Liberty girls' domination reflects in all-conference basketball awards
It may not have ended well, but it could've been worse.
Despite Liberty's season coming to an end in the state semifinals by way of COVID-19, the Falcons' historic season was recognized by the Pacific Conference, whose all-league teams were announced in recent weeks.
Liberty placed three girls on the all-league first team, another on the second and two more on the honorable mention list in the wake of a season that saw the Falcons win the conference with a perfect 12-0 record, finish 24-3 overall and cruise to the state semis before the tournament was cancelled.
Topping the list of Falcon honorees was junior guard Taylin Smith, who was named the conference's Player of the Year. Smith averaged 15.2 points and 3.5 steals per game this season, ending the year with a 21-point, five 3-point performance in a state quarterfinal win over Mountainside before the tournament was dropped due to COVID-19. Smith was joined on the all-league first team by teammates Bella Hamel and a fellow guard, junior Livia Knapp. Hamel was also named the conference's Co-Defensive Player of the Year with Forest Grove's Amanda Rebsom. In addition, the Falcons' senior post Clara Robbins was a second team selection, and two fellow seniors, post Breeze Bartle and guard Talia Kahakai-Wyatt, were honorable mention.
Forest Grove's Rebsom, who averaged 11 points and three steals per game, was also a first team all-league selection — no surprise to Vikings head coach Dan Lumpkin.
"Amanda had a great junior year," he said. "She led us in scoring and was a terrific defender, oftentimes guarding the top offensive players on the opposing team."
Joining Rebsom in a group of decorated Forest Grove players was senior post Olivia Grosse, senior guards Kayleen Dominguez and Ashlynn Dawson and sophomore Lily Everson, all of whom were honorable mention selections.
"Olivia was a great leader for us this season …K ayleen was a tough competitor and aggressive defender … and Ashlynn was a solid and strong point guard," Lumpkin said. "And Lily had a fantastic sophomore year. She was the point of our pressure defense and got a lot of steals and deflections that led to easy baskets."
Century senior post Amy Walkenhorst was also a first team selection, and McMinnville's Kylee Arzner rounded out the first-teamers.
Glencoe was led by junior guard Bella Martinez, who was a second team selection.
"I'm super proud of Bella," Glencoe head coach Kassi Conditt said. "She was asked to fill some big shoes this season including a leadership role on the team, and she did a great job. Bella lives and breathes basketball and it shows in the way she plays."
In addition to Martinez, the Crimson Tide's Brianna Ball, Jolanda Wiesboeck and Jayda Lee were all honorable mention. Conditt spoke highly of both Ball and Wiesboeck, and to Lee regarding her improvement both before and during the season.
"Jayda Lee had a breakout season for us," Conditt said. "Our record doesn't complement her improvements this season, which is unfortunate, but she became a scorer and a great defender for us. Her length and athleticism were essential to our defense."
Liberty head coach Melanie Wagoner was selected as the conference's Coach of the Year. Wagoner led the Falcons to an undefeated 12-0 conference mark and a 24-3 overall record en route to the state semifinals.
The entire list of honorees can be seen below:
PACIFIC CONFERENCE GIRLS
Player of the year: Taylin Smith, Liberty
Co-defensive players of the year: Bella Hamel, Liberty; Amanda Rebsom, Forest Grove
Coach of the year: Melanie Wagoner, Liberty
Taylin Smith, Liberty, junior
Kylee Arzner, McMinnville, junior
Livia Knapp, Liberty, junior
Bella Hamel, Liberty, senior
Amanda Rebsom, Forest Grove, junior
Amy Walkenhorst, Century, senior
Sicily Hampton, Newberg, senior
Gretchen Sorenson, McMinnville, senior
Klaira Ray, Sherwood, sophomore
Bella Martinez, Glencoe, junior
Clara Robbins, Liberty, senior
Olivia Grosse, Forest Grove, senior
Ashley Kosmicki, Newberg, junior
Ava Boughey, Sherwood, senior
Jayda Lee, Glencoe, junior
Julia Leitzinger, Sherwood, senior
Kayleen Dominguez, Forest Grove, senior
Brianna Ball, Glencoe, senior
Hannah Galan, McMinnville, senior
Lily Everson, Forest Grove, sophomore
Grace Bliven, McMinnville, senior
Karly Fouche, Newberg, senior
Ashlynn Dawson, Forest Grove, senior
Joley Sproul, Sherwood, junior
Emily Boggs, McMinnville, senior
Jolanda Wiesboeck, Glencoe, senior
Breeze Bartle, Liberty, senior
Talia Kahakai-Wyatt, Liberty, senior
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