By Teddy Rydquist
Review Sports Contributor
Lake Orion Dragons junior Meghan Marshall and freshman Maddie Ebbert were among 17 players to receive All-Oakland Activities Association (OAA) White Division recognition in girls’ basketball for their performance in the 2019-20 season.
Marshall was named a member of the 12-girl All-OAA White Team, while Ebbert, along with four others, received honorable mention. The league’s coaches, who saw these girls firsthand throughout the season, voted on the honorees.
The selections were announced March 19.
Typically, this voting process, which allows coaches to campaign for why their girls should be selected, is done in-person at the end of season coaches’ meeting. This year, as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the voting was done remotely.
“With Meghan (Marshall), and I think this was indicated by the voting, she was our premier player this year,” head coach Bob Brydges shared. “Opposing coaches had to game plan for her this year, and this was the first time she had to really deal with that. In the past, she had been playing behind older kids who were more of the focus themselves.
“But, despite being the focal point of a lot of game plans, she still managed to be our leading scorer this year, as well as one of our leading rebounders, too.”
One of the largest reasons for optimism moving forward regarding Brydges’ program is the youth and returning experience the team possesses, especially in the backcourt.
Half of a dynamic duo with classmate Kylie Heck, Ebbert established herself as one of the league’s best underclasswomen in 2019-20.
“Maddie was the only freshman to be recognized as All-League or honorable mention,” Brydges pointed out. “So, that was a nice piece for her for all the work she’s put in this year. Very deserving.
“I think the first time through the league schedule, she caught a lot of people by surprise. But, after a while, people knew about her, especially for her defense. Her defensive prowess really helped us a lot as a young team.”
Heck, who was arguably one of the OAA White’s largest snubs in this process, still features as much upside as any member of the 2023 class.
“We (the coaching staff) submitted Kylie as a potential All-League candidate, too,” Brydges said. “For whatever reason, I think it was how the voting played out, the OAA White was very good this year and the voting limits you to just 12 selections.
“Not having the ability to lobby for your kids at the OAA Meeting probably resulted in some kids being overlooked who could have been honorable mention, as well. I was a little bit surprised because I thought Kylie was deserving of honorable mention, so it was a little tough for her to not get it, but there’s way more in her future. She and Maddie really came on for us in the last eight-to-ten games.”
In addition to Ebbert, Heck and Marshall, Lake Orion’s 2020-21 roster is expected to return sophomores Kacy Lauer and Katlyn Van Heck and juniors Sydney Maddox, Melissa Normand and Kiera Tierney, among others.
Graduating senior guard Grace Vukelich is the only one of the team’s top-nine scorers not expected to be back next school year.
All-OAA White Team
Senior Brala Benion – Avondale
Senior Grace Bright – Troy Athens
Senior Nicole Claerhout – Rochester Adams
Senior Isabelle Crum – Troy Athens
Senior Amelia Drahnak – Rochester Adams
Junior Lauren Gumma – Troy
Sophomore Taniah Jackson – Avondale
Senior Maya Kelly – North Farmington
Senior Keiori Lee – Avondale
Junior Meghan Marshall – Lake Orion
Junior Emma Morris – Oxford
Junior Lauren Petersmark – Rochester Adams
Junior Heaven Rogers – North Farmington
Senior Athena Samson – Troy
Sophomore Kendal Zeiter – Troy
Senior Gabby Dinges – Oxford
Junior Maddie Dolenga – Rochester Adams
Freshman Maddie Ebbert – Lake Orion
Sophomore Raigan Lawrence – Avondale
Senior Molly Simpson – North Farmington
Coach of the Year: Shay Lewis – Rochester Adams