By Dan Hardenbrook
Two sensational seniors. Two incredible careers that have now come to an end. Two lasting legacies on the Newberry basketball program. For NHS players Logan Depew and Katie Rahilly, it’s time to be honored for their contributions and performances for the past four years.
The postseason awards circuit is officially underway and Depew and Rahilly have won big.
Logan Depew dominated games all season long. He led the Indians in scoring, rebounds, steals, three-point shooting, and free throws, all while being the primary target for opposing teams. His effort, including a 24 ppg season average and a 26 ppg average in EUP conference play earned Depew a Co-Player of the Year Award for the 2020-2021 season.
Logan’s leadership was also top notch, and a key factor in the Indians improving from winning just two games in the past two years combined to an EUP conference championship this season.
He shared the Player of the Year Award with Rudyard junior E.J. Suggitt, a longtime rival and close friend.
On the ladies’ side, Katie Rahilly continued her reign as the most dominating defender in the league. Rahilly was named the Girls EUP Defensive Player of the Year for the third consecutive season, as the Lady Indians locked teams down all season.
Rahilly was a key piece in Coach Jim Dzelak’s full court presses and half court zone trapping sets. She led the league in steals, while creating a ton of turnovers for teammates on deflected passes that often converted to points for the Indians.
When the Lady Indians were at their best, during a late season six game winning streak, it was that dominant defense that led them to win. Rahilly also rarely left the floor on a team that had just two other seniors and three juniors. Half of the Lady Indians varsity team were underclassmen playing their first varsity season.
Other local selections included Junior Bailey Zellar, who was voted to the Girls All Conference Team as an Honorable Mention selection. Zellar will take over the leadership reins of the Lady Indians next year and will be among the top returning players in the EUP.
In Engadine, team scoring leader Leah French found herself among the top performers this season. French, who averaged 14.8 ppg this season, was also the Lady Eagles leader in rebounds (8.9 per game), and assists (2.2) and three point shooting (37). She tied teammate Lauren King for the team lead in steals at 3.4 per game. For her performance, French was named First Team All EUP Conference.
Local players picked for the Boys All Conference Awards included Newberry sophomore guard Marco Juarez, who stepped up and became a go-to option for Coach Kenn Depew’s offensive attack. Juarez was named Second Team All Conference.
Junior Liam Shanley led Newberry’s rotation of “Little Big Men”, tasked with taking on taller teams and opponents in conference play. Very few were able to outwork and out-hustle Shanley, who was selected to the Honorable Mention list.
EUP rules prohibit foreign exchange students from being eligible for All Conference honors, but they do offer up special recognition for those players. This year, Andrea LaBionda was named as a Special Recognition player from the conference coaches.
Senior point guard Wyatt Flatt represented the Engadine boys in All Conference voting, earning an HM selection as well.
Rudyard’s Chesney Molina and Pickford’s Kennedy Guild split Player of the Year honors on the ladies’ side. Joining Rahilly and French on the EUP First Team were Cedarville’s Elysia Causley, Pickford’s Lizzie Storey, and Rudyard’s Tristan Smith.
Second Team selections were Cassidy Barr and Taylor Williams (Cedarville), Madison Thurmes (Pickford), Brooke Besteman (Rudyard), and Sadie McGuire (Brimley). Honorable Mention Selections included Zellar, Lucy Benin (Pickford), Elizabeth Johnson (Brimley), Alina Shook (Cedarville), and Emily Kopitz (Rudyard).
Boys Defensive Player of the Year was Rudyard’s Tate Besteman. Joining the boys award winners on the First Team were Caleb Kohlman (Cedarville), Grayden Newland (Brimley), and Grant Fountain (DeTour).
Second Team picks included Jaurez, Cam Peterson (Rudyard), Kyle Rounds (Pickford), Brandon Pomeroy (Brimley), and Cason Smith of Cedarville. Making the Honorable Mention list along with Shanley and Flatt were Eric Huyck (Pickford), Austin Warner (Rudyard), and Luke Bailey (DeTour).