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Science Hill's Smith takes top All-NET honor

Douglas Fritz • Mar 19, 2020 at 12:00 PM

There were some nights when Alasia Smith was the best guard on the floor. Other nights, she was the best post player.

But every time she put on the Science Hill uniform, she was the most disruptive defensive force on the court.

For her outstanding 2019-20 season, Smith was chosen Wednesday as the All-Northeast Tennessee girls basketball player of the year for the Johnson City Press and Kingsport Times News. 

ALL-NORTHEAST TENNESSEE TEAM

Player of the Year — Alasia Smith, Science Hill

Coach of the Year — Leon Tolley, Johnson County

Defensive player of the year — Caroline Podvin, Unicoi County

Most promising underclassman — Lyndie Ramsey, Unaka

First team

Player School
Jaycie Jenkins Daniel Boone
Abbey Crawford Sullivan Central
Taylor Cox Johnson County
Jenna Hare Sullivan East
Morgan Headrick Elizabethton

Second team

Player School
Kaitlin Bailey Elizabethton
Kijanae Marion Science Hill
Hayley Grubb Sullivan East
Jasmine Birchfield Cloudland
Peyton Sams Sullivan Central

Also considered for the top honor was Daniel Boone’s Jaycie Jenkins.

Joining Smith on the first team were Jenkins, Sullivan Central’s Abbey Crawford, Johnson County’s Taylor Cox, Sullivan East’s Jenna Hare and Elizabethton’s Morgan Headrick.

Leading the second team was Elizabethton’s Kaitlin Bailey. She was joined by Science Hill’s Kijanae Marion, Sullivan East’s Hayley Grubb, Cloudland’s Jasmine Birchfield and Sullivan Central’s Peyton Sams.

Unicoi County’s Caroline Podvin earned her spot as the defensive player of the year while Unaka freshman Lyndie Ramsey was the pick as the most promising underclassman.

The coach of the year wasn’t a tough decision. Leon Tolley changed Johnson County’s program into something it had never been before, and the Lady Longhorns earned a trip to the Region 1-AA tournament along with a 20-win season. And although the they lost to South Greene, leading the Lady Rebels by one point in the final minute on the road clearly showed how far Tolley had taken his team.

Scottie Whaley, who led Science Hill to the Class AAA state tournament, was also considered for the honor.

Here’s are comments about what we saw from these girls this season.

ALASIA SMITH

5-11, Senior

Key per-game stats: 15.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.0 steals

She was all over the court from start to finish, changing the outcome of several important games down the stretch. Smith was a true team leader for the Lady Hilltoppers.

JAYCIE JENKINS

5-11, Senior

Key per-game stats: 20.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.4 steals

Her performance in the triple-overtime win over Jefferson County in the region semifinals was one of the most tireless individual efforts in the history of Northeast Tennessee girls basketball. Jenkins is one of the best athletes this area has seen in a while.

ABBEY CRAWFORD

6-2, Senior

Key per-game stats: 16.0 points, 8.2 rebounds

Post play may seem like a dying art in the age of 3-pointers, but the Lady Cougars rose above the crowd because of the offensive paint advantage of Crawford. Her scoring moves were the area’s best.

TAYLOR COX

5-4, Senior

Key per-game stats: 16.0 points

Every successful team needs players to consistently get the ball in the basket, and Cox was the focal point in that regard. She was a big part of lifting Johnson County from middle of the road to above average.

JENNA HARE

5-9, Freshman

Key per-game stats: 13.0 points, 9.0 rebounds

By the end of the season Hare was not only competing with the upperclassmen, she was a dominant force and a true game changer. As coaches like to say of certain players, the sky is the limit for her.

MORGAN HEADRICK

6-2, Junior

Key per-game stats: 11.0 points, 6 rebounds

It wasn’t just her steady play throughout the year, it was her ability to elevate her game at important times — as evidenced by being chosen as the Region 1-AA most valuable player.

KAITLIN BAILEY

6-2, Senior

Key per-game stats: 11.0 points, 3 assists

Measuring Bailey’s impact on a team that reached the sectional round centered on her all-around exceptional play — with scoring, passing and defense at the forefront.

KIJANAE MARION

6-0, Sophomore

Key per-game stats: 11.3 points

There were times when post defenders literally had no chance when Marion got the ball in positive-leverage position. Her post quickness, touch and finishing ability could make her a player of the year threat over the next two years.

HAYLEY GRUBB

5-8, Sophomore

Key per-game stats: 13.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.3 steals

There’s no denying the standout ability of the Lady Patriots’ guard. She is a threat in every facet of the game.

JASMINE BIRCHFIELD

5-8, Junior

Key per-game stats: 10.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 3.0 steals

The Lady Highlanders did a lot of work collectively, but Birchfield’s stats proved she was extremely involved in the mix of a season that got within one game of the state tournament.

PEYTON SAMS

5-6, Senior

Key per-game stats: 5.1 assists, 2.0 steals

Forget about trying to measure the importance of Sams by stats alone. She did what she needed to do when her team needed it, and was the glue that held the Lady Cougars together.

CAROLINE PODVIN

5-10, Junior

Key per-game stats: 11.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.4 steals

The only player above her in defensive production was Smith, which is pretty good company for Podvin to keep. She was a difference-maker for the Lady Blue Devils.

LYNDIE RAMSEY

5-11, Freshman

Key per-game stats: 16.0 points, 6.0 rebounds

She comes from an athletic family and has a chance to be one of the best the Lady Rangers have ever had. 

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