Perhaps as much as any other season we have covered over the past 20 years, the selections to The Evening Sun's annual girls' basketball all-star team virtually selected themselves.
Step on to any court in which the 10 girls were playing, and within a few minutes, one would quickly surmise, "that girl is a heck of a player."
The best thing about this group is that we'll probably see most if not all of these faces next year. Seven of the 10 choices to this year's all-star team are underclassmen, and just four of the players are making a return appearance to the club.
Our incumbents are Sherburne-Earlville juniors Lilly Berg and Savannah Irwin, the number one and two scorers in Chenango County this year, and the Marauders' number one and number three all-time leading scorers. Greene junior Katie Carey, the area's number three scorer, and the other repeat selection is Bainbridge-Guilford senior Morgan Bullis, a three-year all-star and this year's Midstate Athletic Conference player of the year.
"She was selected as the MVP for a reason: She was the best player on the best team in our league," said Greene girls' basketball coach Dave Gorton, the MAC's girls' basketball coordinator, of Bullis.
Norwich earned four of our coveted 10 spots, and all four are first-time selections to this club. On that list are senior Carin Kuhn, junior Shelby Benjamin, and sophomores Meghan Komendarek and Makenzie Maynard.
Other first-time selections are Unadilla Valley three-point sniper, senior Breanna Christian, and B-G's Megan Palmatier, the only freshman named to this squad.
Two of the seven clubs we covered extensively this season earned trips to Section IV championship games – B-G and Norwich – so it is no surprise those two clubs garnered more than half of our all-star picks.
The future remains bright for those two schools, and with so many underclassmen returning overall, 2015-2016 could be even better than this past season.
As always, the all-star picks are selected by The Evening Sun sports department along with recommendations from area varsity coaches. Honorable mention selections and season statistics also appear in today's sports pages.
Morgan Bullis, sr. B-G 5-8
The most valuable player in the Midstate Athletic Conference not only led her team to a league championship, but nearly the school's second Section IV Class C title. A non-factor on offense as a freshman, Bullis could always rebound, and averaged a double-double this season (12.2 points, 11.9 rebounds) despite size that was not much more than a shooting guard. "She's one of those rare players with great leaping ability," said Greene coach Dave Gorton. "She is a very underrated, unselfish player, who actually brought the ball up for her team when it was pressed." Said head coach Bob Conway: “She was such a dynamic rebounder. I'm not sure if people realize what rebounds did for us. Morgan gave us so many more opportunities, and she limited other teams' opportunities. She will be hard to replace.”
Megan Palmatier fr., 5-7, Bainbridge-Guilford B-G - 5-7
The Bobcats' second leading scorer and rebounder proved an adept inside post player, despite being only 5-foot-7. "If you focused on Bullis, (Palmatier) would hurt you," Gorton said. "She was an effective inside player, and she hurt us a lot from the foul line." Palmatier averaged 11.9 points and 6.6 rebounds a game reaching double figures scoring 15 times reaching a season-high 20 in a playoff win over Newfield. “She's so physically strong, people had a tough time with her in the post,” Conway said. “At times we ran an offense to get her the ball because of her physical ability.
Katie Carey, jr., 6-1, Greene
Part of the new breed of six-footers, Carey is a true inside-outside scoring threat who could score in the post, face up and drive to the basket, or knock down the three. "She's a very complete basketball player," Gorton said. "She led our team in scoring and rebounding, and she was second in assists. She does a lot of things, and sacrificed personal stats for the best interest of the team." Carey was in double figures 16 times scoring a career-high 31 points against Unatego, the second highest single-game total for a local player. Carey finished with 14.9 points per game and pulled down a team-best seven rebounds a contest.