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RHHS girls basketball hands out the hardware
Leadership Award winner Colleen Keller

The Richmond Hill High School girls basketball coaches, players and parents recently got together for an awards banquet in recognition of some of the top stars of this past season. Five individual awards were handed out.

Most Valuable Player went to Tyler Carlson. Coach Elizabeth Bennett said Carlson was not only the leader in points and attacking the basket, but she also had great defensive skills and "held this team together. She is the overall MVP for simply doing a little bit of everything when it needed to be done."

The Leadership Award went to Colleen Keller.

"Colleen was my right hand man throughout the whole season," Bennett said. "She helped me and this team tremendously. At the start of this season, she was voted team captain, and she fulfilled that role better than anyone could. Just a phenomenal athlete."

The Teammate Award went to Marisha Dunham. Bennett described this honor as the most prized award because it was voted on by the players.

"I told the team to vote for who they think is the most selfless and always positive. It’s less about basketball and more about character," Bennett said. "Marisha really exemplifies these traits. She didn’t get a whole lot of playing time, but she is very intelligent, classy and all her teammates look up to her as a person as well as an athlete."

Most Improved Player went to Shakeena Durham.

"To me this is the most interesting story of all our award winners because she actually began the season as a starter," Bennett said. "She started the whole first half, but it wasn’t until we took her starting position that she began to really shine. By the end of year, she was rebounding, shooting outside, you name it. She will be a senior next year and is going to be huge asset for us."

The Academic Award went to Alena Tyson. Tyson is the only freshman that played at the varsity level.

"Alena is one of our bigger, athletic girls and obviously a great student with around a 97 grade point average," Bennett said. "She’s mean on the court but one of the nicest people you could ever meet after the buzzer."

Bennett complimented each Lady Wildcat that played on her team as well as assistant coaches Jodi Reagan and Alex Gray. She said she is very optimistic about next year.

"This season was one of learning and growth, and we knew that going into it," she said. "The fact that we won a bunch of games was certainly a plus. I’ve been through so many seasons which includes coaching the collegiate level, and this season has been, by far, the most fun. We increasingly got better with each game and it was exciting to be apart of. The surprising part, as I look back on the season, is that these girls taught me as much as I taught them. There is so much potential here, and I can’t wait until next season."

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