This was one of the deepest freshman classes in the history of our website, as more freshmen made significant contributions than at any time we can recall. A number of girls in Honorable Mention made notable playoff contributions, and a few even averaged in double figures. Our selections were as follows:
F. Louis Volker, Loudoun Valley
G. Grace Middleton, Tuscarora
G. Amor Harris, T.C. Williams
G-F. Lyndsey Costigan, Flint Hill
G. Mary Pennefather, Seton
Sara Huffman (Chantilly), Elyse Autrey (Fairfax), Molly Brunk (Fairfax), Mary Prater (West Potomac), Ryleigh Thurston (Centreville), Alden Yergey (Brentsville), Elizabeth Creed (George Mason)
Louis Volker, Loudoun Valley–Volker dominated as a freshman for the Vikings in a way few players, much less freshmen, could hope to. She set the single season school record for blocked shots on the defensive end, and regularly produced double figures on the offensive end. Strong and smart beyond her years, Volker can run the floor and hit the mid-range jump shot. While Valley wasn’t tested often, Volker saved her best games for closest rival Tuscarora. In one regular season game against the Huskies Volker delivered 31 points.
Grace Middleton, Tuscarora–Like Volker, Middleton comes from a family of accomplished, if not dominant basketball players. Middleton was one of several freshmen that played a huge role on a good Tuscarora team led by her sister, senior Isabellah. She does many of the things her sisters do/did well, including run the floor, pester opponents on defense, and of course, score. Grace regularly scored in double figures in 2019-2020, from the first game she stepped on the floor as a varsity player. As was Volker, Middleton was a first team Region 4C selection.
Amor Harris, T.C. Williams–For like two decades now, since about Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, we’ve been wondering where the Titans get these talented freshman guards. Harris, who averaged well into double figures, fits the mold of Hopkins, Palacio, et al. The freshman has good handles, and ice water in her veins to make and take a clutch shot down the stretch. Athletic enough even with her freshman frame to not infrequently lead her team in rebounding, she’s also a very able defender. A first team All-Gunston District selection, keep an eye on this one in the seasons to come.
Lyndsey Costigan, Flint Hill–Costigan stepped right into the Huskies’ starting lineup as a freshman and performed admirably. Her stats aren’t as eye-popping as some of the other freshmen, but that’s entirely because she’s a team player, like so many others on Jody Patrick’s squad. She did everything really, really well for a freshman. Interior and perimeter defense, rebounding to the tune of six a game, scoring from inside and out–Costigan did everything the Huskies could have possibly asked her to do against very tough competition.
Mary Pennefather, Seton–All that really needs to be said about Pennefather is that she already has 1,000 career points. Yes, she played varsity prior to the 9th grade, but…still. Go watch her play sometime, she’s really a very enjoyable player to see live. She averaged almost three made three-pointers a game and we’re surprised it’s not more than that. Pennefather can play the point and really only needs a sliver of an opening to make defenses pay with her incredible range. We don’t like comparing anyone, much less high school freshmen to Steph Curry but…I think we just did.
Sara Huffman, Chantilly–We were a little skeptical when the word on the street was Huffman was ready to play crunch minutes on a Chantilly team with a very established veteran, starting lineup. Not anymore. Huffman performed admirably backing up Megan Baxter at the point–and often forced her way in the game alongside Baxter. Why wouldn’t you play her some at the two and three? Huffman hit 40% from three-point range, and also impressed with her defense and composure.
Elyse Autrey, Fairfax–What a freshman class at Fairfax from top to bottom. Autrey contributed right away on defense and on the boards, but also developed more as a scorer as the season wore on. This one has star potential if her offense continues to develop, which we expect it will. She’s a quick leaper, which allows her to grab rebounds over taller players and attack the rim effectively. Autrey is a good passer, too. But the thing opposing coaches better account for right now is her ability to pick pockets. Autrey is a very able and willing defender.
Molly Brunk, Fairfax–Complimenting Autrey well in Fairfax’s lineup was Molly Brunk. A very good shooter, Brunk had some huge games, including when she hit for 17 against Battlefield at Rebel Roundball. Like Autrey, she clearly gained confidence as the season wore on and was given the green light to shoot more and more. Another guard who was able to help the smallish Rebels on the boards against bigger teams, we expect Brunk to have a bright future for Pat Deegan. As does Fairfax in general, because Pretosh, Kent, Menon–these girls could easily have been highlighted here as well.
Mary Prater, West Potomac–We marvel at freshmen that come right out on solid teams and make their mark–Prater did exactly that for the Wolverines. The guard scored 19 in a season-opening win and kept the foot on the gas all year, scoring 17 and delivering some huge baskets in West Po’s Gunston Tournament Championship win. Prater is a very good shooter from beyond the arc, but is also adept at finishing with either hand. This kid is going to finish with some sick career scoring stats.
Ryleigh Thurston, Centreville–Centreville had a tough time this year playing in the ridiculously powerful Concorde, but we were impressed from day one with Thurston, a point guard who showed no fear whatsoever against some of the area’s best teams. She showed great court vision for her age all year, and if one were to teach young girls shooting form, one might show a video of Thurston. The Wildcats have got to be happy to have her in the fold for three more years.
Alden Yergey, Brentsville District–As dynamic a player as anyone on this list, here’s a diamond that really just needs more refinement to shine as brightly as just about anyone. Yergey, a point guard with significant size, wows the crowd with at least 2-3 plays per game, whether it’s a bullet pass, WNBA three, or acrobatic finish. Comfortable on the run and attacking gaps in the defense, it will be interesting to see how Yergey develops. Watch this one (and her very young teammates) closely–we expect the Tigers to be ready to take on some of NOVA’s best in a couple of years.
Elizabeth Creed, George Mason–Like Brentsville, George Mason is full of young, promising talent. Elizabeth Creed had a good year for the Mustangs, earning second team all-district. She’s a forward with great hands who is comfortable running the floor or in the halfcourt, where she knows how to wait on the block for a quick-strike lay-up opportunity. Creed is already a double-double threat who has a mid-range jumper–as she further develops her range and physical strength she could become one of the better stretch fours in the area.
Rachel Dexter (West Springfield), Riya Menon (Fairfax), Allie Kent (Fairfax), Kaylin Pretosh (Fairfax), Haley Garrish (Annandale), Litzy Gonzalez (Mount Vernon), Dani Allen (Hayfield), Sofia Miller (Battlefield), Nya Mason (Saint Stephen’s & St. Agnes), Cara Vollmer (Brentsville District), Gwenyth Balca-Harutiuian (Park View), Joi Williams (Heritage), Jenna Steadman (Woodgrove), Colette Baine (Woodgrove), Alana Powell (Osbourn Park), Kori Cole (Osbourn Park), Maia Williams (Osbourn), Amiyana Williams (Osbourn), Kristina McWhinney (Colgan), Taia Perez (Briar Woods), Grace Farrar (Freedom-South Riding), Tierra Russell (Edison), Brennah Lee-Pawlak (Marshall), Maya Solis (Wakefield), Gigi Denton (Wakefield), Elizabeth Cheeks (Justice), Tanvi Bhave (Jefferson), Kathleen Christ (Dominion), Maya Van Wyngaardt (Dominion), Camryn Worley (Tuscarora), Colette Morris (Tuscarora), Cecily Timmons (Independence), Elisa Goislard (George Mason), Makayla Jackson (Bishop Ireton), Abby Cooch (Bishop Ireton), Nia Grymes (O’Connell), Aani Akins (Flint Hill), Caroline Norton (Potomac School), Norah Burgess (Seton), Shushan Krikorian (McLean), Aylin Humpherys (Herndon), Grace Maria (Yorktown), Asha Goodwin (Yorktown), Kaleah Wells (Centreville), Bryton Hill (Robinson), Caroline Shimp (Robinson), Leyina Weinberger (W.T. Woodson), Courtney Mills (South County)