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April 6, 2013

KT All-Area girls basketball team

Eastern's Brittany Neeley is MVP


Kokomo — Second team

Lela Crawford, Tipton

A junior guard without a strictly defined role, Crawford was used in a variety of ways offensively and defensively. She responded by averaging 12.9 ppg and 9 rpg in addition to snagging 50 steals.

“Lela’s probably one of the greatest competitors I’ve ever coached,” Comer said. “She’s probably undersized, she’s not as strong as a lot of kids out there, but she has an incredible will to win and that’s such an important part of who we’ve become as a team because of her drive to succeed, which obviously starts at home.”

Crawford is the younger sister of senior Mike Crawford, Tipton’s all-time leading scorer on the boys side.

“Offensively, she’s such a gifted athlete, we were able to, depending on the matchups, use her in the open court, stretch the defense a lot,” Comer said. “She really improved her perimeter game this year. She’s a good ball handler so she was able to play a bunch of different spots. Defensively, she really understands game plans and game management.”

Josie Murphy, Peru

The second-year point guard made big strides as a sophomore, getting more efficient on offense. She led the Bengals in scoring at 14.6 ppg and dished a team-best 47 assists.

“She’s improved mentally and seeing the court better, getting the ball where it needs to go,” Peru coach David Weeks said. “Her shot selection has gotten a lot better as well. She’s not forcing certain shots, she’s pulling up and hitting 10-to-12-foot jump shots. She’s a team leader for us on the floor.

“A lot of times as teams scouted us, they’d try to double her up or definitely put their best defender on her. I guess you’d say she grew up quickly understanding you’re going to get the other teams’ best, game in and game out. As the season progressed, she understood that was going to happen and let the game come to her instead of force things.”

Caitlyn O’Neal, Western

She moved into a starting role as a junior and responded with 9.5 points per game and 63 steals as a combo guard in a three-guard backcourt. Like her twin sister, she brings a blend of items to the table.

“She’s a real good ballhandler and can play the point or two guard for us, good defender,” Keisling said. “She’s got a great motor. She just goes and goes and goes and can consistently go hard for a long period of time.

“In addition to that, she led us at the free throw line shooting [71.9] percent, and would have her moments too where she was explosive and scored the ball.”

Kaitlin Ragan, Carroll

A do-everything senior guard, Ragan led the Cougars in scoring at 12.5 ppg and steals 3.3 per game and was the person Carroll leaned on when the team needed an injection of grit. That meant playing down low in Carroll’s 2-3 zone defense, and making up for others when teammates were injured.

“She was just a hard-nosed winner,” said Carroll coach Mike McCroskey, who stepped down recently after six straight winning seasons with the Flora crew. “In her four years, compounded by this year, she probably hit more big shots in big games than any kid I coached except Quinci Eller.

“Even though she’s only 5-3, 5-4, she did a little of everything for us. She was an outstanding defensive player, a good rebounder. She ended up shooting [55] percent from 2-point range, which for a small kid is rare, but it’s because she attacked the basket so hard.”

Hannah Treadway, Northwestern

Northwestern’s senior post capped her career by leading the team in scoring at 10.4 ppg and leading in rebounding at 6.2 rpg. She displayed a wider variety of offensive options and got more sturdy defensively.

“Hannah is predominantly an inside force, but I think what she was able to offer this season as well was an outside shot,” NW coach Kathie Layden said. “She worked hard at developing other aspects of her game just to make her more versatile for us.

“She led us in scoring and rebounds but I would say she worked equally hard on being a great defensive player. Hannah always gives 100 percent every time she steps on the court. Hannah was a tremendous leader for us this season on and off the court.”

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