Mitchell junior Kerri Young named Daily Republic player of yearThere’s no doubt in Wes Morgan’s mind that Kerri Young is the best girls’ basketball player in the state.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
There’s no doubt in Wes Morgan’s mind that Kerri Young is the best girls’ basketball player in the state.
It’s astonishing how fast the Mitchell basketball coach answers the question.
Young, a 6-foot junior forward, was the key component in the Ker-nels’ Class AA state championship this season, the Mitchell’s first girls’ state title since 2003.
“As far as defense, offense, being a team leader, sharing the basketball, she’s the best,” Morgan said. “She has everything.”
Young averaged 19 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game and will almost surely be named to the Class AA all-state first-team list for the second straight year.
She started all 25 of the Kernels’ games this year and shot a team-best 51 percent from the field among players who saw a majority of game action.
When asked if she thought she was the best player in the state — specifically since Brandon Val-ley’s Heidi Hoff was named the state’s Gatorade player of the year — Young gave an answer that shows why her skills continue to develop.
“You can never really stop and just say you’re the best,” Young said. “You have to keep going and getting better.”
For her efforts, Young has been named The Daily Republic’s girls’ basketball player of the year, an award that’s voted on by the newspaper’s sports staff.
This is the second straight year Young has won the award, and she is the first repeat winner since Wessington Springs’ Lacey Johnson won it in 1999 and 2000.
Young was a unanimous choice for the award in a system that awards five points for a first-place vote, four points for a second-place vote, three for third, two for fourth and one for fifth.
Young’s teammate, Macy Miller, was second in the voting, Wagner’s Devon Brecke was third, Parkston’s Marie Malloy was fourth and Hanson’s Ashley Robinson was the fifth player to receive votes.
The voting is narrowed to The Daily Republic’s coverage area, not allowing Hoff to receive votes.
All of the players who received votes qualified for the state tournament except Brecke, but it was the way Young led her team to a championship and showed dominance throughout the regular season that made her stick out from the crowd.
Mitchell finished the season with a 24-1 record, its most wins in school history. The Kernels won the Eastern South Dakota Conference, the District 3AA tournament and went unbeaten at the Corn Pal-ace.
Young, who scored her 1,000th career point this season in Mitchell’s only loss, was a major factor in all of those accomplishments.
“She’s just very consistent in what she does,” Morgan said. “She’s going to get her teammates better, and she leads by example.”
Young is a future South Dakota State University Jackrabbit. Last summer, she announced her verbal commitment to the Division I university that’s qualified for the NCAA national tournament each of the past four years. Next year, when she’s a senior, Young will look to help the Mitchell girls’ program repeat for the first time in school history.
After she graduates, Young will work to become the best player in the Summit League, the conference in which SDSU and the University of South Dakota are members.
The best part is she’ll see plenty of familiar faces, including Hoff, who will be a freshman at USD next year.
“I think it’s kind of cool that she’s going to USD,” Young said. “When I get to SDSU we’ll be able to play each other, and it will be interesting to see how much better she gets.”
Young’s not the only one looking forward to the future matchup. Brandon Valley girls’ basketball coach Mark Stadem, who chose Hoff as the state’s best player because of his declared bias, is anticipating a future rivalry.
“I realize that they’re going to rival schools, but what I think what’s fun is when USD is in the Summit League tournament finally, you’re going to get to see top South Dakota girls players going to our in-state Division I school,” Stadem said. “And they’re doing it being able to compete at a high level.
“They’re both great people, they’re both great players.”
Here’s a look at the other four players who received votes:
n Mitchell sophomore Macy Miller averaged 15 points and 4.4 rebounds per game this season in helping the Kernels to the Class AA state championship. Miller, who was a member of the state tournament’s all-tournament team, received 11 points in the voting.
n Devon Brecke, of Wagner High School, was a first-team Class A all-state selection, which was announced today. Brecke led the Red Raiders to an undefeated regular season, averaging 24 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. She received nine points in the voting.
n Parkston senior Marie Malloy averaged 22.6 points, 5 assists and 9 rebounds per game in leading the Trojans to a runner-up finish at the Class A state tournament. She earned the Spirit of Su award and was named to the all-tournament team. She received seven points in the voting.
n Hanson senior Ashley Robinson was named to the Class B’s all-state team, which was released Wednesday. She averaged 20.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, helping the Beavers to a sixth-place finish at the state tournament. Robinson received three points in the voting.
Here is a list of The Daily Republic’s girls’ basketball players of the year
1994-Erin Olson, Mitchell
1995-NaTascha Dawson, Howard
1996-Mandy Koupal, Wagner
1997-Mandy Koupal, Wagner
1998-Mandy Koupal, Wagner
1999-Lacey Johnson, Wessington Springs
2000-Lacey Johnson, Wessington Springs
2001-Vanessa Yanes, Wagner
(2002 Season Switch)
2003-Jenna Hoffman, Mitchell
2004-Jeana Hoffman, Mitchell
2005-Allison Johnson, Mount Vernon
2006-Jill Young, Mitchell Christian
2007-Megan Doyle, Hanson
2008-Terri VerSteeg, Platte-Geddes
2009-Rhianna Gullickson, Hanson
2010-Hillary Paulson, Freeman
2011-Kerri Young, Mitchell
2012-Kerri Young, Mitchell