By Angel Verdejo
Killeen Daily Herald
MVP - Jasmine Baugus, Killeen High
Few arguments can be made against statements that start with "the best player in the area was" and end with Killeen High's Jasmine Baugus.
Simply put, the senior did a little bit of everything for the District 25-4A co-champion Lady Roos, and most of that very well.
Scoring? Baugus led Killeen, averaging 16.1 points per game, which includes a stretch at the Bush's Chicken Holiday Classic where she scored at least 17 points in three of four games and had 25 in the championship game.
Rebounding? The 5-foot-10 forward nearly pulled down eight rebounds a game. That goes along with the two assists and nearly three steals Baugus averaged as well.
And Baugus also headlined the area's talented senior class when she signed with Texas State in November.
That's why Baugus was the Herald's pick as player of the year.
"Basketball is pretty good around here, so to be MVP, that's really good for me," Baugus said.
Baugus will likely say farewell to her point-guard days when she heads off to college, but for someone who played every position on the floor this season, Baugus did enjoy her time at the point.
"I like having control of the court," she said. "It felt good because I determined what happens next."
ALL-AREA FIRST TEAM
Desiree Nelson, Copperas Cove
The do-it-all senior just made her college plans official this week when she committed to North Texas on Wednesday.
Nelson will head to the Mean Green next year coming off a senior season where she was named the District 12-5A defensive most valuable player as well as being an all-region selection by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches.
On a Copperas Cove team that started the season short on experience, especially in the backcourt, Nelson stepped up and took on additional responsibility. She led the Lady Dawgs in scoring (15.7 points per game), doing so while also filling in at point guard during crucial times.
McKamie Place, Gatesville
Place and 20-point performances became quite regular during District 7-3A play, helping the junior to a couple of Herald Player-of-the-Week honors, but more importantly, was being named the district's most valuable player and an all-region pick by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches.
The junior led Gatesville in scoring (15.2 points per game) and in steals per game, while finishing second in the team in rebounding. Place also led the area in 3-point shooting, hitting on close to 40 percent of her attempts.
Place scored 20 points in Gatesville's playoff loss to Iowa Park and closed out the regular season with a four-game stretch where she scored 19 or more in each game.
Hadley Joiner, Salado
The third-year most valuable player in District 25-2A, Joiner wore a lot of hats during her junior season as Salado dealt with a bevy of injuries to key starters. Losing fellow juniors Brennan Boydstun and Jenna Sebek to ACL tears, Joiner handled the ball as the team's primary point guard and shooting guard, as well as providing the on-court leadership.
Averaging 15.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.3 steals and shooting 35 percent from the 3-point line, Joiner helped the Lady Eagles to their fourth straight District 25-2A title and was rewarded with her second straight Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class 2A girls all-state honor.
Desiree Wylie, Ellison
After missing much of her junior year recovering from an early season knee injury, Wylie worked tirelessly to make up for it her senior year.
Earning an Class 5A all-state recognition from Texas Girls Coaches Association, the Lady Eagles post did her best work in and around the boards, using a will and tenacity in the paint to average a double-double per contest with a team-leading 15.5 points and 12.2 rebounds. Along with fellow all-district 12-5A first team selection Alisha Jones, Wylie led Ellison to the playoffs where it lost 52-33 to No. 9 Mesquite Horn in their Region II bi-district game.
Alisha Jones, Ellison
A four-year varsity contributor along with fellow senior Desiree Wylie, Jones led a veteran Lady Eagles squad that never quite lived up to its own high expectations. Manning the point for Ellison, it was Jones' duty to control the pace and flow of the Lady Eagles offense, which she did quite effortlessly.
A first-team all-district 12-5A selection for the second season in a row, Jones was the steady force that kept Ellison running smoothly while leading the team in assists.
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
Shanice Davis, Harker Heights
A year removed from struggling through a seven-win season, the Lady Knights more than doubled both their overall (15-18) and district (5-9) records thanks in large part to the play of Davis.
Leading Heights in scoring with around 13 points and 3 steals per game, Davis was named District 12-5A's newcomer of the year. With the ability to penetrate to the rim and score consistently, Davis complemented the 3-point shooting of fellow sophomore Brianna Golden – last season's lone freshman to make the District 12-5A first team – and the Lady Knights' improvement put them on the cusp of playoff contention.
ALL-AREA SECOND TEAM
HAILEY ROSEBROCK, Belton
KIARA RAWLS, Shoemaker
TAMEEKA RANDALL, Killeen
BRIANNA GOLDEN, Harker Heights
ANGELIQUE CAMPBELL, Copperas Cove