Nobody asked me but...the first annual NAMB awards for girls basketball is front and center.
Like all NAMBY's, awards will go to players I have personally seen perform.
Let us start with the NAMB Dream Team for the ladies...
Morgan Davis, Doniphan- outstanding shooter, who is money from beyond the 3-point arc. Averaged 23 points per game and shot 49 percent from 3-
point land. Set school record for 3-pointers made and led the Donettes to a fourth place finish in Class 3.
Hailee Deckard, Naylor- this 5-foot-10 sophomore forward can do it all on the floor. Was basically a one-woman show for the Lady Eagles. Averaged 24 points, 12 rebounds and five assists a game. Led Naylor to the quarterfinals in Class 2.
Taylor Nelson, Dexter- leader on a 20-6 Dexter team. Averaged 17.5 points and eight rebounds on the season. Besides her great ability on the floor, Nelson is an academic giant who is looking into a pre-med program after high school.
Bobbie Jones, Jackson- physical player with great instincts for the game. Allison Blurton, Sikeston- leader on a resurgent Sikeston team this season. Averaged 17.3 points, four rebounds and three steals per game. Possessing an excellent shooting touch and above average quickness, Blurton has a good chance to take her skills to the next level.
Offensive Player of the Year - Going with the senior from Dexter, Nelson. Besides her scoring and rebounding, Nelson shot 53 percent from 2-point range and 36 percent from beyond the arc. Also hit on 74 percent from the charity stripe.
Scoring does not give the full picture of Nelson's contribution to the Lady Bearcats. Had a never-say-die attitude and worked hard in the off-season to develop her perimeter game. Dexter was a shot away from beating Class 4 quarterfinalist Fredericktown.
Nelson deservingly made first team all-state in Class 4 and first team all-
region. Of course, the NAMBY will be the most coveted award in the Nelson household.
Defensive Player of the Year - Betsy Royer, Fredericktown. A 6-1 athletic center, Royer showed her force in district play at Sikeston. Like Matt Rogers at Doniphan, Royer had excellent timing and was an intimidating force in the post. If one dared to drive in Royer's area, two options awaited, a blocked shot or an altered shot that was like a rainbow with the height of the shot.
Coach of the Year - Fred Johnson, Sikeston. Several coaches deserve some credit for their seasons. Eric Ellerbrook and Lance Tollison, at Portageville and New Madrid County Central respectively, seem to be turning around their programs. Gavin Miller is turning Dexter into a monster, as is Jimbo Blackwell over at Doniphan.
Johnson turned around a docile program at Sikeston in only one season. Winning a school record 18 games, Sikeston was a force in girls basketball for the first time ever.
From the first practice, to the heart-breaking district loss to Notre Dame, Johnson instilled a winning attitude in his girls that became contagious throughout the team.
Sikeston seemingly overnight, became a hard-working team that was in every game through the season.
If it had not been for some unfortunate incidents during the season, Sikeston could have been district champs. The seed has been planted, hopefully in time, it will grow at Sikeston.
Team of the year - Doniphan Donettes. Unfortunately for area teams, the cupboard is not even remotely empty. Look for a return trip for Doniphan to the final four.
Other individual awards...
Best shooter - Morgan Davis, Doniphan
Best passer - Kaci Menz, Delta
Best rebounder - Martika Davis, Sikeston
Best senior - Taylor Nelson, Dexter
Best junior - Morgan Davis, Doniphan
Best sophomore - Hailee Deckard, Naylor
Best freshman - Debra Hall, Kelly
Awards for the imagination...
Fastest player - Natalie Hayes, Dexter
Best handles - Kaci Menz, Delta
Most improved - Hannah Rone, Portageville
Inspiration award - Haylee Finch, Dexter
Game of the Year - Fredericktown over Dexter 48-46 in the Class 4 District final. Haylee Finch 3-pointer at the buzzer for Dexter came up just short.
Best crowd support - Doniphan
Best mascot - Cobden Appleknockers in Illinois. Never saw play, out of coverage area and state. Just love the name.
And finally, nobody asked me but...countdown to football is underway. Sept. 10 is the 2006-07 debut of the Dallas Cowboys. Travel to Jacksonville to face the Jaguars. Rams play somebody, somewhere.