Across the board, it was a disappointing season for the girls basketball teams in Bartow County.
None of the four schools made the state tournament, and only one — Cass — came particularly close. That comes despite at least three of the teams entering the season having a reasonable expectation to compete for a spot in the state tourney.
That being said, there were still plenty of standout players in the area.
Woodland’s Whitney Harris garnered the Daily Tribune News Player of the Year honor, and the other three schools were represented on the DTN’s 2017-18 all-county team.
Thanks in large part to being the lone team to finish above .500, Cass landed four on the team. Adairsville had two honorees, and Cartersville had one.
Overall, the group of seven included four seniors, meaning nearly half of the players will return to the hardwood next fall, as will four of the six honorable mention selections.
Josie Summerville — Adairsville senior
There was no more dominant post player in the county on the offensive end than Summerville, who landed on the all-Region 6-AAA team. When she was on the court, there were few teams who had someone who could match her inside. If they had the size, she was probably quicker. If they had the speed, she was probably stronger. Foul trouble and the often frantic pace of Adairsville games limited her impact some nights, but she still managed to average 10.8 points on an efficient 53 percent shooting to go with 7.4 rebounds. Had Adairsville been able to control the pace and play a half-court game more often, Summerville might have averaged 15 and 10. That’s the kind of ability she possesses. Her leadership during a difficult senior season was evident, and the Tigers will be hard-pressed to replace her production.
Nakiyah Washington — Adairsville junior
Washington provided much-needed offense for an Adairsville team that struggled to play a full four quarters much of the year. Her ability to shoot from outside and also get to the rim made Washington a tough player to guard for the Tigers’ competition. Despite sometimes bordering on playing out of control, the junior gave Adairsville a player who could score 20-plus points any given night. For the season, Washington averaged 12.3 points, seven rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.8 steals per game. Washington ended up with the ball in her hands coming up the court more than the Tigers would have liked, but her improvement in that area can only help the team in 2018-19. Ideally, the experience will serve her well, as she looks to help fill the void left by Summerville.
Cio Seigler — Cartersville sophomore
The Canes didn’t put up a ton of points this season, often scoring in the 30s, but Seigler still managed to average nine point per game. An all-Region 5-AAAA honorable mention, Seigler's 3-point shooting was a constant weapon. Just a sophomore, Seigler knocked down 28 triples during the season, despite playing with an injured finger on her shooting hand for the final third of the campaign. Some days the shots just weren’t falling and other days she seemed to lack confidence, but when she got hot, few teams could slow her down. If Cartersville won, it was almost a guarantee the knocked down about three shots from deep. Like her teammates, she played great defense most of the season, but it will take improved decision making on the offensive end to push her into the conversation of best players in the county.
Chanel Clemmons — Cass senior
Clemmons’ 6.7 points per game don’t scream all-count selection, but her all-around ability is showcased by her rebounds (8.4 per game), assists (3.4) and blocks (4.3). That’s not to say Clemmons didn’t possess the tools to score double-digit points each time she stepped on the court. On the contrary, she was often told to shoot more when presented with an open look from the middle of the lane. Her teammates, though, benefitted greatly from her vision and passing ability, which led to plenty of wide-open 3-pointers for a team that loved to shoot. It could be argued Clemmons was the most dominant defensive player in Bartow County this year. She blocked her fair share of shots, but, as often happens with players with her inside presence, she altered even more. In several games, she would block a couple of shots in the first quarter, leading to rushed shot attempts from the opposition the rest of the night.
Lyric Curtis — Cass senior
Curtis was the unsung glue of the Colonels this season, averaging 8.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. On multiple occasions, head coach Burt Jackson called her the team’s “most important player.” That’s because she always seemed to be the one to step up at just the right moment. Any time Cass suffered through a long scoring drought, Curtis would usually be the one to end it. She had the rare balance of strength and agility with the ability to overpower smaller guards and the quickness to slip past post players. While some of her teammates preferred to shoot from deep, Curtis was clearly at her best driving to the basket. She could — and often did — step into 3-pointers, while also feasting on putbacks for a diverse offensive game that led to an all-Region 7-AAAAA honorable mention nod.
Kyla Michienzi — Cass senior
The unquestioned leader of the Colonels, Michienzi was a good barometer for how the team was performing from game to game. While Cass didn’t need her to score 20 points a night, the Colonels were almost always on the winning side when she played up to her potential. A smooth shooter and crafty slasher, Michienzi put up 10.3 points a night en route to being an all-region honorable mention selection. Playing with a group of teammates who could pile up points, there were some nights where she didn’t score much, because, frankly, she didn’t need to. When called upon, though, Michienzi’s microwave-scoring ability allowed her to put up double-digit points in a single quarter with ease. Even if the shots weren’t falling, the Piedmont College signee often made significant contributions in the rebound and assist categories, averaging 4.2 and 3.2, respectively.
Payton Stoddard — Cass junior
The county’s leading scorer at 12.8 points per game, Stoddard made a huge impact for Cass on both ends of the floor throughout her junior campaign. Along with her scoring, Stoddard averaged 5.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 blocks per game for the Colonels to earn second-team all-region honors. Her 3-point shooting was streaky at times, but she seemed to have a knack for getting second-chance points to off-set any poor shooting nights. And regardless of how Stoddard was playing on offense, she always showed up on defense. Often asked to guard the opponent’s best shooter, including player of the year Whitney Harris, Stoddard gave those she guarded nightmares with her length, leading to multiple tipped passes, steals and blocked shots every night. Stoddard will be asked to take an even bigger step forward with her three teammates on this list set to graduate. She’ll enter next season as the early front-runner to take home player of the year honors.
Honorable mention: Havyn Isaac, Adairsville junior; A’mya Davis, Cartersville junior; Kalli Scheff, Cartersville senior; Addie Smith, Cartersville senior; Carli Clymer, Woodland sophomore; Madgie Robinson, Woodland junior