Smokey earns first-team division honors
Douglas guard Jenny Smokey earned first-team all-Division II honors for her role in helping the Tigers finish third in the division standings.
Rosie Contri was named to the second team in voting conducted by Division II coaches.
Brooke Kizer and Rebecca Rippee picked up honorable mention awards.
And Werner Christen, in his first season as the Tigers head coach, was named Co-Coach of the Year along with Reno’s Craig Campbell.
“Jenny was well-deserving,” Christen said. “I don’t think there was a better perimeter shooter in the league. When Jenny was on a roll, there was no stopping her.”
Not that teams didn’t try – especially in the second half of division play, after everybody had experienced the pains of leaving Smokey alone behind the three-point arc.
“When teams started concentrating on her, she realized other people were open,” Christen said. “She was very unselfish.”
Smokey also was a tenacious defender, a fact that solidified her position on the all-division first team.
“Most of the time, we put Jenny or Rosie on the other team’s best guard,” Christen said. “Defense was a big part of the reason Jenny made the first team.”
Contri missed making the first team by one vote. The senior guard could shoot the three-pointer and also had the ability to drive to the basket, which led to easy points off layups or from the free throw line. On Jan. 16 in a 45-40 win over Hug High, Contri made 16 of 20 free throw attempts and scored a season-high 26 points.
“I thought Rosie was deserving of first-team recognition this year,” Christen said. “I was happy Jenny got it, but I thought Rosie deserved to be there, too.
“And Rebecca and Brooke not making at least second team was a joke. I thought Tomasa (Kizer), too, deserved at least honorable mention. Our program hasn’t garnered the respect the Renos and the Carsons have.
“Let’s face it. There were a lot of good players in the league, but I though Brooke and Rip deserved better.”
Brooke Kizer was a force at forward for the Tigers. Despite giving up several inches almost every night, Kizer worked hard to get in position to grab key rebounds and she had a knack for scoring in the low post. She also has a nice shooting touch from the outside.
Rippee always played hard on both ends of the floor. She could score in double figures or pull down a dozen rebounds on any given night. She played one of her best games of the year in a season-ending victory over the powerful Reno Huskies, scoring 12 points while working the Douglas offense to perfection.
Christen was quick to downplay his Co-Coach of the Year award.
“All that means is your players played their butts off and you were smart enough to hire good assistant coaches,” Christen said. “The only thing I did was I created a relaxed atmosphere. We had fun.”
All season long, Christen shared the workload, and the credit for the Tigers success, with assistant coaches Allen Gosselin and Danny Hamer.
And the Douglas coach has a plan to spread around more recognition next season.
“I’m going to suggest next year that we select an all-defensive team,” Christen said. “I’d really like to see that happen. Let’s see some of the kids get credit for playing defense.”
He also wanted to put the postseason honors in perspective.
“Awards are nice for the kids,” Christen said. “But basketball is a team thing. I’m sure our players are more proud about what we achieved as a team than they are about individual awards.”