Stockwell, Kayla Dooley selected CLAA hoops MVPs
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
In perhaps as scrambled an overall consideration as the conference has seen in a while, coaches of the Carroll-Livingston Activity Association have voted seniors Hunter Stockwell of Mendon: Northwestern and Jaeden Sears of Hale/Bosworth and Kayla Dooley of Norborne as the loop’s most valuable players for their respective genders for 2020-21.
Stockwell, unable to play a full schedule, due to a lingering right shoulder injury, likely had his case weakened a bit by that fact, but he and Sears would have been hard to separate even then. As it was, they managed to be more clear-cut candidates than two or three possibilities from the conference’s more-balanced regular-season and tournament champion, Southwest Livingston.
On the girls’ side, where twin sister Olivia Dooley and Tina-Avalon senior Samantha Rounkles were prime candidates, as well, K. Dooley of the league champion NHS Lady Pirates drew the most support.
Rounding out the 10-players first teams for each gender were:
For the boys, seniors Chase Neptune, Patrick Warren, and Wesley Hughes of Southwest Livingston, Stockwell’s Northwestern senior teammates Isaac Zahner and Clayton Gregory, Tina-Avalon junior Kylier Sturgeon, junior Mason Freece of Hardin-Central, and Sears’ senior teammate at Hale/Bosworth, Ethan Hoerr.
For the girls, the other seven besides the top trio were Tina-Avalon senior Haley Rucker and sophomore Kadie Rounkles, league newcomer Braymer seniors Dallas Hall and Kennedy Stone, Southwest Livingston senior Lily Webb, and Brunswick senior Addi Riley.
The girls’ second team included sophomore Regan Crowe of league runnerup Tina-Avalon, senior Kate Brown of Norborne, senior Matney Waters of Southwest Livingston, senior Halie Smith of Northwestern, and sophomore Raylee Haawkins of Braymer.
The boys’ second squad has junior Drake Heussner of Hale/Bosworth, sophomore Trey Stockwell of Northwestern, and senior teammates Kobe Tatum and Gus Kussman of Brunswick.
Six players were tabbed for the CLAA’s boys’ all-defense team. They included senior Kayden Sturgeon of T-A, senior Morgan Anderson of Southwest, senior Parker Shoe of Braymer, junior Gannon Johnson of Northwestern, sophomore Kobe Gibson Norborne, and Tatum.
The CLAA girls’ all-defense unit had voted to it Southwest Livingston senior Makenna Campbell, Braymer sophomore Addyson Sweem, junior Gracie McKinney of Norborne, junior Kinley Elliott of Brunswick, and S. Rounkles of T-A.
H. Stockwell sat out a number of games, either due to reinjury or for precautionary reasons, but still played in all or most of Northwestern’s conference games as the Eagles tried unsuccessfully to outduel Southwest Livingston.
The 6’4” post player averaged a double-double in the games he played, tallying 16 points and grabbing 10.5 rebounds per contest on average. He earned 2.5 assists and made 2.5 steals a game and blocked 1.1 shots on average. The second-time first-team all-CLAA choice shot 61% from the floor, his coach, Mike Kahn, reports.
The 6’1” Sears’ numbers were very similar with a bit more scoring (19.9 points per game), due to less firepower around him on Hale/Bosworth’s Cardinals, and slightly less rebounding with a still-impressive 8.7 a game.
While Southwest Livingston did not taste defeat in league play – either during round-robin play or the conference tournament, its greater diversity of contributions kept any one player from standing out as clearly more valuable than his teammates.
On the girls’ side, although specific numbers were not available to the C-T at the time of this article, it is believed Olivia Dooley might have had slightly high statistical numbers, at least in scoring, than her twin sister – both of whom were 4-years starters, but an injury took O. Dooley out of the lineup for a couple of games.