2019-2020 All-NOVA Senior Girls Private School Team

G. Faith Alston, Paul VI
G. Maikya Simmons, O’Connnell
G. Maya Thompson, Episcopal
F. Ajia James, O’Connell
F. Haley Sabol Episcopal

Faith Alston, Paul VI–Appalachian State has to be absolutely thrilled it landed a player the caliber of Alston for next year. The PVI point had a great season as the Panthers won yet another VISAA state title. She averaged around double digits a game in scoring, but the guard also contributed in every facet of the game. She played tough defense and ran the offense night in and night out with steady play. Alston also wowed crowds with some highlight reel passes to her teammates for open shots and easy buckets. For her efforts she was named to the VISAA Division I first team.

Maikya Simmons, O’Connell–The lightning-quick guard had a great senior season, recently signing to play her college ball at South Georgia Tech. Known for her defense and passing/court vision, Simmons still managed to score a bunch of points in her career–over 1,000 in fact. On a loaded O’Connell team this season she averaged in double digits and had several big offensive games, including 22 in a win over St. James. Even when she wasn’t scoring, her energy and all-around play was a big key for the Knights’ success this season.

Maya Thompson, Episcopal–The talented Maroon guard finished out her career in style, earning all-ISL honors. Another good all-around player, Thompson relished picking pockets and getting her team in transition. She provided rebounds and assists, and often led her team in scoring. When she was hitting threes Thompson put up some serious numbers, such as when she hit five en route to 26 points in a win over St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes. She’ll play for Emory University next season.

Ajia James, O’Connell–James took her game from solid to dominant in 2019-2020, going from Honorable Mention all-WCAC to First Team. The athletic forward was usually O’Connell’s best bet to produce offensively in the rugged defensive games against that conference’s best, leading her team in scoring in big wins over PVI and St. John’s. Not only could James score, she also helped anchor the Knights’ defense down low with her strength and leaping ability. James is a good get for St. Peter’s University, where she’ll play hoops next season.

O'Connell's Ajia James went from very good to dominant in her final HS year.
O’Connell’s Ajia James went from very good to dominant in her final HS year.

Haley Sabol, Episcopal–The tall inside-outside threat from Episcopal was again a first team VISAA selection. Sabol had several memorable games to cap off her high school career, including a 21-point performance in an upset win over powerful Sidwell Friends. When she’s at her best the 6’2″ forward is impacting the boards, as well as drawing contact and getting to the line. Sabol’s presence will be certainly missed next year on Ainslie court; she’ll continue her playing career collegiately at Yale next season.

Episcopal's Haley Sabol has the skills to operate on the wing--rare for someone 6'2".
Episcopal’s Haley Sabol has the skills to operate on the wing–rare for someone 6’2″.

Sydney Avoletta (Paul VI), Meghan Kenefick (Paul VI), Alyssa Hayashi (O’Connell), Mikaela Brunais (O’Connell), Kylah Franklin (Bishop Ireton), Dymin Gerow (Episcopal), Amara Eley (Madeira), Lauren Hardesty (Trinity Christian)

A good deal of the talent in our “reserves” will be playing at the next level. Paul VI’s Sydney Avoletta and Meghan Kenefick will each be playing Division I basketball at Iona and Cleveland State next year, respectively. Avoletta is tall and strong and Kenefick has been well-known for her skilled play for years. Alyssa Hayashi and Mikaela Brunais gave O’Connell ridiculous depth in the backcourt this season. Hayashi made Honorable Mention all-WCAC and will play at Swathmore College next year. Brunais could have averaged double figures on a lesser team and always impressed with her defensive intensity.

The versatile wing Kylah Franklin of Bishop Ireton is signed to be a Mountain Cat next year up at Pitt-Johnstown. Dymin Gerow was another all-around standout for Episcopal; she’ll play lacrosse in college and was a highlight reel in both sports. Amara Eley is a rock-solid guard for Madeira–we were fortunate to get to see her and fellow senior Annie Newton play a few times. Eley will play basketball for Rutgers-Camden next season.

Finally, Lauren Hardesty was a volleyball and basketball standout at Trinity Christian in Fairfax. In hoops this season she was recognized as a Division II VISAA second team performer.

Congrats to all and to the Honorable Mention selections below!

Brianna Wydajewski (John Paul the Great), Annie Newton (Madeira), Simone Holland (St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes), Taylor Cotter (Paul VI), Aliyah Beverly (Paul VI), Aminata Fadika (Bishop Ireton)