CUMBERLAND — One player doesn’t make an entire team, but one player can make the difference between being unranked or finishing somewhere in the poll as the five-member 2013 Cumberland Times-News All-Area Girls Basketball Team was constructed with one girl from each of the schools that finished in the Times-News Top 5 poll.
Area Co-Players of the Year Alesha Jackson, of Fort Hill, and Mountain Ridge’s Shae Winner lead a class of four seniors and one junior on this year’s first-team. While most of the players on the team have the experience learned by being a senior, only one player, Winner, has the experience of being a repeat selection after being voted first-team last season as a junior.
The Times-News All-Area team and Player of the Year Awards are voted on by the head coaches of school’s within the Times-News coverage area. This year 12 coaches were supplied nominations and 11 returned ballots.
Winner and Jackson earned Player of the Year honors after each received three votes apiece, but neither received the highest-overall vote total. The honor was reserved for Allegany’s Courtney Landis by appearing on all but one ballot and receiving 18 of a possible 22 points. Jackson got the second-most votes, settling in with 16, while Winner finished with 15. Frankfort’s Mikala Miller and Alicia Roth, of area champion Southern, also collected 15 votes to close out the selections for the first team.
Junior Sarah Raines (Mountain Ridge) was the first girl selected to the second teamfor the second straight year and Keyser senior Carly Grady followed up a first-team selection as a junior with a second-team selection this season. Appalachian Mountain Athletic Conference Player of the Year Hannah Horne served as the Rams’ second-team selection and Kirsten Rayner served as Northern’s representative. Sarah Lowery, a junior from Fort Hill, rounds out the second team.
A four-year member of the Miners’ varsity team, Winner has spent the last three years as one of the area’s finest inside forces. She pushed Mountain Ridge to a second-place finish in the area Top 5.
After averaging 15.1 points and 9.6 rebounds as a junior, Winner returned to put up 12.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 1.4 assists during her senior campaign. She improved on her foul shooting from the 11th grade, making 62.1 percent (64-103) of her free throws after converting 58.8 percent last season.
After scoring a school-record 40 points in a game last season against Hampshire, Winner continued to shine this year against the Trojans by scoring a season-best 25 in a 12-point Mountain Ridge win. She started the season with 22 points in a win over Fort Hill.
More on Winner appeared in Thursday’s edition of the Times-News.
Jackson led Fort Hill to the No. 3 spot in the Times-News poll, and finished as the area’s second-leading scorer after she put together 323 points in 21 games for an average of 15.4.
She began the season with 18 points against Mountain Ridge and scored in double-digits in her first eight games. After being held to single digits, she went on to score at least 10 points in her next seven outings. She finished the second run with her best performance of the year, a 30-point effort against Southern.
Jackson spent three years on the varsity and helped the Sentinels to Maryland 1A Region, 1A Section and area champions as a junior.
More on Jackson appeared in Thursday’s edition of the Times-News.
As the first team’s only junior, Roth didn’t show any signs of inexperience by averaging 12.4 points and 4.9 rebounds over 25 games.
She played an integral part in helping her Rams to a 22-3 record and championships of the AMAC, and of the Maryland 1A West Section and Region.
Southern’s Head Coach Danny Bosley was impressed with Roth’s progress and hopes it continues into her senior campaign.
“Alicia is the most improved player I have ever coached. In just one off season she worked especially hard on her ball handling, shooting, foot work, and other skills to get to where she’s at.”
Roth started the season with what would turn out to be her highest point total of the year, but it was far from downhill for the remainder of the season. She would score in double figures in 18 of her 25 games, scoring at least 20 on two occasions.
Of players with at least 20 attempts, Roth finished as the third-best shooter in the area by making 80.3 percent (49-for-61).
“Alicia never complains, she takes a task and works to master it,” said Bosley. “I look forward to coaching her next season and I hope she will have another successful year.”
Frankfort’s biggest offensive weapon over the last few seasons, Miller finished eighth in the area in scoring with 315 points in 25 games for an average of 12.6.
“For the past four years Mikala has been known for her ability to score,” said Mike Orndorf. “What she has done this year was exactly what the team needed ... she became a defender.”
Miller, who helped the Falcons to the No. 4 spot in the Times-News poll, finished her final year at Frankfort by averaging 4.7 rebounds and 1.0 steals a game.
“On offense she would usually draw the other team’s best defender which would make her work very hard to get open and find shots, and then she would go to the other end of the floor and play defense on one of the other teams post players,” added Orndorf.
Miller spent most of the year scoring in double figures getting at least 10 points in 21 games. She maxed out with 24 points against rival Keyser and also scored 22 against the Rams.
By averaging 13.5 points, 4.0 steals, 3.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds, Allegany’s Landis proved herself capable of just about anything on the court.
“Courtney is one of the most dynamic players we’ve had at Allegany,” said Landis’ head coach Jim O’Neal Jr. “Her ability to impact the game on both ends of the floor helped make her one of the area’s top players. She led our team in just about every offensive category and her defensive ability allowed her to set a school record with 11 steals in one game.”
Being able to do a little of everything helped Landis receive the most total points of any girl on the coaches’ ballot.
The area’s fourth leading scorer at 13.7 points a game, Landis scored in the 20’s on three different occasions for the Campers. She had at least 10 points in 19 of her 23 games to help the Campers secure the No. 5 spot in the Times-News poll.
She scored her season-high of 23 points against Musselman and then again against Fort Hill.
“Courtney earned the respect of all of the coaches she worked with in our basketball program. We could always count on her leadership, work ethic, and energy at every practice and every game.
“Those characteristics played a key role in helping us become a strong team by the end of the season and will be something we refer to when we talk with future players about our expectations.”
Chris Appel is a writer for the Times-News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.