SPORTS >> ALL STARS: Several local players named to All-State/Conference
Leader sports writer
Basketball season is over, but the honors and accolades are just starting to roll in. Several players from local-coverage teams made their respective leagues’ all-conference teams, while a select few were named to the All-State squad.
Leading the list of local players is Jacksonville senior Lavar Neely. Neely, a 5-11 guard, has been the team’s leading scorer for two years, and was the second-leading scorer in the AAAAA-East. His 24 points per game was second behind West Memphis’ Jason Henry.
Neely was also nominated for the All-Star team. Henry got the league’s automatic bid, but Neely made the list of top-five league players to be considered for invitations to the summer classic.
The Cabot girls, who won the AAAAA-East with a perfect 14-0 record, put three players on the All-State team, led by senior Kim Sitzmann. Sitzmann, who signed an NCAA letter of intent early with UALR, is also up for All-Star consideration.
Sitzmann was joined by junior guards Maddie Helms and Jamie Sterrenberg on the All-State list.
Jacksonville senior post player Tarneshia Scott also made the AAAAA-East All-State team.
Lonoke senior guard Meaghan Kelleybrew is also up for All-Star consideration. She made the All-State team after averaging 13 points, four rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.2 blocks, 1.4 steals and shooting 70 percent from the free-throw line.
Her point and block averages, as well as her free-throw percentage, led the Lady Jackrabbits, who finished second behind state champion CAC in the 6AAA.
North Pulaski senior guard Tish Howell also made All-State. She averaged 18 points per game for the Lady Falcons, who finished fourth and advanced to the state playoffs from the AAAA-Southeast conference. She had a season-high 27 points against Stuttgart in a game that locked up NP’s playoff bid.
Riverview post player Cory Cooperwood is the 2AAA’s No. 1 selection for the All-Star team. Cooperwood dominated the league, averaging 25 points and 15 rebounds per game.
Twice this season Cooperwood scored 30-plus while pulling down 20-plus rebounds.
His most remarkable effort of the season came in the regional tournament against Gosnell. The 6-foot-6 post scored 35 points, grabbed 23 rebounds, blocked 10 shots and dished out 10 assists for a quadruple-double.
Across town, Searcy senior and Wichita State signee Chris Brown made the All-State team for the Lions. Brown averaged 22 points and eight rebounds this season.
Harding Academy put one boy and one girl on the All-State team. Senior post player Jessica Stevens made All-State, as well as Wildcat junior guard Alex Beene.
In an odd twist, Lady Wildcat guard Sara Montgomery was not named to the All-State team, but was nominated as the league’s top consideration for the All-Star game. She was also named to the All-State tournament team for her performance in the class AA tournament, leading the Lady Wildcats to the quarterfinal round.
Beene averaged 19 points, four rebounds, four steals and three assists per game for the Wildcats, and knocked 101 three pointers this season.
Stevens scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds per game, while Montgomery averaged 10 points and seven assists.
The list of All-conference players is even more prolific. Dozens of local players made the list.
The Jacksonville boys put Kelsey Credit and Kajuan Watson on the first-team, while Will Christian, Airic Hughes and Bryan Owens made second-team.
Lady Devil Frankie Brown made the girls All-Conference team.
Cabot junior Lindsey Watts joined the three Lady Panther All-Staters on the All-Conference first team, while senior Lauren Walker and sophomores Rachel Glover and Leah Watts made the second team.
Chad Glover, Mike Lowery and Matt Shinn were the Cabot boys All-Conference selections.
Sylvan Hills seniors Mike Gross and Ulysses Robinson made first-team All-Conference from the Bears’ state semifinal team.
Gross was also named to the All-State tournament team after averaging nearly 20 points per game in the Bears’ three tournament matchups.
Lady Jackrabbits Jenny Evans, Libby Gay and Calisha Kirk joined Kelleybrew on the 6AAA All-Conference first team, while Christy Shinn made the second-team.
Eligha Gooden and Kylon Boyd made the 6AAA first team for the Jackrabbits. Chris Moragne and Brentley Spencer made second-team. The 6AAA also makes an academic All-Conference team, and Walter Ellis and Lady Rabbit Nikki McCoy made that list.
North Pulaski’s Quinn Cooper was the Falcons’ All-Conference selection. Lady Falcons Jalecia Bateman and Lakeyshia Ridgeway joined Howell on the All-Conference team.
Riverview’s junior guard Tony Hall made the 2AAA’s first-team All-Con-ference list. He and Cooperwood were both named to the class AAA All-State tournament te-am. Harding Academy’s Nick Beene made All-Conference and was selected as one of the league’s All-Star nominees. Joining the Beene brothers on the 2-AA South All-Conference team by teammates Luke Tribble, Lance Carr and James Kee. Lady Wildcats Jennifer Kee, Rebekah Keese, Liz Ashley, Katie Cook and Taylor Pryor made the All-Conference team from the 2AA-South.