No all-state honors? No matter.
There’s just no room on the all-state teams for teamwork, it seems.
Mid-Prairie and Washington were two of the area’s best girls’ basketball teams this season. Both were very similar in style, using tough defense and a selfless approach to win a lot of games. The Golden Hawks reached the state tournament in Class 3A, and the Demons fell one game short of a trip to state in Class 4A, losing to the eventual state champion in the regional final. Both teams were ranked among the top 15 in the state in their respective classes for much of the season.
Yet neither squad had a player selected to either the Iowa Newspaper Association or Iowa Girls’ Coaches Association all-state teams.
The two teams had such balance that no one individual player stood out. The Golden Hawks, who finished 18-7 after a loss to MOC-Floyd Valley in the state quarterfinals, had six players average more than four points per game. Senior Mariah Swartzentruber led Mid-Prairie with 10.2 points per game, and senior Mallory McArtor added 9.6 points per contest. Six different players led the Golden Hawks in scoring during a game this season.
Washington, which finished 14-8 this year, didn’t have a player average double figures in scoring, but had seven average over three points per game. Senior Lauren Kimball was the team’s leading scorer with 8.4 points per game, but she erupted for a career-high 24 points in a 60-57 overtime win at Mt. Pleasant on Jan. 4. She also had 21 in a win at Durant on Dec. 11 and 21 in a win over Mt. Pleasant at home on Feb. 8. Kimball was named the Southeast Conference’s co-Player of the Year with Keokuk’s Rachel Dunlap, who was a IGCA all-state first team selection. Meanwhile, Kimball didn’t even sneak onto the third team. Go figure.
These teams were a coach’s dream. The Golden Hawks and the Demons valued teamwork and success over individual accolades this season. The players on both teams didn’t seem to care who scored. Winning was the only thing that mattered.
Several players who earned Class 3A and 4A all-state honors were members of teams with records of .500 or below. The Golden Hawks and Demons would probably all trade any individual accolades they could have received for the seasons they just experienced.