UPPER THUMB — They’re solid, but not superstars.
They’re hard workers, but not hard to work with.
They’re a group of eight players representing seven schools in four conferences.
They’re the members of the 2010-11 All-Huron Daily Tribune Girls Basketball Team — Harbor Beach junior Tori Kraft, Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port senior Taylor Comment, Cass City senior McKensie Parrish, Cass City junior Logan Rowell, Port Hope senior Kayla Gust, Owendale-Gagetown junior Christin Harris, Caseville senior Rebecca Janke and Deckerville senior Shashauna Sampson.
Kraft and Comment are co-captains of the squad, which is voted on by area coaches and the Tribune’s sports staff.
Also, Owen-Gage’s Doug Hyatt earned Coach of the Year honors.
Kraft was arguably the area’s best all-around player this season before an injury sidelined her for the final few games of the year.
To that point, the 5-foot-9 junior guard/forward averaged 16 points, 8.4 rebounds 5.6 assists, 3.6 steals and 2.9 blocks per game for the Pirates.
“Tori was not only looked on to score, but also rebound and distribute the basketball,” said Harbor Beach coach Jim Tamlyn. “She also is a good defender and our leader on and off the floor.”
Kraft went for double figures in 16 of the 18 games she played in, tossing in over 20 points four times.
Kraft, a two-time All-Tribune selection, was a first-team All-Greater Thumb East pick this season.
Comment, a 5-8 point guard, helped the Lakers stay in the race for the GTW title right to the final few games of the season.
Comment averaged 12.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.3 steals. She became more of a ball distributor this season, setting a single-game assist record with 14 against Bay City All Saints. She also broke the single-season assist record with 105 in 22 games.
She still also was among area leaders in three-pointers and free throw percentage.
Comment also ranks among the school’s all-time scorers with 623 career points.
A two-time All-Tribune selection, Comment also was a first-team All-GTW pick this season.
Like Kraft and Comment, Parrish is a repeat All-Tribune selection.
The 5-3 guard was a menace on both sides of the ball for the Red Hawks.
“She’s a tough, tough competitor,” said Cass City coach Lloyd Schinnerer. “She always was assigned to the opponent’s best guard. And she improved her three-point game from a year ago, as well as her free throws.”
Parrish averaged 9.9 points, 1.8 assists and 1.6 steals this season. Her top scoring effort came in a 20-point outburst against BCAS, draining three three-pointers and hitting 9-of-12 from the foul line.
Parrish also earned first-team All-GTW honors this season.
Parrish had a superb complement in the paint with teammate Rowell, a 5-11 forward/center who saved some of her best play for the latter part of the season.
“Logan started slowly this year, but the final two-thirds of the year she was much more aggressive scoring and rebounding,” Schinnerer said.
Rowell’s best game might have been the district opener against Bad Axe, when she poured in a season-high 27 points, including 9-of-10 from the foul line. She also had a 23-point, 14-rebound effort against Kingston late in the year.
Overall, Rowell averaged 10 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.9 blocks.
An honorable mention All-Tribune pick a season ago, Rowell was a first-team All-GTW selection this season.
Gust excelled under first-year Port Hope coach Marilee Schock, averaging 11 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals.
“I have coached many student-athletes over the years, but consider it to be a privilege to have coached Kayla,” Schock said. “She is what we all want our student-athletes to model. She is a leader that is willing to do whatever it takes for her team to be successful.”
Gust was among area leaders in three-pointers and free throw percentage. She drained three or more three-pointers in five games, including a 19-point, four three-pointer effort in the districts against Caseville.
Gust, a second-team All-Tribune pick last season, was a first-team All-North Central Thumb League North Division selection this year.
Like Gust, Janke, a 5-6 guard/forward, was a second-team All-Tribune pick a season ago for Caseville, but made major improvements in her play in 2010-11.
She was the only player in the Tribune coverage area to average a double-double, going for 13.8 points and 11.0 rebounds per game. She also averaged 1.8 assists and 2.6 steals.
“She’s one of the most versatile players I have ever coached,” said Caseville coach Brian Siegfried. “She can play every position on the floor and gives 100 percent every time she steps on the court.”
She had season-highs of 26 points against Port Hope and 20 rebounds against Owen-Gage.
“Rebecca has tremendous court presence,” Siegfried said. “She makes adjustments on the fly and is a leader on the floor.”
Janke also earned first-team All-NCTL North Division honors this year.
Sampson is one of the NCTL’s top all-around female athletes, having earned all-league honors in basketball, volleyball and track.
This season, Sampson, a 5-4 guard, helped guide the Eagles to a Class D district championship, averaging 10.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 3.2 steals.
“Shashauna was our sparkplug,” said Deckerville coach Pat Oswald. “She can take you to the hole, or she could spot up for a three-pointer. Don’t let her size fool you. She liked to drive inside amongst the bigs.”
Sampson, a first-team All-NCTL South Division pick, also was among the area leaders in free throw shooting at over 70 percent.
Harris, a 5-8 forward, became one of the area’s most electrifying scorers for the Bulldogs. Her marquee performance came late in the season when she went off for 35 points, including eight three-pointers, in a NCTL North Division title-clinching victory over North Huron.
Harris averaged 11.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.8 steals for the Bulldogs.
“She stays after practice every night and works hard,” said Owen-Gage coach Doug Hyatt. “She also works with sixth- and seventh-graders on Saturday mornings.”
Harris led the area in three-pointers, dropping in three or more 10 times during the regular season.
An honorable mention All-Tribune pick a season ago, Harris earned first-team All-NCTL North Division honors this year.
Hyatt’s Owen-Gage team wasn’t expected to contend for a title this season, but the Bulldogs wound up securing a share of the NCTL North Division crown for the first time since 2002. Later, the Bulldogs won a Class D district title — the first time in 28 years that Owen-Gage won league and district championships in the same season.
Owen-Gage finished 13-9 overall.
The All-Tribune second team is made up of Bad Axe’s Taylor Breault and Justine Morneau, Deckerville’s Mandy Nichol, EPBP’s Kayla Deering, North Huron’s Sara Clancy, Owen-Gage’s Amanda Muntz and Kayla Montreuil, Port Hope’s Kristen Kowaleski, Ubly’s Jessica Gracey and Unionville-Sebewaing Area’s Miranda Fuerst.
|CO-CAPTAIN – EPBP’s Taylor Comment|
|CO-CAPTAIN – Harbor Beach’s Tori Kraft|
|CASS CITY’S LOGAN ROWELL|
|PORT HOPE’S KAYLA GUST (31)|
|CASS CITY’S MCKENSIE PARRISH|
|OWEN-GAGE’S CHRISTIN HARRIS|
|CASEVILLE’S REBECCA JANKE|
|DECKERVILLE’S SHASHAUNA SAMPSON|