Southwest Livingston HS senior third-time pick. Duo, Keytesville's Craig first-teamers a fourth year
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
In what had been – barring injury or other unfortunate circumstance – a virtual foregone conclusion, the Carroll-Livingston Activity Association has repeat all-conference basketball most valuable players – seniors Mack Anderson of Southwest Livingston and Kennadie Crowe of Norborne – for its 2019-20 season.
Anderson reaped the honor from CLAA coaches for a third-successive year and is all-league first team for the fourth time in as many chances. Crowe also is a four-times all-CLAA first-teamer, the last three while at NHS following her freshman year being a student at Tina-Avalon. She was MVP runnerup to Southwest Livingston’s Kortlyn Rounkles as a sophomore.
The outright MVP double repeat is the first such occurrence in the conference since 2004-05 and 2005-06 when Tina-Avalon’s Loren Stark and now-closed Stet’s Malachi Finley were so honored in back-to-back years.
In the interim, there were repeat most valuable players in 2014-15 and 2015-16 when Norborne guard Tristen McNelly took the boys’ honor his junior and senior years, while Southwest Livingston center Kaylie Campbell followed up her sharing the girls’ honor with Rounkles as a freshman with a solo nod as a sophomore. At the time of the 2015-16 all-conference voting, Southwest Livingston coach Julie Bothwell indicated she felt her two players again deserved shared MVP recognition, but colleagues in the conference insisted she put forth either Campbell or Rounkles as most critical to the Lady Wildcats’ successes that winter.
Both of this year’s MVPs led their respective squads to the league crowns.
In K. Crowe’s case, Norborne’s Lady Pirates swept both the regular-season and conference tournament titles. Anderson and SLHS’ Wildcats split regular-season top billing with Keytesville in addition to earning tourney laurels.
Joining K. Crowe on this year’s all-CLAA girls’ first team are NHS teammates and twin sisters Olivia and Kayla Dooley and the MVP’s freshman sister Regan, along with Carly Thacker and Izabella Anderson of runnerup Hardin-Central, Georgeanne Zahner of Mendon: Northwestern, Haley Rucker and Samantha Rounkles of Tina-Avalon, and Abby Dobbins of Brunswick.
Of that group of 10, half are seniors. Juniors are S. Rounkles, Rucker, and the Dooleys, while R. Crowe is, as cited, a ninth grader.
Thacker finished second to K. Crowe in the voting for a second-straight time. They are joined as repetitive choices from a year ago by Rucker, Zahner, and O. Dooley. O. Dooley is on the loop’s elite list a third time in three years.
Chosen to this year’s 5-players girls’ all-conference defensive unit are Lily Webb of Southwest Livingston, Kate Brown of Norborne, Kinley Elliott of Brunswick, and first-teamers S. Rounkles and Zahner. All five are new to that honor.
This year’s all-CLAA girls’ second team is populated with seniors Jayde Keithley of Breckenridge, Averi Norris of Hale/Bosworth, and Dixie Dowell of winless Keytesville, as well as juniors Makenna Campbell of Southwest Livingston and Addi Riley of Brunswick. Honorable mention went to 11th graders Matney Waters of Southwest and Halie Smith of Northwestern.
On the boys’ side, where six of last year’s first-team selections were seniors, now-seniors Ty Berger of Hale/Bosworth and Austin McKinstry and Evan Craig of Keytesville are returnees with Anderson. Like Anderson, Craig is a fourth-time honoree.
Additionally, senior Colton Harris of Hale-Bosworth is a second-time first-team pick, having been so in 2017-18, as well. He was second-team last year.
Those five are supplemented with first-team newcomers Chase Neptune of Southwest Livingston, Hunter Stockwell and Clayton Gregory of Northwestern, and Amari Glagow and J.T. Collier of Brunswick. This season’s boys’ first-team cadre includes seven seniors and three juniors.
The boys’ all-defensive quintet features MVP Anderson, Berger, Glasgow, Craig, Isaac Zahner of Northwestern, and Kayden Sturgeon of Tina-Avalon.
Second-teamers among the CLAA boys include one senior – Connor Jenkins of Tina-Avalon, three juniors – Jaeden Sears, Kobe Tatum of Brunswick, and Allen McKinstry of Keytesville, and freshman Dalton Thacker of Hardin-Central.
Honorable mention went to Patrick Warren of Southwest Livingston and I. Zahner.
Anderson’s 2019-20 season saw him again average a double-double in scoring (22.1 points per game) and rebounds (13 per game), while rejecting 3.3 shots and district 4.6 “dimes” (assists) on average.
K. Crowe’s statistics easily could have been gaudier, but the Lady Pirates’ many blowout wins, as well as multiple capable offensive players, placed less of a premium on her playing maximum minutes or needing to score for the team to prosper.
She finished averaging team-bests of 18.8 points and 6.3 rebounds a contest for the 27-2 Class 1 state quarterfinalists. She also topped two thefts and two assists a game.