Washington's Kimball named Southeast Conference Co-Player of the Year
After leading Washington to a second-straight Southeast Conference championship, Washington senior Lauren Kimball was named the league’s Co-Player of the Year when the All-Southeast Conference girls’ basketball teams were released on Wednesday.
Kimball, who earned all-conference honorable mention last season as a junior, shared the league’s Player of the Year award with Keokuk senior Rachel Dunlap. Kimball was among the league leaders in several statistical categories, ranking fourth in scoring (11.6 points per game), tying for sixth in steals (15) and tying for the league lead in assists (16). The 5-foot-7 point guard helped the Demons to a 6-2 mark in the Southeast Conference and a 14-8 record overall.
Kimball was the first Washington player to win the award since Cassey Sobaski was named the SEC Player of the Year in 2010.
“That’s a huge honor for a kid who put a lot of extra time in,” Washington head coach Phil Long said. “She played AAU ball in the summer and she put in a lot of extra time in the gym with her dad. And she was the decider in a lot of our games. I think it was well deserved, and equally so for Rachel Dunlap. To be considered in that company is quite an honor.”
Fairfield senior Sidney Baumann, Keokuk sophomore Lakyn Boltz, Mt. Pleasant junior Taryne Shull and Mt. Pleasant sophomore Kelsi Phipps joined Kimball and Dunlap on the all-conference first team.
Junior Stephanie Fishback and senior Johannah Vittetoe were second team all-conference selections for the Demons.
Fishback, a 5-foot-8 guard, was also among the league leaders in several statistical categories, ranking eighth in scoring (8.6 points per game), second in steals (21) and tied for third in blocked shots (6).
Vittetoe, a 5-foot-10 forward, averaged 5.4 points per game during league play, and her 4.4 rebounds per game ranked ninth in the conference.
“Steph Fishback not only scored eight points a night for us, but she was also assigned the other team’s best player to shut them down,” Long said. “Johannah was a dominant defensive post player for us who allowed us to win a conference title. I think both of those kids were recognized for their defensive contributions as much as anything else.”
Keokuk sophomore Bella Lozano-Dobbs, Keokuk freshman Paige Kayvan, Fairfield junior Hannah Greiner and Mt. Pleasant sophomore Natalie Ita joined Fishback and Vittetoe on the all-conference second team.
Eight Demons — seniors Beth Dillon, Sammy Ellingson, Mariah Reighard, Natalee Enfield and Olivia Hartzler and juniors Grace Redlinger, Dema Giardino and Addie Shive — received all-conference honorable mention. Dillon, a 5-foot-10 forward, averaged 6.1 points per game, and her 4.9 rebounds ranked seventh in the league. Ellingson, a 5-foot-6 guard/forward, contributed 3.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. Reighard, a 5-foot-6 guard/forward, chipped in 2.1 points per game off the Demon bench. Enfield, a 5-foot-4 guard, scored five points in league play, while Hartzler, a 5-foot-9 forward, scored two points. Redlinger, a 5-foot-6 guard, scored 5.8 points per game and her 15 steals tied for sixth in the league. Giardino, a 5-foot-7 backup point guard, scored 3.4 points per game, and Shive, a 5-foot-9 forward, chipped in 2.4 points per game off the bench.
“I truly believe when I played 10 or 11 kids and for our seven seniors to have put in as much work as they have over their four years that they deserve that recognition,” Long said.