Player of the Year: Wanisha Smith
Smith signed a national letter of intent to play for Duke University prior to the start of the season, but once she got on the court, she did anything but rest on her laurels. The Riverdale Baptist senior enjoyed another superb winter campaign, scoring 573 points in 27 games (21.2 points per game) to lead the Crusaders to their second consecutive National Christian Schools Championship. Smith, who earned player of the year honors from the Cincinnati Enquirer in her sophomore season before moving from Ohio to Maryland, scored in double figures in all 27 games and had a season high of 42 points against Arundel, the eventual 4A state champion, on Jan. 6. She had 20 points Dec. 29 as the Crusaders handed Theodore Roosevelt (D.C.) its only setback of the season in the IAABO tournament championship game. Riverdale coach Diane Richardson has been impressed with Smith’s play and her willingness to continue improving. ‘‘There were a number of plays that I designed for Wanisha when I knew we needed a basket, either in a close game or right after a timeout,” Richardson said. ‘‘But the best thing about Wanisha was her leadership skills out on the floor. She just made every player on the team better by being unselfish and by being able to do so many things with and without the basketball. ‘‘I’ve had a number of very good players over the years that I’ve coached, so I can’t say where she ranks among them. But if I had to pick a team of my players she would definitely be on the starting five.”
Coach of the year
Michael Strother, Potomac — In only his second season at the helm of his alma mater, Strother molded the Wolverines from also-rans to state champions. The 2004 Potomac squad exceeded all expectations by winning 24 of 26 games, including the class 2A state championship, 62-37, over defending champs Walkersville. The championship-game victory by Potomac ended Walkersville’s 46-game winning streak. Strother, a 1980 Potomac graduate, revamped the struggling program in two short years from mediocrity to its first state championship in school history.
Moni Akintunde, Laurel, Sr. — A second-team selection the previous two campaigns, Akintunde finally ascends to the first-team this year. The5-foot-10 center averaged 18.1 points and 16 rebounds for the Spartans and had 67 steals and 46 blocked shots. She opened the campaign with a season-best 27 points against eventual County 4A league champ Roosevelt and matched that total on two other occasions. Bowie State and George Mason are seriously interested in Akintunde.
Andrea Wright, Roosevelt, Sr. — Nicknamed ‘‘Future” by Roosevelt coach Rod Hairston, Wright was the backbone for Roosevelt’s climb to the County 4A league championship this year. The 5-9 guard/forward averaged 13 points, 10 rebounds and six steals for the Raiders, who were upended by Flowers in the South Region semifinals. Wright had a season-best 22 points against Flowers during the regular season and started 62 straight games in her varsity career. With her 3.63 grade point average and a 1,240 SAT score, Wright will attend Penn this fall and play basketball.
Kolade Aderjou, Bladensburg, Sr. — Aderjou was one of the best players in the talent-laden County 3A/2A league this winter. The 5-8 guard averaged 18.4 points, five steals, five assists and seven rebounds for the Mustangs, who lost to eventual state 3A champ Gwynn Park in the East Region semifinals. She scored in double figures in all but one game, including a season-best 32 against Crossland.
Kristen Boone, Gwynn Park, Sr. — A key component in the Yellow Jackets’ ability to win three consecutive state championships, Boone averaged 12.3 points and eight assists per game during her senior season. One of two Yellow Jackets’ starters signed to play for University of North Carolina-Greensboro next season, Boone connected on nearly 52 percent of her shots from the floor and nearly 76 percent of her free throw attempts.
Kemena Brooks, Gwynn Park, Sr. — Another key player in the Yellow Jackets’ three-peat success, Brooks led the squad with 14.8 points and added four rebounds, three assists and three steals per game. Signed to play for UNC-Greensboro next season, Brooks gave teams fits with her quickness driving to the basket and she also shot better than 50 percent from the floor and 75 percent from the foul line last season.
Lauren Brittingham, Potomac, Sr. — After three seasons with a team that seemed destined for obscurity, Brittingham helped the Wolverines ascend to the head of the state 2A class this winter. Brittingham averaged 15 points, six assists, three steals and three rebounds per game during the season then added 14 points in the state championship game as Potomac toppled defending champion Walkersville, 62-37.
Denesha Kenion, Oxon Hill, Sr. — On a team that was not expected to reach the state playoffs, Kenion proved to be the Clippers’ guiding force in their third consecutive 4A South region title. Kenion, who started all four years at Oxon Hill, led the squad with 17 points per game and added seven rebounds and four assists per contest, while collecting 50 steals in 24 games. Kenion has signed to play for the University of Virginia next year.
Antelia Parrish, McNamara, Sr. — One of the pivotal figures in the Mustangs 49-game win streak over the past two seasons, Parrish makes her second straight appearance on the first team. Parrish became a symbol of consistency for the program. She heads to Fordham with former Mustangs coach Mike Bozeman and teammate Nikki Bozeman after averaging 10.8 points per game.
Chauntise Wright, McNamara, Sr. — Wright has dominated the low post for the Mustangs for the past three seasons, earning all-county honors for the third year in a row. With the graduation of Kalika France last season, Wright became the ‘‘go-to” player for McNamara this season. Wright averaged 13 points per game, including a season-high 28 points on Feb. 1 as the Mustangs beat eventual WCAC champion St. John’s (D.C.).
Adrienne Alexander-Brown, Flowers
Nikki Bozeman, McNamara
Vicky Collier, Largo
Tenisha Chase, Potomac
Juantale Cook, Potomac
Courtney Crittenden, Oxon Hill
Patrice Haskins, Grace Brethren
Victoria Jones, Flowers
Yolanda Lavender, Riverdale Baptist
Ashley Lyles, Pallotti
Iman McFarland, McNamara
Jennifer Martin, DuVal
Kairsten Nunn, Roosevelt
Selena Nwude, Roosevelt
Melonie Shaw, Central
Xenia Stewart, Riverdale Baptist
Kellie Tyler, Douglass
LaKeisha Wright, Queen Anne
Tianna York-Terry, Bowie