Player of the Week-Sarah Kate Kelarek-Salado

Wade Weihausen, left, manager of the Freddy’s Steakburgers restaurant in Harker Heights, presents the Freddy’s-KDHpressbox.com Player of the Week award to Salado basketball player Sarah Kate Kelarek, center. and Salado head coach Diane Konarik.

Sarah Kate Kelarek had no doubt.

After recording a game-high 25 points in a double-overtime victory at Lampasas and scoring 10 points against Leander Glenn to keep Salado’s District 19-4A record perfect, the Lady Eagles’ guard was certain more success would follow.

On the heels of being nominated as a potential Freddy’s-KDHpressbox.com Player of the Week, Kelarek felt destined to win.

But the confidence did not stem from her performances.

“Every time a Salado player is up for player of the week,” Kelarek said, “the whole community supports us, so I had a feeling I’d win.

“This community always does its best to support its athletes.”

She was right.

Kelarek received more than half the 862 votes cast to earn the award, and despite fully expecting the outcome, it was an overwhelming feeling nonetheless.

“It is really nice to know so many people are behind you,” she said.

Kelarek’s showings on the court also played a role, though.

Trailing 34-27 to start the fourth quarter against the Lady Badgers, Kelarek spearheaded a rally, hitting critical shots at the end of regulation and in overtime before helping secure the 57-49 victory at the free-throw line in double overtime.

A couple of nights later, the Lady Eagles (8-6, 3-0) cruised to a lopsided victory against Leander Glenn as Kelarek finished with another double-digit offensive outing.

While she delivered some impressive showings, the competition was equally strong.

Ellison guard Michael Aranda was second in the poll, receiving 22.9 percent of the vote after scoring 17 of his 19 points following halftime to help beat then-No. 19 Shoemaker 59-55 in the District 8-6A opener. The senior made a trio of 3-pointers and connected on all eight of his free throws in the victory.

C.J. Giddens, of Florence, and forward Madison Hattix-Covington of state-ranked Ellison rounded out the nominees.

Against Rosebud-Lott, Giddens, a senior post, made 14 of his 19 field-goal attempts en route to a 32-point, 10-rebound double-double in a 63-47 victory, while Hattix-Covington scored a combined 28 points in district victories against San Angelo Central and Shoemaker.

“Everyone has their good nights,” Kelarek said, “and I just feel blessed to have come out of this with the most votes.

“I looked, and all the nominees had really good games, if not better than mine.”

In the end, however, Kelarek never had a doubt Salado would ensure her success.

“It is just a great feeling to know that support from the community is always there,” she said.

Contact Clay Whittington at clayw@kdhnews.com

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