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Four locals named to girls’ all-district hoops team

Jeff Linville jlinville@civitasmedia.com

March 17, 2014

Four local basketball players have been named to the girls’ All-District Team.


North Surry’s Malaya Johnson has been named the District 11 player of the year. Brad Mangum, Alexander Central, is the coach of the year.


District 11 includes schools from several conferences, including the Northwest, Western Piedmont and Mountain Valley.


Johnson was the Western Piedmont player of the year and was named to her third all-conference first team after being an honorable mention as a freshman.


Johnson averaged 14 points, 11 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2.5 steals and more than two blocks a game. After playing mostly center for three years, Johnson played more forward this season.


“She can defend multiple positions or patrol the paint as a shot blocker,” North coach Shane Slate wrote in nominating Johnson. “She does a fantastic job of seeing the floor.”


The 6-foot-2 senior had multiple Division I offers and chose Elon.


Joining Johnson on the first team is Surry Central’s Cassidy Joyner, a four-year all-conference player.


Joyner, a 5-foot-9 guard, barely surpassed Johnson for the scoring title in the Western Piedmont Conference at 14 points per game. She also was the conference assist leader at 4.4 per game to go with 3.7 boards and 3.3 steals.


Joyner, who signed with Lenoir-Rhyne, finished her career as the Central girls’ all-time leading scorer.


“Tremendous work ethic,” said Central coach Mandy Holt, “Great leader on and off the court.”


Rounding out the first team were Avery Locklear, South Rowan; Madi Suddreth, Alexander Central; and Karleigh White, East Rowan.


The District 11 second team includes East Surry’s Gabi Jessup, South Stokes’ Kelli Mounce and North Wilkes’ Allie Church. Also on the second unit were Kelli Fisher, East Rowan, and Marie Ritchie, Alexander Central.


Jessup is a two-time All-Northwest member who led the Lady Cards in scoring (16.9) and free throw shooting (78 percent).


The marksman led the Northwest with 67 three-pointers made and reached 1,000 career points.


“She can score in the paint as well,” noted East coach Keith Gunter. “(She) improved defensively this and was able to defend in the post and on the perimeter.” She grabbed 4.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals while handing out 2.1 assists.


Jessup signed with Meredith College.


Mount Airy’s Alex Atkins made the third team along with North Wilkes’ Ally Shumate. They are joined by Alex Allen, J.C. Carson; Cassidy Chipman, South Rowman; and Elizabeth Webb, West Iredell.


Atkins is a two-time all-conference selection who was close behind Jessup among the top 1A three-point shooters across the state.


Alex “improved her ability to drive to the basket,” wrote Mount Airy coach Howard Mayo in his nomination letter. “She has been the heart and soul of our 18-4 season.”


The 5-foot-10 senior scored 11.5 points per game despite missing some time with an injury in the middle of the season.


After being a perimeter player much of her career, Atkins spent more time in the lane on defense and led the Bears with 6.8 rebounds a game. She also had 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals.


She has been recruited by schools at the Division II, III and NAIA levels, Mayo noted.


Because of the sheer size of District 11, a lot of great players didn’t make the cut. North Wilkes’ Shumate was player of the year for the Mountain Valley Conference and only made the third team.


Local Northwest all-conference players who came up a little short of making the team were Mount Airy’s Davi Barbour and Kathryn Beasley and East Surry’s Sydney Mosley.


Western Piedmont all-conference players who didn’t make the list included North Surry’s Erin March and Jordan Badgett and Surry Central’s Sarah Bruce, Tess Dockery and Brooke Lewis.


The boys’ District 11 team is expected to be released in the next few days.