PLAY­ERS: Ath­letes Catch Writer’s At­ten­tion

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - SPORTS -

only and to give “our play­ers” some well- de­served love.

Col­lege coaches won’t stop re­cruit­ing a player just be­cause they didn’t make this list, so no harm, no foul.

These are the play­ers who caught my at­ten­tion dur­ing the lim­ited amount of time I was able to fol­low the games.

I truly hope no one takes these as se­ri­ously as I did while try­ing to make them as fair as pos­si­ble, but also mak­ing them as ac­cu­rate as pos­si­ble.

Only a few teams pub­lish stats on­line, so I didn’t get to com­pare re­bounds per game or as­sist-to-turnover ra­tios or any­thing like that.

If I had to coach a team, I would be­gin my boys squad with Farm­ing­ton’s Matt Wil­son and my girls squad with Farm­ing­ton’s Tori Ham­ley.

That’s es­sen­tially how I chose the teams. I imag­ined coach­ing a team — mi­nus deal­ing with any “he­li­copter par­ents” — and se­lected the play­ers I be­lieve gave my team the best chance to win.

Now, there are many strong play­ers that did not make the squads or earn any awards. The depth of Prairie Grove’s girls alone made the girls selections a tad lop­sided.

Just to note, I could make an ar­gu­ment for a cou­ple of Lady Tigers who didn’t make the team, too.

Out of the six girls and boys teams in the WCEL cov­er­age area, only Prairie Grove’s girls fin­ished with a win­ning record.

That’s why I de­bated with my­self — and other bas­ket­ball folks I ran into around town — about pick­ing a Prairie Grove player as the All-WCEL Player of the Year. But who? The Hartins are dy­na­mite play­ers, but which twin was the team’s Player of the Year?

Mat­tie Hartin av­er­aged more points (11.9 per game) than Tay­lor (9.7), but Tay­lor seemed to hit a 3 or make a key play mul­ti­ple times through­out the post­sea­son that I’m not sure I wouldn’t have picked Tay­lor ahead of Mat­tie for POTY.

I ac­tu­ally be­gan with the sis­ters listed as “Co-POTYs,” but have never been a fan of that ei­ther.

That’s why I was glad when I took a closer look at what Ham­ley meant to the Lady Cardinals this sea­son.

Ham­ley was asked to step up her of­fense and nearly tripled her scor­ing out­put from her sea­sons.

She was a matchup prob­lem for op­po­nents be­cause of her abil­ity to step out­side to hit a 3-pointer, take them off of the drib­ble or post them up on the block with equal ef­fec­tive­ness.

Sure, the Lady Cardinals did not have a win­ning record, but that wasn’t fac­tored into this list like it was for that other one — the one that left all of “our play­ers” on the bench.

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se­nior MIKE CAP­SHAW COV­ERS SPORTS FOR THE WASH­ING­TON COUNTY EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER AND NWA NEWS­PA­PERS. CON­TACT MIKE VIA TWIT­TER @NWACAPPY OR BY EMAIL AT MCAPSHAW@ NWADG.COM.

MICHAEL WOODS NWA DEMO­CRAT-GAZETTE

Tr­ish O’Con­nell (10) of Farm­ing­ton fights for a loose ball with Mor­ril­ton’s Mary Kate Kordsmeier (24) and Quanyea Hil­ton (5) dur­ing their game Feb. 23 in Farm­ing­ton.

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