Fabulous 15 girls left lasting impression
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Each of the Mon-Yough area's girls basketball teams fell short of their ultimate goal of making a long run through the WPIAL and PIAA playoffs and ending their seasons with a pair of championships.
But plenty of players did manage to leave a lasting impression on the local basketball landscape through their show-stopping talent, work ethic and leadership skills displayed on and off the court.
Those players make up the 2010-11 Daily News Girls "Fabulous 15."
JAIME TEDESCO, SERRA CATHOLIC
Position: G Height: 5-4 Class: Junior
When Tedesco entered the Lady Eagles program three years ago, coach Bill Cleary knew she could mature to become one of the best guards in school history.
Tedesco took another step toward that end this season. She averaged 12.4 points, four assists and two rebounds per game while shooting 72 percent from the free-throw line.
"I think she played very well this year," Cleary said. "Last year was a bit of a learning experience for her as a sophomore, but now she's pretty close to what she can be. Her potential is unlimited right now."
JASMINE WILLIAMS, EAST ALLEGHENY
Position: G Height: 5-3 Class: Senior
With only eight players on the Lady Wildcats' roster, Williams had to do a little bit of everything for coach Tom Brush's team this season.
Williams averaged a team-best 14.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 4.5 steals per game during a fantastic senior season. The point guard has yet to make a decision about her college future, but she is being recruited by Mercyhurst, Thiel and Penn State Greater Allegheny.
"She was a warrior out there," Brush said. "She's a really good point guard. She's very under the radar as far as the top players in our section."
JAYLEE PATTERSON, SOUTH ALLEGHENY
Position: G Height: 5-6 Class: Sophomore
Lady Gladiators coach Ashleigh Hays heard a lot about Patterson before taking over the SA program this season.
Patterson lived up to her strong reputation by scoring 12.9 points and adding 2.5 assists per game in only her second season as a starter.
"She has star capabilities," Hays said of Patterson, who made 38 3-pointers this season. "In the summer last year she already was dominating open gyms."
C.C. DIXON, STEEL VALLEY
Position: F Height: 5-11 Class: Sophomore
After a knee injury prematurely ended her freshman season, Dixon returned with a vengeance in 2010-11.
She averaged a team-high 15 points and 13 rebounds per game and announced her presence as one of the WPIAL's best young forwards.
"She had a good summer and came back and really worked on refining her skills," Lady Ironmen coach Kelly Sabo said. "She was definitely a big key for us in the paint.
"I've gotten to coach her since she was in the seventh grade and I've seen her potential. She is a girl who has a great work ethic. She wants to get better."
ASHLEY McCALLISTER, STEEL VALLEY
Position: G Height: 5-6 Class: Junior
McCallister averaged eight points and five steals per game for the Lady Ironmen this season, but her true impact on Sabo's team was more profound.
In her third year as a starter, McCallister emerged to become Steel Valley's leader on and off the court. Her role in helping to lead the Lady Ironmen back to the WPIAL Class AA playoffs was invaluable.
"Ashley gives us offense and defense," Sabo said. "She's definitely the spark plug for our team. She's going to give you everything she's got."
DANA BUCK, ELIZABETH FORWARD
Position: F Height: 5-11 Class: Sophomore
It's no coincidence that in Buck's first two years as a starter, the Lady Warriors have qualified for the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs.
Buck averaged a team-high 14.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game and shot 44 percent from the field.
"She's an outstanding player," EF coach John Hearn said. "She averaged almost five points more per game this year. She's stronger, a better worker and she's becoming a leader on the court and in the locker room."
JORDYN D'ALESSANDRO, THOMAS JEFFERSON
Position: G Height: 5-3 Class: Senior
D'Alessandro averaged 7 points, 7.2 assists and 6.3 steals per game during a senior season that left quite an impression on second-year Lady Jaguars coach Jamie Polak.
Whether in his five years as an assistant coach of the Steel Valley boys basketball team, or during his time at TJ, Polak said he never has encountered as hard a worker or intense a competitor as D'Alessandro.
"When she wasn't on the floor we were a different basketball team," Polak said. "She gave us everything she had. She was just a relentless player and a relentless defender."
ASHLEY STONER, THOMAS JEFFERSON
Position: C Height: 6-1 Class: Senior
During his first year coaching the Lady Jaguars a season ago, Polak learned he could depend on Stoner.
This season, Stoner didn't disappoint her coach, as she scored a team-high 20.7 points and grabbed 13 rebounds per game.
"She was our foundation as far as scoring," Polak said. "She was our strongest player. She was always a constant. We knew what we were getting out of her."
JAZMYNE HAYES, WEST MIFFLIN AREA
Position: G/F Height: 5-7 Class: Senior
In a perfect situation, Lady Titans coach Phil Shar would have been able to use Hayes as a guard this season. But due to a smaller lineup, she often was forced to play as a forward.
Despite playing out of position and missing nearly a month of the regular season due to a concussion, Hayes rounded out her career as one of Class AAA's best competitors by scoring 13 points per game.
"Jazmyne was solid for four years for us," Shar said. "She can do just about anything. She never complained. She did what she's supposed to do. She took on the other team's best player and on most occasions shut them down."
JAYLA LEFTWICH, WEST MIFFLIN AREA
Position: C Height: 5-10 Class: Junior
Leftwich scored a team-high 14 points and had 15 rebounds per game during her third year as a starter, and only added to her reputation as West Mifflin's most dominant and reliable player.
"I was really pleased with her," Shar said. "I thought she really came on at the end of the year. She should have a great senior year."
CIARA PATTERSON, WEST MIFFLIN AREA
Position: G Height: 5-7 Class: Freshman
From the first time she stepped on the court this season, Patterson made a point of turning heads and announcing her presence as one of the WPIAL's best point guards.
The only freshman on this year's "Fabulous 15" list averaged 12 points and seven assists per game.
"She has great potential," Shar said. "I think she has great court vision. I think her greatest improvement this year was her shooting. She has great size for a guard and great athleticism. It's going to be interesting to see how good she gets."
ALICIA HAWTHORNE, MCKEESPORT AREA
Position: F Height: 5-8 Class: Senior
There was no question Lady Tigers coach Eric Smith was disappointed with his team's failure to qualify for the WPIAL Class AAAA postseason.
But Smith never was disappointed by Hawthorne, who unselfishly switched positions and manned the low post admirably in her final season at McKeesport.
Hawthorne averaged 7.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.
"She had to learn how to use her quickness and how to use her feet," Smith said. "She did a great job. She was the leader in charges taken, which is a stat we really value. She was the kind of person who would dive on the floor and give us everything she's got."
JENA DEMEK, NORWIN
Position: G Height: 5-9 Class: Senior
As one of coach Bob Shrader's senior leaders, opponents focused their game plan around shutting down the Lady Knights' versatile veteran guard.
For the most part that proved unsuccessful as Demek scored 11.3 points and added 3.0 rebounds per game to lead Norwin back to the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs.
"She was the player everyone wanted to shut down this year," Shrader said. "I think she did the best she could. She had some good games and she took the ball to the basket really strong."
JEN STRAW, NORWIN
Position: F Height: 6-0 Class: Junior
As a sophomore, Straw found significant playing time for the Lady Knights as Shrader's first sub off the bench.
This season, Straw solidified her place as a legitimate force in the paint by averaging 9.6 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.
"She was our team leader in most ways, even though she was a junior," Shrader said. "She really played hard. I can't say enough about her. She's pretty much a stalwart. She can play every part of the game well."
ALEXIS COLEMAN, WOODLAND HILLS
Position: G Height: 5-6 Class: Senior
Coleman was instrumental in leading the Wolverines to a share of the Section 2-AAAA championship with Gateway and a trip to the WPIAL postseason
The Thiel University recruit averaged a team-high 14.6 points and 2.4 rebounds per game her senior campaign.
"She was great," Woodland Hills coach Kori Morton-Rozier said. "She's been here since she was a freshman. She put in so much work over the offseason and became a leader for us."
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