G. Grace Arnolie, Madison
As good as Arnolie was from the first day she played varsity as a freshman, her improvement was still very noticeable this year. Stronger now and even more relentless and ball-dominant, Grace had another fantastic season for the three-time state champs. Once again, she was often the catalyst for her team on offense and also on defense. Grace will play for Brown University in the Fall.
G. Alayna Arnolie, Madison
Alayna also took a massive step up this season, and was selected as the Virginia High School League Class 6 Player of the Year as a result. Alayna was among the leaders in NOVA in made three-pointers, averaging over two a game. Her defense has always been sterling, but Alayna’s clear improvement offensively was a big deal for the Warhawks. She will play at Gettysburg next season.
G. Angel Jones, Forest Park
With only a couple possible exceptions, nobody got the defensive attention Angel Jones did this year. Forest Park opponents’ goal was to deny her the ball if possible, and make her work the whole way down the court if not possible. Didn’t really matter–Jones averaged 20 a game and still set up her teammates for easy shots. Dynamic point guard is headed to Siena next season.
G. Amani Melendez, Woodbridge
As good as Jones was, Melendez was as good. Melendez averaged around 23 points a game and simply willed her team to victory on some nights. Athletic and quick, the tall guard can handle the ball, work inside or on the perimeter, and defend multiple positions. The Cardinal District Player of the Year will play at the University of Bridgeport (CT) next season.
F. Ana Bournigal, Yorktown
Bournigal brought old school-type dominance to the table night in and night out for the Liberty District regular season champion Yorktown Patriots. The relentless forward was simply too much for most teams to handle inside, scoring in the paint and owning the glass. Yorktown’s guards could gamble for the steal if they chose–it was nice to have Bournigal anchoring the tough defense behind them.
G. AB Holsinger, Langley
Very few point guards were able to set the tone for their team like Holsinger was able to do this year. Smart and a fantastic passer, we’d bet Holsinger had easily one of the best assist to turnover ratios around. She hit some huge clutch shots this season, and she also proved herself one of the more underrated shooters from long range in the area. The Liberty District Player of the Year will join Alayna Arnolie at Gettysburg next year–we’ll have to tune into a few of their games.
G. Hailey Kellogg, Osbourn Park
The Cedar Run District Player of the Year provided leadership and was a huge stabilizing force in Osbourn Park’s run to the state title game. Her ball-handling, shooting (especially from long range), and defense were massive factors in the Yellow Jackets’ success. Comfortable on and off-ball, the talented senior will join Christopher Newport’s considerable talent from Northern Virginia next year.
G. Isabela Lujan-Gonzales, Mount Vernon
If anyone faced as much defensive attention as Angel Jones on this list, it might have been Gonzales. Like Jones, the Mount Vernon product struck a nice balance between getting her teammates involved and providing scoring punch when needed. 20-point, eight-assist-type games were commonplace this season for the National District co-Player of the Year. She’ll play at Montgomery (MD) College next season.
G. Zoraida Icabalceta, Meridian
Meridian will still be very good next year, but it’ll be tough to reach the Class 3 state championship game once again without Icabalceta. Icabalceta rarely turned the ball over at the point and consistently provided double-digit scoring and top-notch defense to the Mustangs. A Class 3 state first-teamer and four-year varsity player, Icabalceta will play for Ithaca College next year.
F. Ashley Steadman, Woodgrove
Woodgrove’s all-time leading scorer had yet another fantastic season, helping to propel the Wolverines to the Class 5 state title game. The six-foot-plus forward got hurt in the playoffs, but before she did she scored 22 points in a tough state quarterfinal win over Highland Springs. With a strong perimeter, inside, and passing game, Steadman will join Kellogg at CNU next season.
G. Yvonne Lee, Broad Run
Lee didn’t have to score like she’s had to in previous years, as this season she had some strong teammates, but she still was more than capable of taking over games when necessary. On full display this season was the Dulles District Player of the Year’s ability to pass, as she racked up considerable assist numbers. There’s no guard we’d be hesitant to match Lee up against in the area–she’ll play at Queens (NC) next season.
G. Jane Bodamer, Loudoun Valley
It was really cool watching Bodamer face off against Lee when their teams played, although they weren’t always matched up against each other. Bodamer had another amazing season at the point for the Vikings, putting up close to triple-double-type games consistently. She was the perfect player to push the tempo for Valley, able to take rebounds (or jump passing lanes) from bigger players and just go.
G. Caitlyn Shumadine, Langley
Shumadine again teamed with Holsinger to form one of the best starting backcourts in Northern Virginia. Her long-range shooting prowess is well-known, and she again was among the area leaders from beyond the arc, but what impressed us this year was her ability to play tough defense and through injury. We appreciated her bright blue shoes as well.
G. N’Jya Hopkins, Alexandria City
There’s definitely more than enough point guards on these teams, but what are we going to do, not take N’Jya Hopkins? Hopkins, a first team and all-defensive selection in the Patriot District, tormented opponents once again with her on-the-ball defense. In the open court on offense she sometimes put up video game numbers, using her quick burst to attack the basket and deliver assists to her teammates.
F. Natayvia Lipscomb, Potomac
Lipscomb was the third of the “Big Three” seniors of the Cardinal District that could absolutely dominate a game. At around six feet, the athletic Lipscomb took over games at the rim, such as when she scored 35 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in a win over Forest Park. Potomac has a lot of nice talent returning next year, but Lipscomb’s ability to draw defense to her in the high post and down low will be sorely missed.
Lots of other talent we’d love to mention that deserves to make a team (Ayana Gillen, Sophia Zinzi, Leah Harden, Mia Fitzgerald, Kiera Kohler, Mia Chapman, etc.), but that’s what Honorable Mention is for. Congrats to everyone!
Olivia Walke (Langley), Emma Nelsen (Yorktown), Mia Fitzgerald (McLean), Tania Bushrod (Herndon), Rylie Hughes (Marshall), Bridget Bartz (Washington-Liberty), Caitlin Miller (Washington-Liberty), Kiera Kohler (Madison), Katie Koshuta (Madison), Mia Chapman (Madison), Sophia Zinzi (Oakton), Erin Barr (South Lakes), Brooke Reed (Westfield), Shreya Sivaram (Westfield), Kendall Morgan (Chantilly), Riley Drumm (Lake Braddock), Skylar Thomas (Lake Braddock), Clara Small (Lake Braddock), Kiera Laskofski (Lake Braddock), Kristine Pham (Robinson), Samantha Uhrin (West Potomac), Ka’Mel Colbert (South County), Eunice Yoon (W.T. Woodson), Lizzy Chasteen (West Springfield), Lisa Anderson (Edison), Eleanor Kim (Thomas Jefferson), Erin Brodnik (Thomas Jefferson), Brooke Hite (Lewis), Ayana Gillen (Hayfield), Kristina Ta (Hayfield), Carolyn Wilson (Hayfield), Sanii Poindexter-Grant (Hayfield), Ally Cassell (Loudoun Valley), Bailey Vann (Dominion), Sydney Sokol (Broad Run), Jenny Allen (Loudoun County), Tara Mullen (Woodgrove), Kayce Shin (Briar Woods), Ella Valente (Potomac Falls), Olivia Duhaime (Potomac Falls), Indatu Goukoye (Independence), Leah Harden (Stone Bridge), Madison Moon (Stone Bridge), Amanie Bonchu-Stokes (Unity Reed), Reese Burch (Battlefield), Zara Kotadiya (John Champe), Reina Washington (Woodbridge), Kenzie Burke (Woodbridge), Peyton Ray (Colgan), Najah Perryman (Colgan), Trinity Mizelle (Hylton), Megan Tremblay (Meridian), Bella Paradiso (Meridian)