By Dan Hardenbrook
Engadine senior Leah French has earned the first of many postseason awards following a record setting season for the Lady Eagles. After putting up full season averages of 26.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, 6.7 steals, and 3.1 assists, French was the runaway clear-cut choice for the EUP Conference Player of the Year.
French had conference game averages of 24.6 points, 10.1 rebounds, 7.1 steals, and 3.5 assists against league opponents, often playing her best in the biggest games of the year for the Lady Eagles. For French, who recently verbally committed to Aquinas College, the EUP Player of the Year Award should be the first of many postseason honors, including those at the All UP and All State Level.
She was often the lone target of other team’s gameplans. As the season went along, Engadine needed other players to step up and take away some of the heat. The all-around improvement of the rest of the Lady Eagles also earned attention, with multiple players earned All Conference selections.
Engadine sophomore Hali Butkovich led the All EUP Honorable Mention list, along with fellow sophomore Claire Oven. Those two will team up to lead the Lady Eagles program next season following French’s departure. Italian exchange student Elisa Carfora, who arrived mid-season and gave Engadine size and strength in the paint, earned a Special Mention from the league, which does not allow exchange students to be selected for All Conference spots. The Lady Eagles tied District Champion Brimley and EUP leader Pickford for the most All Conference selections.
The Newberry Lady Indians also landed a player on the All Conference list. Leading scorer and lead ball handler Allie Whalen, also a sophomore, was a Second Team EUP pick, further highlighting the great young talent currently coming through the area. Whalen, in her second season with the Lady Indians varsity, led the team in scoring in almost every one of their games this season.
Fifth-year varsity star Taylor Williams of Cedarville-DeTour was named the EUP Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Williams and teammate Lily Plowman were joined by Pickford’s Madison Thurmes, and Brimley’s Autumn Tremblay and Cearra LeBlanc on the EUP 1st Team. Two of Brimley’s other starters—Vivian Carrick and Elizabeth Johnson—joined Whalen on the Second Team along with Pickford’s Asa Franklin and Cedarville-DeTour’s Hayley Kohlman.
Other Honorable Mentions went to Lily Fisher (Cedarville-DeTour), Eve Cheney (Rudyard), Claire Cottle, and Kadence Potoczak (Pickford).