Journal-World’s 2018-19 All-Area girls basketball team

All Area girls basketball team members are pictured from left: Anna Soetaert, Tonganoxie, Caely Kesten, Free State, Shannon Clarke, Free State, Hannah Stewart, Lawrence High, player of the year Chishom Ajekwu, Lawrence High, coach of the year Richard Ebel, Eudora, Riley Hiebert, Eudora, Harper Schreiner, Eudora, Jenna Keller, Perry-Lecompton, Macey Frost, Baldwin, Kayla Kurtz, Baldwin.

Player of the Year: Chisom Ajekwu, Lawrence

No player in the area received more attention from opposing defenses than Ajekwu. The 6-foot-3 center still managed to finish second in the Sunflower League in scoring with an average of 16.2 points per game and led the league in rebounding with 11.0 rebounds per contest. Ajekwu, a KU signee, put up these numbers despite having multiple players guarding her at all times in her final season.

Coach of the Year: Richard Ebel, Eudora

The Cardinals punched their ticket to the state tournament for the first time in 10 years. Eudora eventually was eliminated in the opening round of the state tournament, finishing with a 16-6 record. EHS has now posted back-to-back winning seasons after not doing so since 2009.

First team

Shannon Clarke, Free State — To follow up a strong rookie season, Clarke had an even better sophomore campaign. The 6-foot-0 wing led the team in scoring with an average of 12.9 points per game to go along with 7.0 rebounds per contest. Clarke, who was named to the All-Sunflower League third team, averaged 2.3 steals per contest.

Macey Frost, Baldwin — The senior sharpshooter was a big reason why the Bulldogs notched their fourth state berth in the past five years. Frost averaged 13.5 points per game, and hit a school-record 82 3-pointers this past season. Frost also set a team record for most 3-pointers in a single game, nailing seven triples during a midseason tournament.

Riley Hiebert, Eudora — The Cardinals leaned on athletic playmakers in transition this season, and Hiebert was a big part of that attack. Hiebert averaged 15.9 points and 3.0 steals per contest, shooting 55 percent from the floor. The junior guard hit double figures in 16 games, including a season-best performance of 29 points.

Jenna Keller, Perry-Lecompton — Fully embracing the concept of being a team player, Keller unselfishly played both as a guard and a post depending on what PLHS asked of her. Keller, a three-year starter for the Kaws, averaged 9.7 points and 2.5 assists per game in her junior campaign.

Caely Kesten, Free State — The junior point guard was dynamic with the ball this past winter for the Firebirds. Kesten averaged 10.8 points and 3.5 assists per game, setting a school record with 12 assists during Free State’s win over Gardner Edgerton. Kesten was also a second-team selection in the Sunflower League.

Kayla Kurtz, Baldwin — Kurtz has been a familiar face on these all-area teams throughout her Baldwin career due to her athletic ability. The senior guard averaged 11.6 points and 2.7 steals per game for the Bulldogs, making plays in transition on a consistent basis. Kurtz was also named to the first team All-Frontier League.

Harper Schreiner, Eudora — In her first season at the high school level, Schreiner embraced an important role in Eudora’s offense. As the starting point guard, Schreiner averaged 10.0 points and 5.0 assists per game. Schreiner also posted an average of 6.5 rebounds and 3.0 steals per contest during her freshman season.

Anna Soetaert, Tonganoxie — One of the toughest players in the area had to overcome an ankle sprain, which forced Soetaert to miss nine games in her senior season. Soetaert still showed signs of improvement, averaging 5.3 points and 3.0 assists per game this year. Soetaert accounted for half of Tonganoxie’s points via scoring or assists on a nightly basis.

Hannah Stewart, Lawrence — Few players had as much of an impact on their program as Stewart did for the Lions. The senior point guard was the heart and soul of the team throughout her career. Stewart, a three-sport athlete, averaged 8.0 points, 3.7 assists and 4.0 rebounds per outing in her final season on the hardwood.

Honorable mention

Reagan Hiebert, Eudora; Haley Hippe, Free State; Katy Hurd, Perry-Lecompton; Sam Lawrence, Free State; Megan Martinez, Tonganoxie; Kate Ogle, Baldwin; Mo Wetta, Tonganoxie; Sammy Williams, Lawrence.


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