The award means a lot but not as much as the support.
In the days following Belton’s District 8-6A opener against Copperas Cove, Lady Tigers guard Presleigh York received a lot of recognition.
En route to leading Belton to a 45-30 road victory, the sophomore scored a team-high 11 points and was nominated as a potential Freddy’s-KDHpressbox.com Player of the Week.
Soon, York was flooded with well-wishes.
“The word got out quickly,” she said. “All sorts of people were telling me, ‘Good luck,’ or, ‘I’m proud of you,’ or, ‘I really hope you win.’
“It was just a really great feeling.”
And the support showed in the polls.
York received 42 percent of the votes cast to emerge with the award, beating out a trio of impressive candidates, and she is extremely appreciative of the strong turnout.
“I’m just so thankful,” York said, “because I know a lot of the votes came from my community.
“Just knowing they support me and are willing to take the time to vote for something like this is overwhelming.”
York connected on a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter before recording the remainder of her offense in the second quarter, finishing the game with a 3-of- 6 shooting performance, including making three of her five 3-point attempts.
York’s second 3-pointer gave the Lady Tigers a 12-4 advantage in the wire-to-wire victory, and admittedly, the early baskets were critical.
“I think those shots really got us momentum,” she said. “Then, we just kept it throughout the game.”
Ellison senior Madison Hattix-Covington finished second in the poll, receiving 742 votes — 85 fewer than York. The forward posted a game-high 23 points, including a 7-of- 8 showing late at the free throw line, helping the Lady Eagles upset then-No. 8 Waco Midway.
Senior forwards Shianne Johnson, of Killeen, and Makayla Gatewood, of Shoemaker, rounded out the nominees.
Johnson scored 12 of the Lady Kangaroos’ first 15 points and finished with a game-high 26 points, propelling Killeen to a 64-35 victory against Harker Heights.
Gatewood scored all but one of her game-high 18 points in the second half after surviving early foul trouble, allowing the Lady Grey Wolves to open district competition with a 54-49 win against San Angelo Central.
Knowing the level of competition she was up against makes the award even more meaningful to York.
“Receiving this award is a huge accomplishment,” she said, “because those are some outstanding basketball players, and I really look up to Madison.
“Just having the opportunity to compete against them is a huge honor.”