ELKO – Of the five players on the 1st-Team All-League list – other than 1A Northern-East MVP Precious Masters of McDermitt – four girls hail from two teams.
The Wells and Owyhee girls basketball teams each placed a pair of hoopers on the 1st-Team awards; seniors Sammy Stumpf and Keegan Laughlin representing the regional champion Lady Leopards and senior Kaylani Smartt and junior Macee McKinney-Cota showing out for the Lady Braves.
Eureka junior Morgan Thomas was the other 1st-Team All-League selection.
Wells and Owyhee each had one player on the All-League Defense squad, senior Amanda Murphy for the Lady Leopards and sophomore Alejendra Dick for the Lady Braves.
The same can be said for the 2nd-Team All-League players, freshman Cameron Powers playing her way to a nod for Wells and junior Cree Raining Bird earning a bid for Owyhee.
With two teams backing out – one before the season, another during – the league was left with four teams, and each coach from the respective squads shared a piece of the Coach of the Year award — Wells’ Enoch Dahl, Eureka’s Travis Gallagher, McDermitt’s Jaimi Wilkinson and Owyhee’s Todd Tate.
While Masters was named the league MVP, Smartt was undoubtedly the next in line for the honor.
She filled the stat sheet for the Lady Braves – averaging a ridiculous double-double – leading the team in scoring and rebounding, ranking second in the league with 21.3 points and topping the 1A Northern-East with 17.4 boards per game.
Smartt finished second in the league with 1.3 blocks, third in the 1A Northern-East with 3.8 assists and seventh in steals with 2.7 thefts per outing.
She closed her career in the 1A North regional semifinal with a loss to Wells, but Smartt won back-to-back state titles with the Lady Braves during her sophomore and junior seasons.
In her final season in orange and black, Stumpf returned to the floor from a significant ankle injury and led Wells to a regional championship and its first appearance in the state tournament since 2013 and first trip to the state title game since 2012.
She finished fifth in the league in scoring with 11.6 points per game, topping the roster for the Lady Leopards.
Stumpf scored in double digits 19 times, meeting or eclipsing the 20-point plateau in three games – scoring a season-high 23 points in a double-overtime loss on Feb. 2 in Eureka.
At three takeaways per game, she led Wells’ defense away from the ball and ranked fifth in the league in steals – coming up with three or more thefts in 17 ballgames and snagging a season-best eight steals on Dec. 1, 2017, against Round Mountain during the Wells Rural Electric Classic.
With 2.3 dimes per game, Stumpf finished ninth in the league in assists.
Stumpf dished five assists twice, the first occurrence coming on Jab. 26 against McDermitt in Wells and the second time happening at a crucial juncture in the Lady Leopards’ 67-51 victory over Owyhee in the 1A North regional semifinal on Feb. 16 at North Valleys High School in Reno.
Against the Lady Braves on Jan. 19, Stumpf notched her only two-block game of the season and tied her season high with six rebounds in Owyhee.
She ranked second on the team with 45 3s, hitting three triples in seven contests, the final time coming in the last game of her career – nailing three in the first half on Feb. 24 during the state championship against Pahranagat Valley at Lawlor Events Center in Reno.
Stumpf led all scorers in the 1A state final with 20 points.
McKinney-Cota posted another stellar season during her junior year, finishing second on Owyhee’s roster with 18.6 points per contest – which ranked third in the league.
She ranked fifth in the 1A Northern-East in rebounds from her point guard position, pulling down 7.1 boards per game.
McKinney-Cota dished 2.6 assists per game – tying four fourth in the league – and made 1.9 steals per contest.
Laughlin nearly averaged a double-double for the season for the Lady Leopards, closing the year at 9.1 points and 10.7 rebounds per game.
She grabbed double-digit rebounds in 17 games – finishing third in the league in boards – going for a double-double in nine contests.
Laughlin finished eighth in the league in scoring.
She scored in double figures 14 times, posting her season best of 22 points twice.
Her first 22-point effort came against Holy Names (California) on Dec. 28, 2017, and she hung 22 points and 21 rebounds on Owyhee on Feb. 16 during the regional semifinal.
She grabbed a season-high 24 boards during the regional quarterfinal on Feb. 15 against Mineral County – posting three-game averages of 14 points and 17.3 rebounds during the regional tournament in Wells’ run to the title.
At 2.9 steals per game, Laughlin ranked tied for sixth and seventh in takeaways – making three more thefts in 16 games and snagging six twice.
She made six steals on Dec. 8, 2017, against Smith Valley at the Comstock Classic in Virginia City and equaled the number on Feb. 2 at Eureka.
She dished five assists in Wells’ 55-42 victory over Division 3A South No. 1 Mojave, and Laughlin blocked three shots on Dec. 16, 2017, adding a two-block party against Mineral County during the regional quarterfinal.
Senior Amanda Murphy was one of the biggest reasons for Wells success during her senior season, transferring from Wendover, Utah.
Murphy was not only the Lady Leopards’ best on-ball defender; she locked up opposing offensive players as well as anyone in the league – possibly the best defender in the 1A North and the entire state.
She played an all-around game for Wells, scoring 5.8 points and grabbing 5.1 rebounds – adding to her 2.1 steals per game.
Murphy collected five steals three times, making three or more in 11 contests.
Her season high in rebounds came on Feb. 2 in the double-OT loss in Eureka, snagging 14 boards and also dishing her season-best five assists – scoring eight points in the game.
Murphy reached double figures in four games, scoring 11 points three times.
Her final double-digit effort came on a 10-point performance against South No. 2 Round Mountain in the state semifinal on Feb. 23 at Lawlor Events Center.
Alejandra Dick saw her first significant action at the varsity level for the Lady Braves, earning an All-League Defense selection for Owyhee – stats not reported for Dick.
In her first season of high school basketball, freshman Cameron Powers immediately showed she can be a power for the Lady Leopards – finishing second on the team in scoring and leading the team in threes.
She scored 11.1 points per game, good enough for sixth-best in the league.
Her 50 triples not only topped the Wells roster, it also led the league for teams that reported stats to MaxPreps.
She booked double-digit points in 18 games, meeting or exceeding 20 points in three contests.
Powers scored her season high of 22 points on Dec. 14 against eventual state champion Pahranagat Valley in Alamo, hitting four 3s against the Lady Panthers in the contest and once again during the state championship in Wells’ 58-43 loss.
Her season-high five 3s were splashed on Dec. 30, 2017, against Benicia (California).
She tied for 10th in the league in rebounds, averaging 5.3 boards per game.
Defensively, Powers made two steals per game – ranking just outside the top-10.
Cree Lynn Raining Bird
During her junior season, Raining Bird was a versatile weapon for the Lady Braves on both sides of the basketball.
She upped her scoring average to 8.3 points per game, ranking 10th in the league.
At 7.1 rebounds, Raining Bird finished sixth in the 1A Northern-East in boards.
Her passing was crucial – especially to Smartt and McKinney-Cota – topping the league in assists at more than five per game, dishing 5.1 dimes per outing.
Raining Bird was also a nuisance on defense for opponents, her pressure and length a welcomed strength for the Lady Braves.
She was just one of five players who averaged three or more steals per game, finishing fourth in the league with 3.2 thefts per game.
Along with Murphy, two other Wells girls received honorable mentions for the league awards; senior Samantha Shamblin and junior Berenice Aboite.
Shamblin averaged 3.3 points and 3.5 rebounds, but her 2.4 assists paced the Lady Leopards and ranked eighth in the 1A Northern-East.
Against Division 3A Pahrump Valley, Shamblin dished a season-high six assists in a 43-35 loss on Dec. 15, 2017.
Her lone double-digit offensive effort came on 13 points on Dec. 1, 2017, against Round Mountain during the WREC in Wells – a game in which she ripped a season-best three 3s and collected a season-high eight steals, also ripping down a season-best seven rebounds.
She knocked down two 3s in three ballgames, none larger than the two shots from distance Shamblin drilled in the fourth quarter against Eureka during the 1A North regional final that enabled Wells to separate in a close contest for a 41-36 victory for the regional championship and a No. 1 seed in the state tournament.
Aboite scored 3.2 points per game, grabbing 3.7 rebounds for Wells.
In the final matchup of the regular season, Aboite tallied her season high with 11 points against Owyhee on Feb. 10 in Wells.
Against the Lady Braves on Jan. 19, she reeled in eight rebounds in Owyhee.
Using length and athleticism, Aboite came away with four steals in four contests.
Wells and Eureka – each of the North representatives at state – were honored with the Team Sportsmanship awards.
Congratulations to Samantha Stumpf, Keegan Laughlin, Kaylani Smartt and Macee McKinney-Cota for earning 1st-Team All-League selections – the Wells Lady Leopards on a regional championship and trip to state – and to all players, coaches and teams recognized after a wild, wacky season of Division 1A Northern-East girls basketball.