F. Carole Miller, Edison
F. Jaelyn Batts, Freedom-South Riding
C. Akunna Konkwo, Bishop Ireton
G. Trinity Palacio, T.C. Williams
G. Shay Hagans, Osbourn Park
Ashley Owusu, Paul VI; Sara Park, Potomac School; Molly Sharman, West Springfield; Julia Joachim, Lake Braddock; Maggie Shipley, Yorktown; Sasha Bates, T.C. Williams; Mallory Brodnik, Jefferson; Tae’lor Willard, Woodbridge; Camryn Platt-Morris, Woodbridge
Carole Miller of Edison upped her game in 2018-2019, again leading Edison to a state title game appearance in Richmond. She scored a little bit more, averaging not far from 20 points a game and displaying an improved outside shot. She also did the usual stuff that made her one of NOVA’s best players well before this season. The UVA commit played excellent defense and crashed the glass, constantly sparking her team in transition. As good as Edison is and will remain, it will be quite the adjustment for the Eagles to play without Miller next year. Her defense allowed the guards to gamble more and her athleticism could always get some key points when needed.
A natural fit next to Miller is Jaelyn Batts of FSR. Another athletic forward, Batts also made some nice strides with her already accomplished game in 2018-2019. In the big games she certainly delivered points when necessary, though she seemed to take as much pride playing tough defense with her considerable length. The Boston College signee has improved much as a passer both from the perimeter and the post and her improved footwork now makes her that much tougher to deal with. There’s no easy way to replace someone with as much talent as Batts on the high school level.
Joining Batts at BC next year is Akunna Konkwo of Bishop Ireton. Like Batts and Miller there’s really not too much more to say about Konkwo, NOVA’s most dominant center. She finishes her career with over 2,000 points and 1,500 rebounds. Even in the talented WCAC there was really little teams could do to stifle Konkwo. She runs the court very well, making it that much harder for teams to situate double teams against her. When teams did deny her the ball, Konkwo would often just will herself to a offensive rebound when she needed to. It will be flat out weird not seeing her anchor the middle for the Cardinals next year.
Two good ones in our backcourt have been dominant for years. Shay Hagans of Osbourn Park will continue her basketball career at James Madison next Fall. The guard became the school’s all-time leading scorer this season–no small feat at a school that has been around since 1931. Hagans averaged around 18 a game and mostly played her best in big games. In January she only managed 10 points in a loss to district rival Stonewall, so in February she came back to torch the Raiders for 50 points in two blowout wins. A very good shooter as well as incredibly quick and decently sized, there’s little doubt in our mind Hagans will evolve into an excellent player in the CAA.
Trinity Palacio of T.C. Williams will continue her career at the University of Charleston (WV) next year. What more can we say about Trinity? She’s led the talented Titans in scoring for four straight seasons. To call her gritty would be an understatement. Despite all the attention she gets on defense, she always gets it done. Palacio was more than willing to take the punishment necessary driving to the hoop to get to the line, such as when she got there 13 times in a game versus National Champion New Hope Academy. Not much more to talk about. The girl is a flat-out baller who is dangerous on both ends of the court.
Ashley Owusu of Paul VI heads our “reserves.” Obviously Owusu should never start the game on anyone’s bench–she’s NOVA’s best player–we’re just putting her here because she was hurt for a significant chunk of the season. Heck, you could argue she’s the nation’s best senior, forget NOVA. The University of Maryland signee still made her mark this season when she was healthy. She scored 28 in a win over Elizabeth Seton and 25 in a close loss to national power Bishop McNamara. There’s nothing this one can’t do. Expect her to join the likes of NOVA greats Tierra Ruffin-Pratt and Lynetta Kizer in the WBNA in a few years.
Sara Park of Potomac School did not really get the recognition she deserved this year. Her team had a tough year as the Panthers moved up to the top ISL division, but Park just kept producing at a high level. The tall point guard averaged around 22 points a game this season, compiling some absurd numbers against quality competition. She scored 37 points in a loss to Bullis and poured in 31 in a huge win over Holy Child. Arguably the best shooter in the area, Park averaged three makes per contest from behind the arc. While she can no doubt score, handling the ball has long been her forte. The ultra-intelligent Park will play at Harvard next year for the Crimson.
Like Palacio, Molly Sharman of West Springfield brings a ton of grit to this team. Sharman defends well at multiple positions. She’s an expert at positioning and using her body to seal off opponents’ path to the basket. Her scoring was essential to her team’s success. Sharman only failed to score in double figures five times in 2018-2019, and her team only lost twice all season when she got 10 or more. Adept at attacking gaps and getting to the line, Sharman also was perfectly capable of knocking down the long or mid-range jumper. The First Team All Region selection will play at Mary Washington next year.
Julia Joachim from rival Lake Braddock joins Sharman on the team. The Bruins center displayed improved strength down low in 2018-2019, establishing herself as one of the area’s more dominant post players. Joachim produced a number of double-doubles even with many of her games Patriot District battles being very low-scoring. She was a tremendous factor on defense, as her team could expand its defense to the arc with Joachim there to defend their backs and block shots. Lost in her great work down low was her solid footwork and mid-range game, which also improved noticeably this season.
Is it time to write about Maggie Shipley of Yorktown yet? We love this girl. A “point forward” with a competitive fire, Shipley was forced to lead her team after fellow star Liz Shean went down with an ACL injury early. She did. Defenses consistently geared to stop her, but Shipley adjusted and did a good job by keeping her mostly young but promising teammates involved. And she still scored a lot–Shipley only failed to reach double figures once all year. Shipley will play at Amherst College next season and she’s one to keep an eye on. While she does a little of everything well, she still has the potential to get physically much stronger and improve her efficiency in most areas. If she does she could have an amazing college basketball career.
Sasha Bates of T.C. Williams would be huge to have on any team. The tall and strong guard put up some ridiculous numbers in 2018-2019. Known for her defense, Bates produced somewhere around five steals a game. After the Levenberry sisters graduated and left the Titans much smaller than they were in 2017-2018, Bates delivered on the boards as well, commonly delivering eight rebounds or more per game. She also scored more. With defenses constantly harassing her and Palacio, Bates displayed the ability to get clutch points. She improved her shooting, and her strength allowed her to bully opponents out of the way as she powered to the rim. Huge in T.C.’s playoff run this year, Bates will play for Concord (WV) University next year.
Mallory Brodnik of Jefferson brings us nice depth at the forward and center positions. It is hard to imagine TJ being able to make its playoff run without Brodnik. At times the six-foot-plus forward was simply dominant. She scored 29 points in a Christmas Tourney win over Hayfield, getting to the line 16 times. While she scored as necessary, Brodnik still rarely took bad shots and focused on rebounding and defense. She was voted the National District Defensive Player of the Year–this in a district loaded with Edison and Marshall’s talented defenders. There’s a lot of things Brodnik does well people don’t know about, like her ability to handle the ball and speed in transition. That will serve her well at the next level when she plays for the University of Chicago.
Guards Camryn Platt-Morris and Tae’lor Willard of Woodbridge round out our senior team. Platt-Morris is an elite athlete who also runs track for the Vikings. She averaged in double figures this season and was nearly unstoppable once she got in the open court. Don’t believe us? Ask Cosby how fun it was to try and apply defense to her on the larger college stage at VCU. Platt-Morris was huge in that game and in the big playoff contests against T.C. Williams before it. In those three contests she averaged 16 points and eight boards, coming up huge in the biggest situations. She’ll play at Norfolk State next year.
Willard doesn’t get the press of some of her teammates but her coaches will tell you how absolutely essential she was in Woodbridge’s state title. Like Platt-Morris a very good defender, Willard impressed by handling the ball, setting up the offense, and piling up assist after assist. She was also clutch when it mattered most for the Vikings. After not really needing to score much during the regular season, Willard averaged in double-digits for those T.C. Williams and Cosby games. She and Platt-Morris missed a grand total of three shots in the state final.
Congrats to all plus the Honorable Mention selections!
Sym Shackelford (Bishop Ireton), Sydney Peters (Bishop Ireton), Olivia Nielsen (South Lakes), Mariane Auza (McLean), Natalie Hedrick (McLean), Lauren Maloney (Langley), Sydney Rood (Washington-Lee), Jiyun Chae (Chantilly), Kate Vietmeyer (Oakton), Whitney Garrett (Centreville), Ashley Martin (Centreville), Bridget Kowalski (Centreville), Sarah Conforti (Madison), Imani Burke (Stonewall Jackson), Karissa Highlander (Osbourn Park), Raigan Booker (Patriot), Bryonna Dutton (Battlefield), Jordan Smith (Colgan), Kayla Moore (Forest Park), Samara Mason (Hayfield), Sarah Shamdeen (Annandale), Jayla Irvin (Annandale), Nina Boone (Lake Braddock), Ally Johnson (Fairfax), Nelliah Wilson (South County), Joelle Hugney (Robinson), Natasha Pacheco (Woodson), Morgann Harden (Freedom-South Riding), Kamryn Meador (Freedom-South Riding), Jalyn Scales (Freedom-South Riding), Rosi Santos (Tuscarora), Natalie Brennan (Potomac Falls), Sara Duffie (Briar Woods), Nyah Hall (Rock Ridge), Bri Johns (Edison), Ebony Bordley (Edison), Bri Johns (Edison), Grace Grill (Marshall), Savannah Wilson (Jefferson), Sierra Kennard (Falls Church), Hannah Foley (Wakefield), Olivia Badura (Loudoun Valley), Haley Pasqualone (Loudoun Valley), Lakin Krisko (Loudoun Valley), Lauren Eichenlaub (Riverside), Caroline Suder (Riverside), Grace Sibley (Heritage), Bri Campion (Heritage), Catharine Forst (Brentsville), Shannon Hutchens (Brentsville), Maddie LaCroix (George Mason), Lizzie Thibodeau (Paul VI), Maura Leverone (O’Connell), Anna Hovis (O’Connell), Claire Miller (Flint Hill), Kathleen Boyce (Flint Hill), Whitney Wiley (Flint Hill), Madison Jordan (Flint Hill)