Silver Streak girls players honored

By John Ring

It was just a few weeks ago that LaToya Wright said that she couldn’t believe her name was being mentioned along with other Silver Streak greats– such as Molly Watson, Sarah Larson and Shannon Williams.

Now, it’s official.

In a poll of eight members of the broadcast and print media of Galesburg, LaToya was a unanimous winner as The Zephyrs Player of the Year for Silver Streak girls basketball.

The poll, now in it’s 13th season, has selected players such as Watson, Larson and Williams in the past.

Wright’s selection this year was hardly a shocker– LaToya led the Streaks in scoring and rebounding and she was an incredible force in the post season. In reaching the Sectional Finals, LaToya carried this team on her back.

"This was a no-brainer," said one of our voters. "LaToya was their most valuable everything this year. Scoring, rebounding, creating turnovers, LaToya was all over the court."

"I hope the fact that the Streaks didn’t make State in LaToya’s two years at the varsity isn’t held against her because, in a lot of ways, she was one of the best players to ever wear a Silver Streaks uniform," said another one of our panelists. "Just look at the kind of player she is now and where she was as a sophomore. It’s amazing. When she came her, she would just mostly shoot layups. Now, she can score just about anywhere. She’s going to be a good college player for somebody."

Another one of our voters summed it up for all of us.

"LaToya Wright was money in the bank."

Our winner as the Most Improved Player justified last year’s selection as the Player to Watch. Sophomore Brenna Saline captured that honor this season. Saline started the season off fast, averaging 18.8 points the first seven games of the year when Wright was absent. After a mid-season scoring slump, Saline got tougher down the stretch. Along with Wright, Saline was an All-Conference selection. "It was obvious that Brenna worked hard on her game last summer," said one of our voters. "The thing about her is during a game, if she gets in a groove, she’s a scoring machine. She draws fouls, she has a nice jump shot and can create some shots."

"Brenna is going to be one of the go-to players next season," said another voter. "You could see that this year, especially early. When the team got in trouble, they went to Brenna."

Our Defensive Stopper winner also went to LaToya Wright, who found herself not only guarding post players several inches taller than her but sometimes guards. In Galesburg’s Regional Championship win, LaToya guarded Jamia Malone in the fourth quarter. LaToya’s selection for this award was unanimous as well.

The Player to Watch category is always an interesting one. Our voters are

asked to pick one player who they think will make the biggest impact on the basketball program down the road. This year was no different. Four different players received votes but our winner was freshman point guard Taylor Young. "I considered five different players but I went with Taylor because of the position she plays and her potential there," said one of our voters. "Taylor’s an exciting player to watch because right now, she can do things that a lot of our point guards have been unable to do because of her athleticism."

"Lia Anderson has great potential if she develops her shot," said another voter. "She could become a scoring machine down low and she’s already one of the teams best rebounders. Rachel Pendry has a world of potential. Kelly Ricketts is right there. Kylie Cavanah played very well this year. It’s a tough choice but a nice problem to have."

"This was the toughest call for me to make but I went with Taylor," said another voter. "She’s fun to watch. She doesn’t seem to back down. She got knocked around a lot this year but she got up and kept on going and for a freshman, that’s a big thing to see. The physical play of the Western Big 6 didn’t bother her."



Previous Zephyr Player of the Year Winners

2005 LaToya Wright

2004 Jenna Bicego

2003 Amanda Gunther

2002 Shannon Williams

2001 Sarah Pacheco

2000 Megan Pacheco

1999 Sarah Larson

1998 Sarah Larson

1997 Molly Watson

1996 Molly Watson

1995 Bonny Apsey

1994 Stefanie Mitchell

    1. Ann Henderson