5 area girls earn basketball all-state.
By: Chris Masse | Williamsport Sun-Gazette | April 25, 2018
By: Chris Masse | Williamsport Sun-Gazette | April 25, 2018
Shayna McNamee walked past the all-state photographs hanging above her as she approached the St. John Neumann each day the last four years.
Once upon a time, she thought that wall was for other athletes. Now she is looking back at herself. And now she has earned quite an honor again.
McNamee earned Class A all-state honors for a second straight year Tuesday, joining four other area players who now can always return to their schools and know they have carved out unique parts in their programs' histories. McNamee earned second team honors and was joined by Sullivan County's Mykenzie Malacusky and Jessica King who were third team all-state selections. Jersey Shore's Hannah Kauffman earned third team Class AAAA honors and Wellsboro's Tory Self was a second team Class AAA selection.
"I always thought it was so cool to have my picture hanging but realistically I never thought I would make it. Last year was such a complete surprise to me. This is the absolute perfect way to end my senior year," McNamee said. "Even though I never won a play off game, this all-state honor makes it all worth it and is the greatest honor I've received. Basketball is so close to my heart and receiving all state is the perfect way to end my career."
What a career it was, too. McNamee was a four-year starter and will graduate as one of the program's all-time leading scorers. She earned Mid-Penn Conference MVP honors last winter, averaging 17.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.1 steals per game. McNamee consistently shredded defenses designed to slow her, topped 20 points 12 times and also was among team leaders in every major statistical category.
Just as impressive as McNamee's talent was her will. She often played her best in the most pressure-packed moments and helped Neumann reach the playoffs in each of her last three seasons.
"To earn this honor for the second straight year means the world to me. I never expected to get all-state, let alone two years in a row," McNamee said. "This really shows me that hard work pays off. This recognition is a great honor to me and it means so much to receive it two years in a row."
Kauffman knows all about hard work and could have a shot to join McNamee as a two-time all-state selection at this time next year. The prolific junior guard is the first Jersey Shore player to earn all-state honors in the 2000s and has improved each season there, helping the Bulldogs become a playoff mainstay after the program had experienced so many hard times over the previous decade.
"It's a great honor to be named to the third team Class AAAA all-state team. It's a really special feeling to know that all my hard work doesn't go unnoticed," Kauffman said. "I try to be an all-around player and be very unselfish with the basketball because it takes everyone on a team to be strong and unstoppable. I couldn't have done it without such a great team and coaching staff. They are constantly pushing me and wanting me to do better."
Kauffman followed two strong seasons with her best yet as a junior. The three-year starter averaged 19 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.4 steals per game. She can score in nearly every way imaginable, already has topped 1,000 career points and hit a series of clutch late-game shots to help a young Jersey Shore team win 15 games. Kauffman showed how explosive she is in the season opener when she scored 43 points against a stifling Hughesville defense that carried it to the District 4 Class AAA championship.
Whether scoring, passing, rebounding or defending, Kauffman found a way to help Jersey Shore each game and is a big reason the team has made three straight playoff appearances. Earning all-state honors likely will only provide her more motivation to keep elevating her game.
"I put a lot of time into the game of basketball, trying to better myself and it's something I'm passionate about," Kauffman said. "This season has really opened up my game all around and next year I expect none the less. I'm always reaching for another goal that I have set for myself and I hope that my team and I can come out strong next season. Next season I want to accomplish more and grow as a player. There's always room for improvement and growth."
No matter where he basketball journey has taken her, Self has experienced that similar growth. The Wellsboro point guard likely is one of the few players in the U.S. to ever earn all-state honors in three different states. Before moving to Wellsboro in the offseason, Self was a two-time all-state selection as a freshman and sophomore in Florida and a West Virginia all-stater as a junior.
Self wasted no time making a major impact at Wellsboro, leading the area in scoring (20.4 points), assists (5.5) and steals (5.4). The senior who has received an offer to play Division I basketball at Liberty, recorded six double-doubles and a triple-double in her final scholastic game. She is hoping to make a college decision by May after helping Wellsboro win 22 games and the NTL-I championship.
"I was very blessed to be able to receive this great accolade as I constantly stayed after hours and pushed it in the gym. It's refreshing to know that my hard work over the years has finally paid off," Self said. "I was grateful having been able to play with such a great group of girls. This was a great way to close out my senior year and I wouldn't have wanted to play on any other team."
Sullivan County put together the best season in program history and Malacusky and King were major reasons why. Malacusky, like Self, moved to a new school and made a major impact. She helped Pottsville Nativity reach the second round of states in 2017 and did the same at Sullivan this past year. Malacusky excelled on both ends of the court, averaging 14.3 points, 4 steals and 2.4 assists per game. She led the team in scoring and steals and consistently opened up a potent inside game with her outside shooting and ability to beat opponents off the dribble.
King showed good promise as a freshman a year ago and developed into an inside force. Together, Malacusky and King helped a deep and versatile team win 22 games, a second straight Mid-Penn championship and the first state tournament game in program history. King averaged 9.6 points, 12.1 rebounds, 2.7 blocked shots and 2.3 steals per game. She recorded 11 double-doubles, including in the second round of states when she had 13 points and 16 rebounds against District 4 champion Lourdes.