McKinnis makes first-team all-state

Hindsight is always 20/20, but Ashland girls basketball coach Tom McCracken says he knew what kind of season was in store for senior guard Kelsey McKinnis long before the Grizzlies gathered for their first practice.

McCracken approached McKinnis' father Brian at a football game last fall to tell him as much.

"I told him, 'You wait and see what kind of year she has'," McCracken said. "When it was over, he said, 'You were right. I didn't dream it would be quite like this.' I did. I knew."

McKinnis was rewarded for her standout season when coaches recently voted her one of six first-team Class 5A all-state selections.

"I'm happy for her," McCracken said. "She's had such a great year. She's spent her career in the shadow of Brenna (Heater) and Allison (Gida). With Brenna out and Allison injured so much, Kelsey just stepped it up."

McKinnis, the Southern Sky Conference player of the year, averaged 16.5 points per game and made 59 out of 120 3-pointers on the season in helping the Grizzlies to a fifth-place finish at state.

McKinnis also provided more than just consistent shooting for Ashland. She filled the role of point guard in Gida's absence and led the Grizzlies in total steals.

"She did anything and everything we asked her to do," McCracken said.

McKinnis is considering a handful of NCAA Division III and Division II colleges, McCracken said.

Gida, last year's SSC player of the year, and Heater, a senior post, were named honorable mention all-state. Both players battled injuries throughout the season.

Gida, a junior point guard, sprained her ankle three times early in the season, which kept her out of six games and limited her in many others.

The University of Utah commit still averaged 13.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and six assists per game.

"Allison is the strongest female athlete I've ever seen," McCracken said. "She is just so physical."

Heater appeared in 10 games late in the year after undergoing preseason ankle surgery. The 6-foot-3 standout, who is bound for the University of California next season, averaged 11 points per game and 10.4 rebounds.

She led the state tournament in rebounds (41) and blocks (12).

"She's been one of the most dominant players in the state the last couple of years," McCracken said. "For her to come back and play, I've got to give Brenna all the credit in the world. She came to every single practice from the day we started and was very encouraging, upbeat and positive."

Sunny Greinacher and A.J. Smith of state champion Willamette were co-players of the year while Willamette's Paul Brothers was coach of the year.

Greinacher, a German exchange student, averaged 16 points per game, while Smith scored 12.8 per outing.

Class 5A Girls All-State

First Team

Name, School Yr. Ht. Pos.

Sunny Greinacher, Willamette Jr. 6-4 C

A.J. Smith, Willamette Sr. 6-0 F

Tyrisha Blake, Jefferson Sr. 5-10 F

Gabe Johnson, Corvallis Sr. 5-6 G

Kelsey McKinnis, Ashland Sr. 5-8 G

Shayla Ball, Hillsboro Sr. 5-11 G

Players of the Year — Sunny Greinacher, Willamette & A.J. Smith, Willamette

Coach of the Year — Paul Brothers, Willamette

Second Team

Name, School Yr. Ht. Pos.

Krystal Forthan, Jefferson So. 6-5 C

Aly Bruns, Willamette Sr. 5-5 G

Taylor Pierce, Summit So. 6-0 C

Lauren Codling, Sherwood Sr. 6-0 C

Kristen Huff, North Eugene Sr. 6-2 C

Honorable Mention — Makenzie Ficek, North Eugene, 5-7, G/F; Allison Gida, Ashland, Jr., 5-11, G; Brenna Heater, Ashland, Sr., 6-3, C; Danielle Schmidt, Hillsboro, Sr., 5-10, G; Megan Arnoldy, Wilsonville, Jr., 5-11, F; Christy Mosier, Summit, Sr., 6-0, F; Ariel Reynolds, Jefferson, Jr., 6-1, C.

Reach reporter Luke Andrews at 776-4469

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