Guards are becoming more vital as basketball has evolved into a perimeter-oriented game. The trickle-down effect seems to have touched the 5-6 grade elementary girls league.
Great shooters, strong ball handlers and defensive menaces at the guard position littered the Southern Standard all-county first team. The team includes Sable Winfree from WCMS, Centertown’s Kennedi Pegg, Morrison guard Lilly Cantrell, and the league’s top two scorers, Lily Rains (Dibrell) and Brianna Taylor (Hickory Creek).
Winfree encompasses all the qualities of a great guard. In helping the Lady Pioneers to an unbeaten 8-0 regular season, Winfree was her team’s leading scorer (10.5 points per game) and was among the team leaders in assists, steals and rebounds.
Winfree enters this week’s county tournament (starting Monday at WCMS, see more on 2B) playing her best ball. The slick shooting Lady Pioneer scored a season-high 16 points Thursday to help Warren County down Dibrell 46-15.
While Winfree’s team enters the tournament unbeaten and in sole possession of their division title, it took until the last day of the season to determine the league’s second division champion.
A fierce battle for first place in the girls B division ensued between Morrison and Centertown, culminating Friday when the Lady Warriors slammed Morrison 30-12 in front of the student body.
At the center of the deciding victory was Pegg, who scored a season-high 13 points to upend the Lady Eagles. Pegg is a key cog for Centertown, which will enter the tournament on an eight-game winning streak.
Morrison was the last team to beat the Lady Warriors – thanks in large part to Cantrell.
The Lady Eagle guard scored a game-high nine points in a 25-22 December victory. Cantrell followed by scoring in double figures three times, her best coming Jan. 29 when she scored 15 in a 43-21 win over Irving College.
Double figures was a near nightly occurrence when Rains took the court for the Lady Wildcats. The league’s leading scorer at 12.8 points per game, Rains was the perfect barometer for Dibrell. Her team was 6-0 when she scored 10 points or more, but 0-3 when she didn’t reach double digits.
Rains had her best night Thursday while taking on Hickory Creek. Rains hit for 22 points, matching the Lady Hawks on her own in a 45-22 victory.
On the other side, Hickory Creek was relying on its own do-it-all guard.
Taylor scored 14 of her team’s points in the Dibrell loss, one of seven times she reached double figures. Taylor was the team’s leading scorer in all nine games and finished with 100 of her team’s 134 points this season.
The second team includes Bella Stiles and Ava Jones (Boyd), Paige Sweeton (WCMS), Krista Chisam (Centertown) and Brooklyn Wanamaker (Irving College).