The girls basketball teams from Western and Tipton enjoyed memorable seasons. The Panthers won the Mid-Indiana Conference championship during the regular season, then roared to their first state finals appearance where they took the Class 3A championship. They finished with a 23-3 record. The Blue Devils won a Class 2A regional title and finished 18-5.
The squads’ dominance carries over to the 34th Kokomo Tribune All-Area Team.
Western guard Carley O’Neal and Tipton guard Kacie Juday lead the squad as co-MVPs. O’Neal is joined by five Panther teammates on the squad and Juday is joined by a pair of Blue Devil teammates.
The following are capsule looks at the All-Area players. Following the MVPs, the players are listed in alphabetical order within their respective teams.
Kacie Juday, Tipton, co-MVP
When Nick Comer took over Tipton’s program in the summer of 2009, he inherited a team that included a deep class of would-be juniors.
However, it was an eighth grader who most caught his eye.
Comer was taken aback by Juday’s work ethic in the weight room and on the court, attributes he referred to as a “dedication to greatness.”
Juday would go on to become the most decorated player in program history, leading the Blue Devils to 70 wins while shattering school records left and right.
After leading the area in nearly every meaningful statistical category this season, Juday shares the MVP award.
“You will not find too many teenage girls who despise losing and don’t tolerate anything short of maximum effort as much as Kacie does,” Comer said. “And never was that more clear than this season and her ability to lead our team to incredible heights that many probably didn’t believe we could achieve. She’s just an incredible young lady who’s certainly laid the foundation for what being a Lady Blue Devil is all about.”