Gida SSC's No. 1 player

Allison Gida certainly has the skills to be named player of the year in any conference, but that didn't prevent the Ashland High sophomore from being taken aback upon learning of her Southern Sky Conference honor on Monday.

"I wasn't expecting any of this," said Gida. "I was surprised when I heard about it. I'm glad I got it, though."

Gida edged teammate Brenna Heater for the honor, while teammate Kelsey McKinnis was another first-team selection as the Grizzlies reaped the rewards of an undefeated SSC campaign.

"I think the biggest compliment is, it's great to have the player of the year, but having those three together like that as the top three is pretty impressive," said Ashland girls basketball coach Steve Farley. "I was happy for the girls because they have worked their tails off to change over to a new system and thrive in it like they have."

Heater, a 6-foot-3 junior, led the conference with 15.9 points per game and had nearly 10 rebounds, four blocks and two steals per contest. The 5-10 Gida contributed 11.5 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals per game. McKinnis, a 5-11 junior, also chipped in with 11.5 points per game and shot 41 percent from 3-point range.

"I think everyone kind of assumed Brenna would get (player of the year), but Allison has matured a ton," said Farley. "She's kind of the epitome of what our team has done this year as far as making changes. She's one of those kids that's just done everything for us."

"(Gida) has great size for a point guard and she can finish so well at the rim over posts," added the first-year coach. "On top of that, she's an unbelievable passer, so when she gets in there she can really make plays for Brenna inside or by kicking it out to Kelsey on the perimeter."

Joining the Ashland trio on the all-SSC girls first team were Crater seniors Alana Harding and Aundrea Albright and Mazama junior Lacey Garrett.

Harding and Albright each averaged about 10 points and seven rebounds for the Comets.

"On different nights, they each had their moments where they kinda put the burden on their shoulders and carried us," said Crater coach J.T. Thomas.

"Those are two kids that have spent a lot of time over the last several seasons working on their game," added the coach. "They've traveled all up and down the West Coast and played about 100 games a year, so it's really nice to see that pay off for both of those kids."

Crater also received second-team nods for sophomore Jennifer Noon and senior Carly Deschamps, while Ashland spark plug Heidi Siebenlist also made the second team.

Eagle Point senior Taylor Hagy and Crater senior Bonnie Heard earned honorable mention recognition, while Mazama's Paul Ritter was named SSC girls coach of the year.

On the boys side, Crater seniors Nick Brothers and Drew Runberg were joined by Ashland seniors Matt Lipski and Dillon Thigpen in earning first-team all-SSC honors. Mazama senior Kolton Nelson was named player of the year after leading the conference with 19.9 points per game.

Lipski and Brothers contended for player-of-the-year honors after leading Ashland and Crater to a 1-2 finish, respectively. Brothers was second in the league in scoring at 15.8 points per game, while Lipski was third at 15 points and averaged nine rebounds.

"I think Nick, in particular, has had an MVP-type year," said Crater boys coach Troy McNichols of his first-teamers. "He's excelled in not just scoring but has been our statistical leader in just about every other category. And Drew, from last year, has just made huge strides. We really feel like he was our best rebounder and probably our best inside threat."

Crater senior Jared Murphy and junior Josh Lokeno, Ashland junior Garrett Tygerson and Eagle Point junior Austin Rowley earned second-team recognition, while Ashland senior Cameron Clement and junior Jesse Javna received honorable mention.

Southern Sky All-Stars


First Team

Kolton Nelson, Maz 6-8 P Sr.

Nick Brothers, Cra 6-1 G Sr.

Matt Lipski, Ash 6-9 P Sr.

Dillon Thigpen, Ash 5-10 G Sr.

Drew Runberg, Cra 6-5 P Sr.


Kolton Nelson, Mazama.


Larry Kellems, Ashland.

Second Team

Garrett Tygerson, Ash 6-5 W Jr.

Evan Gallagher, KU 6-0 G Sr.

Austin Rowley, EP 6-0 G Jr.

Wyatt Lundy, KU 6-0 G Sr.

Jared Murphy, Cra 7-0 P Sr.

Josh Lokeno, Cra 5-11 G Jr.

Mark Brooks, KU 6-1 G Sr.

Honorable Mention

Randy Denson, KU, 6-0, G, So.; Cameron Clement, Ash, 5-11, G, Sr.; Eric Chadderdon, KU, 5-8, G, Jr.; Jordan Rose, Maz, 6-1, G, Jr.; Jared Nelson, Maz, 5-9, G, Sr.; Jesse Javna, Ash, 5-10, G, Jr.


First Team

Allison Gida, Ash 5-10 G So.

Brenna Heater, Ash 6-3 P Jr.

Kelsey McKinnis, Ash 5-11 W Jr.

Alana Harding, Cra 6-2 P Sr.

Aundrea Albright, Cra 6-3 P Sr.

Lacey Garrett, Maz 5-4 G Jr.


Allison Gida, Ashland.


Paul Ritter, Mazama.

Second Team

Jennifer Noon, Cra 5-11 W So.

Carly Deschamps, Cra 5-2 G Sr.

Jennifer Saltenberger, Maz 5-9 G Jr.

Melissa Jones, Maz 5-11 W Jr.

Darian Grigsby, Maz 5-6 G So.

Heidi Siebenlist, Ash 5-6 G Sr.

Honorable Mention

Taylor Hagy, EP, 5-9, G, Sr.; Katey Choukalos, KU, 5-6, G, Jr.; Bonnie Heard, Cra, 5-7, G, Sr.; Katie Gilbert, KU, 5-4, G, Sr.

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