The regular season is officially over for girls basketball and we will get to the post season and Sectional preview soon enough.
But first, we have to put a bow on the regular season and we do that with the final girls hoops power poll of the regular season. Who are the top 10 heading into the postseason? And with that, we name the MVP of each team for their regular season work.
Remember, MVP at Outside the Huddle never means “best” player, it means who is most valuable overall to the success of a team. Sometimes that is the best overall player, other times it is not in our eyes.
NO.1 – COLUMBIA CITY EAGLES
RECORD: 20-2, 7-0 NE8, NE8 CHAMPIONS
MVP: Addison Baxter
Baxter has proven why she is one of the area’s best players by being so well rounded. Baxter, as a multi dimensional threat, opened up the floor so much for the Eagles and enabled the whole team to get their opportunities.
NO. 2 – NORTHROP BRUINS
RECORD: 19-3, 9-0 SAC, SAC CHAMPIONS
MVP: Nevaeh Jackson
Talk about someone who does a little bit of everything. This Jackson has not always been the prime time scorer of the family, but she took on that role multiple times this season. Nevaeh is feisty and does so many intangible things.
NO. 3 – SNIDER PANTHERS
RECORD: 18-4, 8-1 SAC
MVP: Johnea Donahue
The new single season steals leader for the Panthers, Donahue leads a tough and gritty defensive frontline for the Panthers. The tempo that Snider is most successful at is predicated on getting after the ball handler and playing intense and there is no better person for that than Donahue.
NO. 4 – NORWELL KNIGHTS
RECORD: 19-3, 6-1 NE8
MVP: Makenzie Fuess
For Norwell to keep themselves at the top of the NE8, they would need another bigtime player to step up into a secondary (and sometimes primary role). Fuess answered the call and has been the breakout player of the area this season, keeping Norwell as a championship contender.
NO. 5 – HOMESTEAD SPARTANS
RECORD: 16-5, 7-2 SAC
MVP: Alison Stephens
Stephens was able to take things to the next level this year as a primetime scorer, having to replace a McDonald’s All-American in the forefront in the process. Stephens had shown signs she could take over games before this season, but this year she has really added to her intensity and kept Homestead as a relevant threat.
NO. 6 – JAY COUNTY PATRIOTS
RECORD: 22-1, 6-0 ACAC, ACAC CHAMPIONS, ACAC TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS
MVP: Renna Schwieterman
One could argue other names, but you have to go with the best player here. Schwieterman has kept Jay County dominant against their schedule as one of the best players, let alone scorers, that the ACAC has ever seen male or female. Simply put, her status as an unstoppable offensive force, was huge.
NO. 7 – FAIRFIELD FALCONS
RECORD: 22-2, 10-0 NECC, NECC CHAMPIONS, NECC TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS
MVP: Brea Garber
The development of Garber has been really interesting to watch over four years. She was always clearly a high end player but over the years has played whatever role was needed of her. As a senior, it was clear she was going to be the best player on the court but she certainly has been a big time leader for a team that rolled through their conference.
NO. 8 – CENTRAL NOBLE COUGARS
RECORD: 21-2, 9-1 NECC
MVP: Madi Vice
A coach change meant that the Cougars needed to change a lot of how they approached things. If Vice, as their best player and a key senior, had not immediately bought in, who knows where the Cougars would be. Instead, they ended the regular season beating everyone on their schedule that isn’t named Fairfield. Vice leads by example for sure but her buy in of a new system helped everyone buy in.
NO. 9 – BELLMONT BRAVES
RECORD: 17-4, 5-2 NE8
MVP: Sydney Keane
While the Braves have always had a variety of good players, it is important to their schemes to have someone that coach Andy Heim could consistently trust in the most important moments. Keane wasn’t alone in that role this season but you could tell there was just something different about how she approached games and those big moments; it made her stand out to us.
NO. 10 – HUNTINGTON NORTH VIKINGS
RECORD: 18-4, 4-2 NE8
MVP: Taylor Double
She just surpassed 1,000 career points and has earned her spot as one of the best players in Huntington North history. She does it by setting tempo and being able to adapt and adjust to every tempo that the Vikings saw. It brought them great success against so many styles of opponent.
JUST OUTSIDE THE TOP 10 (IN NO ORDER)