We have reached the top 5 in our countdown of Outside the Huddle’s Top 50 girls basketball player countdown. This is No. 5 in our annual preseason crowning of the top 5 players in northeast Indiana that we call the ‘First Five;’ our highest individual preseason honor.
The ‘First Five’ was started in 2018, following in the 35-plus year tradition of naming the top five area basketball players, started by a now defunct prep sports department in Fort Wayne. It is our honor to pick up and carry on that tradition with the ‘First Five,’ including our third group of honorees coming this season at the top of our Top 50 countdown.
No. 5 – Maiah Shelton, Norwell
If this were a list of gritty players, the number next to Shelton’s name could be higher. Shelton has just flat out been a menace to opposing teams since taking up the varsity starter mantle as a freshman. Shelton doesn’t just look tough – which she does – she just finds a way to bully through any and all contact on both ends of the floor. It doesn’t matter who Shelton is up against based on their size or talent, she plays like she is the biggest and best every night. It helped pushed her and Norwell back into championship status last season as Sectional and co-NE8 champions. Shelton’s physicality is clear to see and arguably the best hallmark of her game.
Yet, Shelton can do so many other things very well. She led Norwell with 14.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game in 2019-20 but also was second in assists at 2.2 per game and third on the team in steals with 2.3 per contest. You will note those numbers and wonder how Shelton can contribute so significantly in so many facets of the game. But if you have not seen her play yet, understand that her high activity is very difficult to replicate. Shelton has a good shot, so don’t look by that, and she also has a super soft touch at the rim.
COACH’S QUOTE ON MAIAH SHELTON
“Maiah is so difficult to guard. She is slippery when attacking the rim, efficient with her mid-range game, and a threat from the arc. Her ability to draw help defenders as well as her much improved rebounding mentality make us better.” – Norwell coach Eric Thornton
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