ADDISON COUNTY — As Yogi Berra would say, it was déjà vu all over again for girls’ basketball in Addison County.
And not only because the Mount Abraham Union High School girls again went undefeated in Division II on the way to a repeat title, but also because senior Ashlie Fay earned a rare three-peat: Fay is for the third time the Addison Independent Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year.
Of course, Coach Connie LaRose’s 19-4 Eagles had far more than Fay on their roster: Three of her teammates join her on the 2014 Addison Independent Girls’ Basketball All-Star Team.
Coach Steve Keith’s Otter Valley girls are also well represented on the Independent team. Three seniors who helped the Otters finish strong and earn a home D-II playoff game and a 10-11 record earned recognition here. Special mention goes to senior Jessica Frazier, who likely would make this team, too, if not for a season-ending injury suffered in OV’s opener.
Coach Billy Waller’s Vergennes squad won seven times and showed promise for the coming years. A junior guard and senior forward are honored on the Independent team.
Coach Jen Heath’s first year leading the MUHS girls resulted in just one win with an inexperienced roster, but the team remained positive and focused. A senior Tiger guard merited Independent recognition.
Selections were made based on observation, statistics and consultation with the coaches. Congratulations to the following:
ASHLIE FAY, MOUNT ABE SENIOR, PLAYER OF THE YEAR. Notes: Concluded her four-year varsity career in style, leading all local players with averages of 13.0 points, 5.5 steals and 4.9 assists while adding 4.1 rebounds per game … Athletic, unselfish versatile player who can line up at guard or forward, plays both ends of the court, and makes her teammates better … Helped lead the Eagles to two titles and four championship game appearances and a 75-17 record in four years, scoring 977 points, snaring 370 boards, grabbing 406 steals and assisting 373 baskets … Two-time Lake Division Player of the Year.
LaRose’s Quotes: “She gave everybody on the team opportunities to be better because she attracted a lot of attention … She’s a terrific athlete … She got to the rim, and the ability to do that is a key thing … She did what she needed to do throughout the season to help our team win a second state championship … Because of her length, her leaping ability and athleticism, she wreaked havoc. She picked off a ton of passes … It’s been really a great thing to just watch her grow as a player and know how much she invested in improving, and know how much she wanted it not only for herself, but for team goals.”
MEGHAN LIVINGSTON, MOUNT ABE SENIOR. Notes: Smart, speedy and skilled guard who again this season helped the Eagles across the board by averaging 10.0 points, 3.0 steals, 2.5 assists and 2.0 rebounds … Fine defender, ballhandler and shooter and poised player who handles pressure well … Can hit from three-point range or finish on the break … Set the tone for the Eagles with her work ethic and composure.
LaRose’s Quotes: “In a word, she’s consistent. You know you are going to get your 10 or 12 points. You know you’re going to get your good defense. You know she’s going to be one of your good ballhandlers … She’s got a great attitude. With Meg there’s never a change in expression … She’s the kind of player you enjoy having for every minute of every practice … She always, always led by example.”
BRITTANY BUSHEY, OV SENIOR. Notes: Fast, athletic guard who stepped up her offensive game this year to lead OV in scoring at 7.05 points per game and assists at 2.4 per game … Also keyed the OV defense by handling tough assignments … Led the D-I/II South team at the annual coaches’ all-star game with nine points … Joined with other seniors to overcome the winter’s adversity and create a positive atmosphere and strong finish.
Keith’s Quotes: “She had the toughest job defensively every game. That was something she did with a smile on her face … Her offense really came around … She always worked hard. She always put it in the effort… We always knew what we were going to get each game from her. She was going to play great defense, and she was going to hit some shots.”
K.C. AMBROSE, VUHS JUNIOR. Notes: Offensive and defensive sparkplug who was the Commodores’ most indispensable player … Fine ballhandler who has good floor vision and led VUHS with 2.3 assists per game … Scored 5.7 points per game, adding 1.8 steals and — at an even five feet toll — grabbed 4.0 boards a game and often played under the basket on defense.
Waller’s Quotes: “She was a solid contributor all year … She helped our team handle pressure defenses better than we have in the past … She was at her best in the fourth quarter of close ball games and was a reliable foul shooter … She showed a great deal of improvement getting into the lane … If I take her off the court we’re in a little bit of trouble.”
ISABEL BRENNAN, MOUNT ABE JUNIOR. Notes: Strong six-footer in the middle who averaged 9.1 points and 5.6 rebounds … Has a nice touch around the basket and with her jump shot … Sees the floor and moves the ball well from her post position … Can run the floor and finish on the break … Made steady improvement at the defensive end … Again played well in Barre, scoring 26 points in two games.
LaRose’s Quotes: “Isabel is just beginning to come into it as a basketball player … She’s developed a really sweet little six-to-eight-foot shot … She’s a good passer … Defensively, she showed some improvement, being more active around the rim … She’s a great kid to coach … She’s been very receptive … She’s a hard worker.”
SAM DRISCOLL, MOUNT ABE SENIOR. Notes: Talented, fast all-around player who can shoot, pass and defend … Averaged 7.6 points and 2.0 assists … On offense, effective in the halfcourt with three-point range and adept in transition … Defensively worked well in the press and in the Eagles’ 3-2 zone.
LaRose’s Quotes: “Clearly, Sam is an athlete, and a good one … She showed a lot of improvement in all areas of her game, especially defense … I think she really began to understand what the coaches were talking about on defense … She was key for us in all of our tough games … When she was on, she was really on.”
HANNAH HOBBS, MUHS SENIOR. Notes: Skilled, well-rounded player who scored 6.3 points per game for a team that averaged 19.0 per contest and added 2.3 rebounds per outing … Shooter with three-point range and a strong ballhandler with either hand … Solid on-ball defender and smart team defender … Leader who helped keep the team on an even keel through a challenging campaign.
Heath’s Quotes: “Hannah is a good all-around player. She works hard ... She’s a great defender. She always guards one of the best players on the other team ... When we needed a basket we could always count on her ... She mixes her game up with her outside shot as well as taking it to the hoop … Hannah is a great player to coach, a great leader on the court.”
OLIVIA BLOOMER, OV SENIOR. Notes: Versatile small forward with a knack for doing the little things that help teams win games … Averaged 5.9 points and 6.5 rebounds despite being hampered with a sore knee, especially early on … At five-six, had a knack for successfully defending taller players as well as rebounding … Good passer and ballhandler with nice touch on her jump shot.
Keith’s Quotes: “She was just a player on the floor … She makes the right play all the time … She does a lot of stuff that doesn’t make it to the score sheet … She played very well in the playoffs … She really brings those intangibles … We noticed the difference when she wasn’t playing.”
TAYLOR AINES, OV SENIOR. Notes: Good ballhandler, passer and shooter whose competitive nature helped set the tone for the Otters … Averaged 6.7 points and 2.2 assists per game … Has three-point range and sees the floor well … Determined defender with a positive attitude.
Keith’s Quotes: “She came up with some big shots all year … She handled the ball real well ... She always wanted the ball when the pressure was on … She’s just a real tough kid … She’s a hard, hard worker … She played very well defensively. She puts a lot of pressure on the ball … Her desire to win was one thing that always stood out.”
TAYLOR PAQUETTE, VUHS SENIOR. Notes: Adapted her game to the inside and became a strong presence in the paint with 5.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game … Had a local high of 20 rebounds vs. Harwood … Solid defender with good shooting range who improved her ability to take the ball to the basket.
Waller’s Quotes: “She carried us through the beginning of the season with her scoring and rebounding … She could play inside and take her defender to the perimeter to knock down outside shots … Taylor often drew the assignment of covering the opposition’s best forward.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at email@example.com.