Malia Tate-DeFreitas is leaving opposing coaches with one final reminder of just how much of a problem she was on the basketball court.
While making all-state even once is extremely difficult, Tate-DeFreitas made it look as ridiculously easy as she did putting the ball in the basket. Steelton-Highspire’s 5-foot-8 guard averaged 34.8 points during her senior year — scoring more than 1,000 points — and she was voted the Pennsylvania Sports Writers Girls Basketball Player of the Year for an unprecedented 3rd time in Class A.
Archbishop Carroll’s Sarah Curran (AAAA), Hopewell’s Shatori Walker-Kimbrough (AAA) and Episcopal Academy’s Megan Quinn (AA) garnered player of the year honors in their respective classifications in the poll of statewide media. Spring-Ford’s Jeff Rinehimer, South Park’s Reggie Wells, Bishop Canevin’s Tim Joyce and Tri-Valley’s Bob Felty Jr. were voted coaches of the year after guiding their respective teams to PIAA championships.
“It means a lot, because I think it shows I did a pretty good job helping and trying to lead my team,” said Tate-DeFreitas. “We won three (District 3) titles and two state titles -- I only wish I could have won one more my senior year.”
A recruit of NCAA Division I Hampton, Tate-DeFreitas is making her 4th appearance overall on the Class A 1st Team. Despite an ACL injury early in her scholastic career, Tate-DeFreitas still finished with 3,366 points, 2nd only to Mount Carmel’s Maria Fantanarosa on the all-time state list.
Tate-DeFreitas scored a career-high 54 points in a 69-62 loss to Class AAAA Harrisburg on Feb. 4.
Even with all her accomplishments, Tate-DeFreitas had plenty of competition for the Class A award. Fellow first-teamers Tara Nahodil (Seton Hall) of Tri-Valley, Alex Ricketts (Akron) of Kennedy Catholic and Halee Adams (Siena) of Bishop Guilfoyle also are Division I college recruits. So are North Catholic’s Lauren Wolosik (Central Connecticut State), Bishop Guilfoyle’s Kayla Bates (Mount St. Mary’s) and Shipley’s Sox Alexander (St. Joseph’s). Wolosik made 2nd Team, while Bates and Alexander made the 3rd Team.
Ricketts, who scored 1,420 career points was part of a group that won back-to-back-to-back District 10 championships and will play college hoops for the Zips.
KC went 24-3 and was knocked out in the PIAA western region quarterfinals by Vincentian Academy for the 2nd straight year.
A phone call to KC coach Tom Burns was not returned to The Herald.
Sharpsville High senior standout McKenzie Popatak was named a 3rd Team selection in Class AA. She set a girls all-time school record with 1,690 points. The Blue Darlings (18-9) fell to Burrell in the 2nd round of the PIAA playoffs.
“I’m happy for Mac and very proud of her for all of her accomplishments,” said Sharpsville coach Jeff Hanley. “I can rattle off all the stats and all the post season accomplishments but I’ll leave that up to others.
“What I will mention is the great will, desire and heart ‘Mac’ possesses. Leadership starts at the top of a team and McKenzie and Natalie Henwood provided that for us.
“Mac led and believed the more honor and respect among players the greater the team and it’s the reason we made the Sweet 16. The talent of the players is vital but the character and committment gets you over the top. That is why I’m so proud of McKenzie. She certainly made life easier for me as she would score 25 points with 12 rebounds on any given night, but the person she has become over the past seven years makes me very proud.”
PIAA champion Tri-Valley, which stopped Tate-DeFreitas and Steel-High in the state semifinals, still had a strong showing on the Class A squad. In addition to Felty winning coach of the year, Nahodil and four-time all-state pick Weber pushed Tate-DeFreitas for player of the year. Vincentian sophomore Brenna Wise rounded out the 1st Team.
Curran, a Drexel recruit who helped Archbishop Carroll compile a 95-20 record in her 4 years, edged out Cardinal O’Hara senior forward Shanice Johnson and Spring-Ford junior point guard Sammy Stipa for player of the year in AAAA. North Penn’s Lauren Crisler, Boyertown’s Kaitlyn Eisenhard, Cumberland Valley’s Jackie Falconer, Fox Chapel’s Erin Mathias and Reading’s Isis Thorpe joined them on the 1st Team. All but Mathias, who has committed to Duke, are seniors. In addition to the honors for Rinehimer and Stipa, Spring-Ford had two players on the 3rd Team: forwards Shelby Mueller and Sarah Payonk.
Walker-Kimbrough is making her 3rd appearance on the AAA 1st Team. The 5-foot-11 senior was the decisive winner when it came to voting for player of the year, and with good reason: the Maryland recruit and Gatorade Player of the Year for the state averaged 28.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 6.8 steals as Hopewell made the 2nd round of the state tournament before losing to eventual champion South Park by 4.
“Her ability in the open floor is something you don’t see very often in girl basketball,” Hopewell coach Jeff Homziak said of Walker-Kimbrough. “A lot of guys coaches said she would fit right in on their boys’ teams ... She’s a special kid.”
Bethlehem Catholic sophomore Kalista Walters had the next most votes, followed closely by Lancaster Catholic senior Porscha Speller and South Park senior Shelby Lindsay. Notre Dame Academy’s Megan McGurk and Blackhawk sophomore Chassidy Omogrosso comprised the rest of the AAA 1st Team.
Quinn, a Villanova recruit, headlined the AA team after leading Episcopal to its 1st Inter-Ac and Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association championships. The 1st Team also included 3 players from the WPIAL (PIAA District 7) — Seton-LaSalle’s Naje Gibson, Jeannette’s Ciara Gregory and Bishop Canevin’s Erin Waskowiak — along with Morgan Klunk of PIAA runner-up York Catholic and Becky Evans of Pine Grove.
Lauren Crisler, North Penn, 6-2, Sr., 15.3 ppg
Sarah Curran, Archbishop Carroll, 6-0, Sr., 15.1
Kaitlyn Eisenhard, Boyertown, 6-1, Sr., 15.7
Jackie Falconer, Cumberland Valley, 6-1, Sr., 15.7
Shanice Johnson, Cardinal O’Hara, 6-1, Sr., 11.9
Erin Mathias, Fox Chapel, 6-3, Jr., 17.1
Sammy Stipa, Spring-Ford, 5-5, Jr., 11
Isis Thorpe, Reading, 5-8, Sr., 19.4
Victoria Blackburn, Hershey, 5-7, Sr., 15.4
CaLee Gelbaugh, Central Dauphin East, 5-8, Jr., 18.8
Emily Gingrich, Gov. Mifflin, 5-8, Sr., 16.7
Alexis Hofstaedter, Council Rock South, 5-8, Sr., 15
Alex Louin, Mount St. Joseph, 5-11, Jr., 15.8
Megan Marecic, Bethel Park, 5-11, Jr., 15.8
Mia Farmer, Cardinal O’Hara, 5-9, Jr., 11.5
Morgan Griffith, Hollidaysburg, 6-0, Sr., 14.9
Alayah Hall, Dover, 5-7, Jr., 15.5
Darby Lee, Altoona, 6-0, Jr., 18.8
Avery Marz, Wilson, 5-7, Jr., 10.7
Shelby Mueller, Spring-Ford, 5-10, Jr., 10.7
Sarah Payonk, Spring-Ford, 5-11, Sr., 10.3
PLAYER OF YEAR: Curran.
COACH OF YEAR: Jeff Rinehimer, Spring-Ford
Shelby Lindsay, South Park, 5-11, Sr., 17.8
Megan McGurk, Notre Dame de Namur, 5-7, Sr., 19
Chassidy Omogrosso, Blackhawk, 5-5, So., 22.4
Porscha Speller, Lancaster Catholic, 5-8, Sr., 18.6
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, Hopewell, 5-11, Sr., 28.3
Kalista Walters, Bethlehem Catholic, 6-0, So., 19.4
Gia DeAngelo, Sun Valley, 5-8, Sr., 21.5
Mia Hopkins, Pittston Area, 6-0, Sr., 18
Karlee McBride, Erie Villa Maria, 5-10, Sr., 13.9
Lisa Mirarchi, Malvern Villa Maria, 5-8, Sr., 15
Alyssa Monaghan, Bonner-Prendergast, 5-5, So., 18.3
Angelina Starr, Franklin, 5-9, Jr., 16.9
Camden Boehner, Gettysburg, 5-7, Jr., 20.8
Tricia Byrne, Scranton Prep, 5-6, Jr., 15.6
Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Notre Dame de Namur, 5-8, Sr., 17.4
Casey Gallaher, Forest Hills, 5-3, Sr., 18.9
Ciera Nimmons, Prep Charter, 5-8, Jr., 14.2
Carly Richardson, Palmyra, 5-11, Jr., 15.4
Rebecca Rutkowski, Crestwood, 6-1, Jr., 16.6
Jessica Slagus, Belle Vernon, 6-0, Sr., 19.8
Sara Tarbert, Kennard-Dale, 5-11, Sr., 24.2
PLAYER OF YEAR: Walker-Kimbrough.
COACH OF YEAR: Reggie Wells, South Park
Becky Evans, Pine Grove, 5-4, Jr., 19
Naje Gibson, Seton-LaSalle, 6-0, Jr., 13.5
Ciara Gregory, Jeannette, 5-7, Sr., G, 30.4
Morgan Klunk, York Catholic, 5-11, Sr., 17.1
Megan Quinn, Episcopal, 6-2, Sr., 18.5 Erin Waskowiak, Bishop Canevin, 5-11, Sr., 15.6
Alex Artise, North East, 5-9, sr., 16
Carly Forse, Bishop Canevin, 5-10, Sr., 13.8
Kiernan McCloskey, Germantown Academy, 6-1, Sr., 15.1
Reighly Melochick, Minersville, 5-9, Jr., 19.7
Sammie Weiss, McGuffey, 5-10, So., 26.6
Brooke Hinderliter, Redbank Valley, 5-6, Fr., 20.4
Lori Horton, Williamson, 6-5, Jr., 16.6
Mackenzie Livingston, Blairsville, 5-7, Sr., 19.9
Stacey MacArthur, Delco Christian, 5-5, Sr., 12.5
Emily Merryman, Cranberry, 5-5, Jr., 22.3
Christina Perles, Mount Carmel, 5-10, Sr., 17.4
McKenzie Popatak, Sharpsville, 5-9, Sr., 21.8
PLAYER OF YEAR: Quinn.
COACH OF YEAR: Tim Joyce, Bishop Canevin
Halee Adams, Bishop Guilfoyle, 5-8, Sr., 16.1
Tara Nahodil, Tri-Valley, 6-4, Sr., 18.5
Alex Ricketts, Kennedy Catholic, 5-11, Sr., 17.5
Malia Tate-DeFreitas, Steelton-Highspire, 5-8, Sr., 34.8
Juli Weber, Tri-Valley, 5-7, Sr., 14.8
Brenna Wise, Vincentian, 6-1, So., F, 22.3
Macey Hollenshead, Southern Fulton, 5-7, Jr., 17.2
Justine Seely, Benton, 6-2, Sr., 27.9
Kayla Stockenus, Shanksville-Stonycreek, 5-6, Sr., 31
Meghan Trenholm, St. John Neuman,, Jr., 18.9
Mariah Ward, Monessen, 5-7., Sr., 18.4
Lauren Wolosik, North Catholic, 5-10, Sr., 26
Tamesha “Sox” Alexander, Shipley, 5-6, Jr., 13.5
Kayla Bates, Bishop Guilfoyle, 5-8, Sr., 10.2
Morgan Berardi, Carmichaels, 5-6, Sr., 17.3
Maria Morgan, Bucktail, 5-6, So., 28.3
Lauren Carey, Old Forge, 5-7, Jr., 13.8
PLAYER OF YEAR: Tate-DeFreitas.
COACH OF YEAR: Bob Felty, Tri-Valley