Stephenville High School senior Jayci Morton has been selected as co-Most Valuable Player and sophomore teammate Alee McClendon is the Defensive MVP in voting by the District 7-4A girls basketball coaches released this week.
Also among the superlatives, veteran SHS head coach Alan Thorpe was named as the district’s Coach of the Year. He guided the Honeybees to the district title, a 25-8 overall record and a berth in the regional quarterfinal round of the playoffs.
Other Honeybees on the first-team all-district list are 5-7 senior guard Hannah Bernays and 5-5 sophomore guard Kassidy Nowak.
The other starting member of the SHS squad, senior guard Madison Gilder, earned a spot on the all-district second team.
The girls all-district names were released after Stephenville, the last of the 7-4A playoff teams remaining in the playoffs, was eliminated Tuesday in the regional quarterfinal (third) round with a loss to Argyle. Glen Rose, Brownwood and Godley all lost in the first round.
Morton, an all-state performer as a sophomore who started four years, reached 1,001 points for her varsity career when she hit her final field goal as a high school player late in Tuesday’s loss to Argyle.
The 5-10 Morton, a forward, has signed to play basketball for Tarleton State University. She averaged 9.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game for the 2018-2019 season. Morton led the starters at the free throw line, making 72.7 percent. This marked her third consecutive season being a first-team all-district choice.
McClendon, a 5-11 sophomore post, led SHS in scoring with an average of 10.4 points per game, hitting 63.3 percent of her shots. She also was the top rebounder with an average of 7.4 per contest. She has been a key player for the Honeybees ever since being moved up to the varsity from the JV squad in time for district play her freshman year, when she was voted as Sixth Player of the Year.
Morton was named co-MVP of the district, along with junior guard Hailey Ibarra of Glen Rose. McClendon got the Defensive MVP honor all to herself.
“I thought (the superlative awards McClendon and Morton won) were well-deserved,” Thorpe said. “I thought they had a great year, and they earned that. I’m proud of them.”
Bernays was the team’s third-leading scorer with 8.3 points per game, including 70 percent shooting at the free throw line.
Gilder scored 6.2 points per game, and made 67.8 percent of her free throws.
Nowak led the Honeybees in steals, with an average of 2.1 per outing, scored 6.2 points a game and added an average of 1.7 assists.
As for his Coach of the Year honor, Thorpe said, “It’s nice. That award really shouldn’t go to me, it should go to the staff. I thought they earned it as a staff.”
Thorpe’s assistant coaches for the girls varsity are Kristi Mayes and Mike Fowler. Thorpe has had two stints as head coach of the SHS girls, and has made the playoffs 18 out of 19 seasons. He posted his 500th win as a girls basketball coach in December of 2017.
Girls All-District 7-4A Basketball
Co-Most Valuable Players — Jayci Morton, sr., Stephenville; Hailey Ibarra, jr., Glen Rose.
Defensive MVP — Alee McClendon, soph., Stephenville.
Coach of the Year — Alan Thorpe, Stephenville.
Offensive MVP — Madi Maxwell, Godley, sr.
Newcomer of the Year — Matyha Thompson, jr., Brownwood.
Sixth Player of the Year — Ryleigh Dalleh, sr., Brownwood.
Kassidy Nowak, jr., Stephenville; Hannah Bernays, sr., Stephenville; Collie Keller, sr., Glen Rose; Hanna Robertson, soph., Godley; Brei Ruelas, sr., Mineral Wells; Mallory Garcia, sr., Brownwood; Kenya Barnes, jr., Brownwood.
Madison Gilder, sr., Stephenville; Bree Baker, jr., Rose Rose; Kora Dodson, jr., Glen Rose; Hazel Hawkins, fr., Glen Rose; Mallory Maxwell, fr., Godley; Jaime Babbe, soph., Godley; Hadley Monroe, jr. Brownwood.