Nevada High hoopsters net All-Area accolades
A quintet of Nevada Tiger and Lady Tiger student-athletes were recently bestowed with prestigious accolades, after being tabbed to the 4-State Basketball Coaches Association (4SBCA) All-Area boys and girls teams.
The Lady Tigers received three nods. Senior point guard Call Beshore, and junior guard Alison Bower were First-Team selections, while senior guard Payge Dahmer was tabbed to the Second-Team. There's 10 selections apiece, for both the first and second teams, which encompasses student-athletes from Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas — in all classes.
Carl Junction senior Katie Scott, meanwhile, was named the All-Area girls' Player of the Year.
"I think it's amazing for us to have three girls on the All-Area team," said Lady Tiger head coach Brent Bartlett. "I'm really proud of these three young ladies. I know how hard they have worked, playing the game of basketball — and it's nice for other coaches to recognize their abilities, and recognize them with this honor."
The Nevada High boys garnered two selections, as senior forward Dalton Gayman, and junior point guard Logan Applegate were both named to the First-Team. Nevada head coach Shaun Gray said he couldn't be prouder of the two.
"They're both very deserving of the honor," Gray told the Daily Mail. "There's a lot of good basketball teams in our area. Joplin won their district, Webb City went to the state quarterfinals. Then you have a lot of the small schools that are involved in that as well. Golden City went to the (Class 1) Final Four, Sarcoxie won their Class 3 district. So, when you think about the hundreds of players that it's encompassing — it speaks to the fact that we had two guys who were considered among the best players in the area. That's something they should be proud of."
Added Gray: "It's no wonder those two are on the list, because they're two kids that spend more time in the gym than anybody else. When you combine God-given athleticism, with all that hard-work, you get a lot of success — like those two guys have had."
Averaging 24 points per-contest, Pittsburg (Kan.) Purple Dragon senior Gavyn Elkamil was named the Player of the Year. Gayman, who averaged 21.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per-game, has signed a national letter-of-intent with the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. In addition, Gayman shot 57 percent from the field, 44 percent from 3-point land, and 74 percent from the charity stripe.
"We thought Dalton should have been considered for Player of the Year," Gray said, also noting that his squad toppled the Purple Dragons, 65-61 on Dec. 10, and that Gayman outplayed Elkamil in their head-to-head matchup.
Applegate, meanwhile, averaged 16.2 points, 4.4 assists, and 2.1 steals per-game — while connecting on 42 percent from long-range, and 75 percent from the free throw line. Gray discussed the pair's maturation over the past several years.
"This was a big year for them, because as underclassmen, they both kind of inserted themselves as role players," he said. "There were First-Team All-Conference, All-Area type players on the teams ahead of them. This was the first year it was really their team, to kind of lead, and take charge of. I thought they came together pretty well. They were in the pick-and-roll together a lot, and I think they had a pretty good feel for each other."
Gray said the transition game was a major strength for his star duo.
"They were really, really good in transition," he said. "They spent a lot of time playing together last summer in open gyms. And in the fall, you could really see those two looked for each other in the transition game."