Daily Leader All-Area girls basketball team 2021

Published 2:00 pm Monday, April 5, 2021

Kara Beth Addison, West Lincoln

She was really good last season as first-year varsity starter, but in 2020-2021 West Lincoln sophomore point guard Kara Beth Addison was even better as she once again stuffed the stat sheet with her abilities to score, rebound and pass the ball.

Second on the team with a 14 points per game average while dishing out 5.1 assists per contest for coach Brooks Smith. Also added 3.8 rebounds per night along with 3.4 steals per game. Averaged nearly one block per game. Only failed to reach double figure scoring in two games and had a season-high 26 points in a win over Loyd Star.

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Knows when to take the ball inside if her squad needs a bucket but is always hunting her teammates for the next assist. Height allows her to see over most high school defenders when passing. Crafty with the ball and equally good dribbling with either hand. Will likely score more over her final two seasons as her role changes.

Aubrey Britt, Loyd Star

Junior point guard Aubrey Britt wears a padded-head band when taking the court for the Loyd Star Lady Hornets. The extra protection is needed. Britt has a scary history of hitting her head on the floor while diving for loose balls or flying towards the rim. She’s not going to slow down, so the best option is to try and protect her.

Led the Lady Hornets with a 16.6 per game average this season. Pulled down 5.5 rebounds per game while making 3.9 steals per night. Also handed out 2.2 assists per game for coach Seth Britt. Scored a season best 30 points in a win over 4A North Pike. Only missed scoring in double digits twice on the year.

A four-time MHSAA 2A state champion in cross-country, obviously goes baseline to baseline faster than anyone in the area. That fast-twitch speed makes her a defensive threat to break on the ball when the opposition gets lazy with their passing. Had nine steals in a close win over Pisgah. An MAC All-Star game selection, repeat All-Area pick and standout centerfield on the softball field.

Lillie Gates, BA

Sometimes a player will fight the position that fits them naturally. It’s especially true for forwards who’ll drift out on the perimeter, despite having a size advantage inside. That’s not the case with Brookhaven Academy sophomore forward Lillie Gates though, she knows her bread is going to get buttered in the paint.

Scored 12.2 points per game while pulling down 8.4 rebounds a night for coach Ron Kessler and the Lady Cougars. Also blocked two shots per game as BA swept through their MAIS District 4-4A without a loss on their way to a 27-8 overall record.

Gates is skilled enough to hit a face-up jumper but is also comfortable playing with her back to the basket. Always keeps the ball high and is an opportunistic rebounder who’s good on offensive put backs. Was named District 4-4A player of the year.

Alyssa Leggett, Loyd Star

Every team needs someone willing to mix it up and play with a little bit of an edge when the moment calls for it. Not to play dirty, but to play unafraid. That’s the role that sophomore forward Alyssa Leggett fills for Loyd Star.

Averaged 9.0 points and 6.2 points per game for a Loyd Star team that finished as Region 7-2A runners-up in the regular season and division tournament. Added 1.1 assist and 1.4 steals per game for coach Seth Britt. Had a season high 23 points in a 10-point win over Wesson.

Most comfortable operating around the elbow offensively. Has soft touch from that area but can also step back as she hit seven 3-pointers on the season. Crashes the boards and defends with a physicality that mirrors how she plays catcher for the Loyd Star softball team.

Ashanti Louis, BHS

Brookhaven High coach Preston Wilson said it best when reflecting after the Lady Panthers were knocked out in the 5A semifinals this season. It’s hard to look back and think of many Lady Panthers that have had a better career than Ashanti Louis. Her junior season BHS was state runners-up, and they made the quarterfinals both of her first two years at the school.

Louis was the only returning full-time starter this season and responded with her usual, steady output. She averaged 10 points per game along with 3.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.6 steals per game for the Lady Panthers. Had a season high 18 points in a big division win over West Jones. A repeat Daily Leader All-Area selection.

Always has her head up on the break, looking to get the ball ahead via a pass. The best communicator in the area, constantly talking to her teammates on the Ole Brook defensive press as she knows where everyone should be to do their job. Very good at shielding defenders from the ball by putting them on her hip when she attacks the basket.

Meleyjah Lyons, Wesson

You may have been hearing for the last couple of years how Wesson had talent in their younger classes and how that group would soon make an impact on the varsity roster. A freshman point guard, Meleyiah Lyons is part of that emerging group of Lady Cobras. This season she announced her arrival by leading Wesson in scoring.

Averaged 11.4 points per game for coach Michelle Nunnery. Added 5.1 steals per night, 4.3 rebounds per contest and dropped off 3.6 per night for Wesson. Began playing varsity basketball as an eighth grader for the Lady Cobras. Very efficient 3-point shooter.

Often finds herself as the smallest player on the court, but offsets that by being stronger and faster than most of her competition. One of the best rebounding guards in the area despite her height, because she sprints to loose-balls as they come off the rim. Goes baseline to baseline on the dribble in a blink. Will lead Wesson as they transition back into the 3A classification next season after being 2A for the last two seasons.

De’Mya Porter, Bogue Chitto

It’s hard sometimes to not get caught up in thinking about what D’Mya Porter is capable of being one day as a player, while watching what she is right now. In her current form the freshman forward is a slim, athletic, rebounding and shot-blocking threat for Bogue Chitto. What can she be in the future? The possibilities are endless.

In her first full varsity season Porter averaged 17 points per game for coach Robby Walters. She also pulled down 13.9 rebounds per game while blocking four shots a night and making four steals per contest. Prior to joining the varsity, she was the leading scorer on a junior high team that won the county title.

Has the best quick jump in the area, meaning she gets up off her toes and then can get right back up just as soon as she lands again. Allows her to tip balls to herself that she’ll eventually pull down for a rebound. Most comfortable facing the basket offensively as she continues to build strength and her back-to-the-basket offensive skills. Very good at blocking shots by moving up towards the ball in flight and not the body of the shooter.

Anne Brantley Warren, BA

Never rattled, never spooked, never out of sorts — Brookhaven Academy junior point guard Anne Brantley Warren has been keying the Lady Cougar offensive attack since she started for a state championship team as an eighth-grader.

Her scoring dipped this season but assists went up. Averaged 7.2 points per game and 5.1 rebounds for coach Ron Kessler. Handed out 4.8 assists while making 3.2 steals per contest. A three-time Daily Leader All-Area selection.

Rarely sees the bench as her handles and on-ball defense are an important part of the BA game plan. As a point guard should, knows the spots that her teammates score best from and tries to deliver the ball to them there and on time. Drove the length of the court with eight seconds and hit a layup that sent the game to overtime in a postseason loss at Simpson Academy.

Kyja Willis, BHS

There is a ruggedness about junior forward Kyja Willis that not all go-to-players possess. She’s obviously ready to do whatever it takes for her team to win, whether that be scoring, rebounding or guarding the opposing team’s best player on the perimeter or in the paint — Willis will get it done for Brookhaven High.

Second on the team with a 10.7 points per game average this season. Also chipped in 5.2 rebounds per game for coach Preston Wilson and a BHS team that lost in the 5A semifinals. Made 2.3 steals per game along with handing out 2.0 assists per night. Went off for 19 points — 11 in the first quarter — in a blowout playoff win over Gautier.

Plays bigger than her listed size of 5-foot-7. Shows great body control when hanging in the air to finish after contact at the basket. Always looking to put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket, but also a capable shooter. Made a career high 18 3-pointers in a season that’s length was nearly cut in half due to COVID-19 issues for BHS.

Angel Wilkinson, BHS

It just feels electric — almost as if you can see energy crackling in the air — when Brookhaven sophomore guard Angel Wilkinson has the ball in the open court. There’s literally no telling what she’ll do and opposing defenses know that.

Led BHS in scoring as a first-year starter by getting 12.2 points per game for coach Preston Wilson. Also averaged 5.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.7 assists per night. Scored 21 of her teams 41 points in a big region win over West Jones.

Shot 42% from the floor and 47% on her two-point attempts. The ability to shoot from deep makes defenses respect that part of her game. If a defender crowds her though, she’s very good at putting the ball on the floor and scoring with floaters from the baseline or lane. Especially dangerous harassing opponents in the front-line of the BHS press defense.

Honorable Mentions

Ta’Kyla Brothern, West Lincoln

Marley Bullock, Loyd Star

Riley Carter, Bogue Chitto

Kionna Gibson, Wesson

Breanna Grant-Hall, Wesson

Natalie Harris, Enterprise

Jena Hughes, West Lincoln

Hannah Jergins, Enterprise

Abby Grace Richardson, Brookhaven Academy

Lakendria Walker, Lawrence County