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Lady Devils junior Thompson Southwest Virginia POY

Kevin Mays • Mar 16, 2020 at 4:30 PM

Sarah Thompson was key to Gate City winning the VHSL Class 2 girls basketball championship this season, scoring 19 points and grabbing eight rebounds in the Lady Blue Devils’ 64-54 win over Luray last week.

The junior team leader, who already has surpassed the 1,000-mark for her career, is the 2019-20 Times News Southwest Virginia Player of the Year.

A first-team all-state selection last year, Thompson also earned Region 2D and Mountain 7 District player of the year recognition and she is a likely candidate for the all-state team again this season.

For the season, Thompson averaged 16.8 points, 6 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.4 steals per game.

She’s getting looks from NCAA Division I programs like East Tennessee State and Radford.

Kelly Houseright is the Times News Southwest Virginia Coach of the Year after guiding the Lady Blue Devils to their first state title since 2006.

Under Houseright’s tutelage, Gate City defeated three straight regional champions in the postseason on the way to capturing the championship trophy.

Joining Thompson on the 2019-20 All-Southwest Virginia squad are Abingdon’s Peyton Carter, Eastside’s Kaylee Yates, Union’s Jayda Smith, Eastside’s Anna Whited and Thomas Walker’s Lakin Burke.

The defensive player of the year is Union’s Emili Brooks and the underclassman of the year is Ridgeview sophomore Brooklyn Frazier.

The second team features three seniors, John Battle’s Bethany Smith, Union’s Heather Lipps and Wise Central’s Hannah Carter, and two sophomores, Kaylee Jones of J.I. Burton and Haley Sutherland of Ridgeview.

PEYTON CARTER, ABINGDON

Carter, who plans on playing at NCAA Division I Tennessee Tech next season, led the Lady Falcons deep into the Class 3 postseason.

The leading scorer in girls basketball in Abingdon history, Carter averaged 21.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 3 steals per game.

KAYLEE YATES, EASTSIDE

Yates averaged 19.6 points per game — scoring over 500 this past season alone — while surpassing 1,000 for her high school career. Yates, who signed to play at Alice Lloyd next season, also averaged 11.5 points per game this season.

JAYDA SMITH, UNION

Smith was a force inside for the Lady Bears. In helping power Union to the Region 2D championship, Smith averaged 15 points and 9 rebounds per game.

ANNA WHITED, EASTSIDE

The Cumberland District player of the year, Whited averaged 16.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4 steals per game during a season in which she surpassed the 1,000-point mark for her career.

LAKIN BURKE, THOMAS WALKER

Burke, a sophomore, continued her already solid career as a

second-year starter. She averaged 16.5 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals and 7 deflections per game.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Emili Brooks, Union

Brooks, who closed out her Lady Bears career having scored over 1,100 points, broke the school record with 108 steals this season with an average of 3.7 per game.

Brooks averaged 12 points and 5 rebounds per game her senior season.

UNDERCLASSMAN OF THE YEAR

Brooklyn Frazier, Ridgeview

Frazier was a big impact player for the Wolfpack in her sophomore year.

She finished the season averaging 14 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 3 steals per game.

SECOND TEAM

KAYLEE JENKINS, J.I. BURTON

Jenkins, a sophomore, averaged 17.7 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.2 steals and 5 assists per game for the Lady Raiders.

Jenkins finished with 407 points for the season.

HALEY SUTHERLAND, RIDGEVIEW

Sutherland played big in the middle for Ridgeview.

She finished her sophomore season averaging double figures in points (13.6 per game) and rebounds (10.4 per game).

BETHANY SMITH, JOHN BATTLE

Smith, the senior leader for the Lady Trojans, averaged 12.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3 assists per game this past season.

Smith plans to play volleyball at Virginia-Wise in the fall.

HEATHER LIPPS, UNION

The Lady Bears’ long-distance ace, Lipps holds school 3-point shooting records for a game, a season and a career.

Lipps averaged 10 points and 4 rebounds per game during her senior campaign.

HANNAH CARTER, WISE CENTRAL

Despite a rebuilding year for Central, Carter still compiled a strong senior season.

Carter finished with averages of 12 points and 9 rebounds per game and surpassed the 1,000-point career mark.

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