The future of girls basketball in this area is bright.
Despite failing to get any area team past the first round of the playoffs, plenty of players emerged as stars this season. Luckily for fans, many are not going anywhere.
Four of the six players on the 2013-14 Killeen Daily Herald All-Area First Team will return next season, including Harker Heights’ Alexus Dukes, Copperas Cove’s Mikayla Blount, Ellison’s Jordanna Porter and Killeen’s Tia Harston.
The only seniors to land on the squad were Angela DeLaney, of Harker Heights, and All-Area MVP Francesca Patrick of Ellison.
For Ellison head coach Sherry McKinnon, who guided the Lady Eagles to the first undefeated district championship in program history, knowing she will have Porter at her disposal again next year is a huge advantage.
“She averaged 15.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.5 steals,” McKinnon said. “She shot 47 percent from the field, which is good, and 62 percent from the free-throw line. Those are some good reasons why you would want her back on your team.”
Porter was one of three Ellison players to be honored with a superlative when the 8-5A All-District team was released, earning the coaches award representing the player opposing coaches would want on their roster.
While the junior experienced plenty of success individually and collectively last season, her companions on the first team were equally accomplished.
Also a junior, Dukes was a force for the Lady Knights, who returned to the playoffs after missing out in 2013, controlling the tempo as the team’s point guard while also delivering offensively, including a 30-point outburst in a narrow late-season loss to Ellison.
After ending a two-year playoff drought last season, Copperas Cove fell just short of returning for a second consecutive year. Nonetheless, Blount put up big numbers throughout her junior season.
The point guard averaged a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double, in addition to 2.5 blocks.
“She plays a lot bigger than her size,” Copperas Cove head coach Eldridge McAdams said. “She really gets after the ball.”
As a sophomore, Harston helped guide the Lady Kangaroos back to the playoffs once again, developing into a go-to guard in the process.
Adept at handling the ball and gifted with an extensive shooting range, Harston, who was named all-area newcomer of the year as a freshman, was one of only two sophomores to land on the all-district first team.
DeLaney completes her high school career as one of the most celebrated players in program history, helping lead the Lady Knights back to the postseason following an 11-19 campaign last year that included a 3-11 showing in district.
“I’m very proud of Angela DeLaney and all our seniors, especially after the season we had last year,” Harker Heights head coach Shirretha Nelson said. “I’m just glad she got a chance to go to the playoffs as a senior after an up-and-down season. That is what every team strives for, so it was a nice reward.”