Player of the Year
Taleia Moton, Suitland High, senior: Moton’s motor never seemed to stop running this season. She emerged last year as one of the county’s best scorers and did nothing but improve upon her statistics this year. Suitland coach Stephanie Nolan said Moton’s dedication to the program was unmatched, as her work ethic influenced many of the teams’ younger players. Moton finished her career as the Rams’ all-time leading scorer with more than 1,600 points. She scored 30 or more points 10 times this season and averaged a county-high 29.6 points to go with eight rebounds and five assists per game. She will continue her career with St. Mary’s College (Md.).
Coach of the Year
Ayana Bell, Eleanor Roosevelt: Ten years after she participated in the school’s previous girls’ basketball state title run, Ayana Ball guided the Lions to the 3A state title as their coach in only her second season at the helm. Ball guided the Lions to a 26-1 mark that included a victory in the county championship game against eventual 4A state champion Eleanor Roosevelt. The Lions won the 3A South Region title game against Gwynn Park and then knocked off Paint Branch and Western to win the state championship.
Brittany Crowell, Gwynn Park, junior: Though Gwynn Park missed the state Final Four for only the second time this decade, Crowell gave the Yellow Jackets a lot to look forward to next winter. The 5-foot-10 guard averaged 17.5 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals for the Brandywine school, which lost to eventual state 3A champ Largo in the South Region semifinals. A second-team Star/Gazette selection a year ago, Crowell had a season-high 38 points against Fairmont Heights.
Brooke Wilson, Roosevelt, junior: Wilson was arguably the best all-around player for the three-time defending state 4A champions. The versatile 6-2 forward averaged 12.9 points, 12 rebounds and 6.6 steals for the Raiders, who routed Whitman and Blake in the state Final Four. Wilson, who scored a season-high 23 points against Northwestern, totaled 24 points and 24 rebounds in the state semifinal and title games.
LaKeisha Wright, Roosevelt, senior: Wright capped her varsity career in grand fashion, helping the Raiders to a third straight state 4A championship. The 5-10 guard averaged 13.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.8 steals for Roosevelt, which became the third county team to win three straight titles. Wright, a second-team Star/Gazette selection last season, is being recruited by East Carolina, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Navy and Rider.
Kayla Nwachukwu, McNamara, senior: Nwachukwu picked up where her big sister, Jori (2007 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Freshman of the Year) left off at one of the forward positions this past season for the Mustangs. Nwachukwu was the Mustangs’ most consistent player this season and was named to the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference first team while averaging 11 points and 7 rebounds this season.
Brittani Hollins, Largo, senior: Hollins’ combination of quickness, determination and leadership helped elevate the Lions to the state 3A title. She averaged 15 points, five rebounds and three assists. But in the Lions’ two state playoff wins against Paint Branch and Western she scored 21and 23 points, respectively. In the state title game victory against Western she scored 15 straight points for the Lions at one stretch.
Rachel Barnes, Largo, senior: Part of the Lions’ dynamic senior backcourt duo with Hollins, Barnes averaged 16.5 points, four rebounds and two assists per game this winter. Barnes scored 17 points in the Lions’ two state playoff victories against Paint Branch and Western. Like Hollins, Barnes also brought speed, determination and leadership to the Lions this season.
Kendall Shepard, Northwestern, senior: The point guard enjoyed a solid senior season and capped a superb career with the Wildcats. Shepard averaged 14 points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals per game this season. She eclipsed the 1,000-point barrier in her career and became the school’s all-time leader in career assists with 541.
Zykia Brown, Parkdale, senior: An integral part of the Panthers’ rise to prominence over the past two years, Brown capped her career by leading the team with 19.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. She eclipsed the 1,000-point mark in career points in only three seasons on the squad and connected on 39 three-point field goals this season.
Keyona Bryant, Flowers, junior: Bryant rose up as an elite player this season, teaming with senior Brittany Washington to give the Jaguars one of the most potent front courts in the county. Bryant averaged 16.8 points, 14.7 rebounds and two blocked shots per game this season and was a consistent threat to record a double-double each game. She had six games of 20 or more points, including a season-high 27 against Suitland on Feb. 27.
Alexis Canady, McNamara; Tianna Myers, McNamara; Sabrina Cue, Fairmont Heights; Michele Dearing, Northwestern; Annesia Faulkner, Pallotti; Nikki McCrae, Pallotti; Melissa Ford, Surrattsville; Ataira Franklin, Riverdale Baptist; Elasier Hall, Roosevelt; Kenetta Johnson, Bladensburg; Andrea Jones, Grace Brethren; Vanessa Lamison, Douglass; Queenique Tyler, Potomac; Brittany Washington, Flowers; Ashley Williams, Largo.
All-county teams are selected by the Star/Gazette sports staff based on athletes’ performances and nominations from coaches. Staff writers Derek Toney, Ted Black and Terron Hampton compiled the writeups on these pages.