team last year but her role this year for our team really jumped up quite a bit. She had to be more of a leader. She was a senior and we had a lot of freshmen on the team and she had to show them the ropes on the court and in the locker room. Her role really increased. She was a lot more consistent. What she needed to do going into this year was limit her turnovers and she was able to do that and score quite a bit for us. She plays really good defense and always has.”
Burke did a lot of the dirty work — 5.1 points, six rebounds, 1.6 steals per game — for the Lady Cats while also sharing a role with several others at her position.
“Emma was first team last year also,” Chauveaux said. “And she really improved from last year quite a bit. She had more competition for playing time on our team this year but she’s another kid that shows up every day and works as hard as she possibly can. She’s an absolute joy to coach because she’s always wanting to improve and become as good as she possibly can. We had a couple other kids who played that spot so they all fought for playing time.
“I don’t know if that’s her true position really. She likes to step out and shoot it a little too but that’s where we needed her to play this year. That’s one thing about this team is some of them aren’t necessarily playing positions they might in the summer or are used to from younger grades but everybody pretty much says, ‘Whatever you need us to do, we’ll do.’ And she’s definitely one of those. She’s fun to coach. She’s so polite and you couldn’t ask for a better kid.”
Godley also garnered a pair of second-team selections in freshman Trinity Roden and junior Reagan Maxwell. Additionally, Godley freshmen Alyssa Jimenez and Reese Tennery received honorable mention, along with junior Taylor McFarland and senior Mackenzie Mayes. In total, that’s four freshmen who had their name on the all-district list, which bodes well for the future of Lady Cat basketball.
“That’s very exciting,” Chauveaux said. “We’ve got other kids on the team that could’ve just as easily gotten some of those awards. What’s great about a lot of these guys, especially that freshman class, is they play an awful lot. They’re about to start playing right now and they’ll play throughout the summer. They love the game, they work hard and they want to be good. The rest of the guys we have coming back that aren’t freshmen, they have an awful lot of ability. I think everybody’s pretty excited to see what we can do with these guys the next few years.”
Joining Wright on the all-district team for the Lady Indians are junior Jacie McCullough and sophomore Reagan Elmore as first-team selections. McCullough averaged 7.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game while Elmore put up 8.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and two steals per game in helping Alvarado to one of its most successful seasons in recent memory.
“Alvarado hasn’t finished higher than fourth place in over two decades, I believe it was 1999,” Turner said. “Our program has reached a lot of milestones in the past three seasons and I feel due to that, we have gained some respect from our community and fellow opponents. It’s a great feeling; we have come far, yet we have so much work to do. We are going to roll up our sleeves and do just that.
“I am very pleased to see this program on an upward climb with three double-digit win seasons, and two out of the last three seasons at a .500 or better winning percentage. To have six all-district selections, an honorable mention, plus our all-academic kiddos, 100% of our varsity was represented, and you don’t see that very often.”
Second-team accolades for Alvarado include freshman Candra Bridgewater, junior Charmaine Hafford-Robinson and junior Taylor Riley. Natasha Rivera received honorable mention for Alvarado.
“With all nine of our players returning, we are in a great spot,” Turner said. “The girls are buying in and starting to get a little taste of select basketball. When we get a core group playing select and increasing their court time experience and basketball IQ, that’s when we will have a breakthrough season and exceed all expectations. Along with our very talented freshman class, our entire program is young and they have raised the bar. We have some great kiddos and I’m excited for the next 3 years.”
In her comments, Turner emphasized the words ‘push, exceed and climb’ because those have been Alvarado’s ‘season words’ the last 3 years.
Along with Lewis’ offensive MVP honor for Venus, the Lady Bulldogs also had Katelynn Hill receive first-team honors and Jackie Brown garner a second-team nod.
“Katelynn Hill was my 4-foot-11 junior guard,” Smith said. “As a sophomore, she played very limited minutes (maybe 2 minutes a game). She worked hard in the offseason and she showed out this year. She was a strong shooter and a crafty finisher. She was a good player that benefited from the attention Shyann got. Jackie Brown was my 5-foot-5 post. She was a solid rebounder who understood her role with the team. She was always in the mix in every loose ball. She had a few break-out games with some 14-point games. She was someone that excelled in the little things on both offense and defense.”
Honorable mention for Venus include Janessa Medrano and Eva Wilson.