PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Senior guard Kourtney Weber was the main cog in Ursuline Academy’s offense that won a district and select Division II championship. The Florida State signee was named the LHSAA Division II Most Valuable Player. Weber, who missed her entire junior campaign because of an ACL injury, was named MVP of the 2016 Class 4A championship game as a sophomore.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Under Andrea Williams’ leadership, Ursuline Academy swept through its District 10-3A schedule and the Division II playoffs to claim its second title in three years. Williams’ team posted a final record of 26-4 and a 70-43 rout of Lee Magnet in the championship game.
By Ron Brocato, Clarion Herald
That may have been so before Baylor retired in 1971 after 16 incredible years and 23,000 points, but the game has since changed.
The guards have taken over at every level.
And that’s certainly true for high school basketball among Catholic schools where point and shooting guards generate most of the offense.
Of the 11 players chosen for the 2018 Clarion Herald Elite Girls’ Basketball Team, just one – Ursuline Academy’s 6-3 junior center Kennedi Jackson – is not a guard.
The best of the crop is 5-10 senior Kourtney Weber, who led that Ursuline team to the Division II championship for the second time in three years. The Florida State signee has been twice named the LHSAA tournament’s Most Valuable player, in Class 4A (2016) and Division II (2018).
Weber earned the honor as the Elite Team’s Player of the Year after coming back strong from an ACL tear that cost the veteran her junior season.
Ursuline’s head coach Andrea Williams is the Elite Team’s Coach of the Year, an honor she also received a year ago.
The Lions roared to a 26-4 record and defeated four playoff opponents by an average of 28 points per game. That included a demonstrative 70-43 victory over Lee Magnet in the Division II championship game.
Ursuline provided three players to the Elite Team. Joining Weber is another guard, senior Giordin Johnson, and Jackson.
Johnson is one of five players to be named to the 2017 team as well. The others are St. Mary’s Academy freshman sensation Tomyree Thompson, Rayven Patin of Cabrini, Claire Schmitt of St. Scholastica and Anoush Stamm of Archbishop Chapelle.
Thompson made the team as an eighth-grader last season then led the Cougars to three playoff wins this past season.
Patin, a solid guard for three seasons, is joined by her Cabrini teammate Brionne Woods, a junior who contributed to the Crescents’ District 10-4A championship team. Cabrini won nine of its last 11 games, behind the two veteran guards.
Sophomore Tyra Vaughn, who was named the Division III MVP at the state tournament, led St. Katharine Drexel Prep to a heart-stopping 43-42 win over St. Mary’s in the finals.
Sophomore Kylie Barré was Dominican’s sparkplug on a team that made it to the Division I semifinals, and Jordan Berry, a junior, was the top player for Mount Carmel Academy.
Anoush Stamm, Chapelle, Senior
Rayven Patin, Cabrini, Senior
Tomyree Thompson, St. Mary’s, Fresh.
Jordan Berry, Mount Carmel, Junior
Kylie Barré, Dominican, Sophomore
Giordin Johnson, Ursuline, Senior
Claire Schmitt, St. Scholastica, Senior
Tyra Vaughn, Drexel Prep, Sophomore
Brionne Woods, Cabrini, Junior
Kennedi Jackson, Ursuline, Junior