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Presenting the DLN all-area girls basketball teams

Player of Year – Kaylene Smikle, Sr., Westtown

First Team
Danae Ellzy, Sr., Coatesville
One of the best guards in the area, Ellzy is an excellent two-way player who can can create her own shot as well as anybody in the Ches-Mont. She averaged 16.9 points, 2.5 assists and 2.0 steals per game. She went over the 1,000-point mark late in the season, finishing up with 1,062 points. She is scheduled to head to Mansfield.
Lauren Kent, Sr., Downingtown East
The first-team All-Ches-Mont member was as strong defensively as she was on the offensive side. Kent is as equally effective taking a jumps shots as she is driving to the basket and getting a basket or going to the foul line. She had 18 points in the semifinals of the Ches-Mont championships in a win over Great Valley.
DeJah Morris, Jr., Collegium Charter
The junior is a stat stuffer and one of the better all-around guards in the area. She averaged 17.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.5 steals a game in leading the Lions to a second-place finish in the BAL and a District 1 playoff berth. Morris proved to be matchup nightmare for opposing guards.
Grace Sundback, Jr., Westtown
The 5-10 junior averaged over 12 points a game, five rebounds and three assists. She was part of a trio, along with player of the year Kaylene Smikle and Zahra King, who were dominant in leading the Moose to the Friend League championship and a state title. Sundback had 25 points in a PASIAA quarterfinal Friends Central.
Gracen Curley, Sr., Great Valley
The senior was named to the first team All-Ches-Mont American squad. She was the heart of soul of a team that was a win away from reaching the state playoffs. Curley averaged 11 points, six rebounds and two assists a game as her length proved vital on the defensive end. “Every year, Gracen has come back a better player,” said coach Alex Venarchik. “Her hard work and dedication in the offseason was apparent on the court. “Gracen was a leader by example … everyday at practice she worked as hard as she could and every game she left it all on the court. Her talents and work ethic were rewarded this year by opposing league coaches with a First Team All-Ches-Mont American Division selection.”
Laine McGurk, Jr., West Cheter Rustin
The junior was the Player of the Year in the Ches-Mont League American Division. She averaged 21.7 points per game in 26 games. She ecliped the 1,000-point mark during the season. She had 34 assists, 45 steals and 20 blocks. McGurk was able to take over almost any time she wanted. “Laine is a game-changer in every aspect,” said Rustin coach Lauren Stackhouse following their Ches-Mont Championship win over Downingtown East. “I knew that once that ball went into her hands, she was gone and that ball was going down. As a team, we have full confidence in her to make those big shots and make those game-winning shots. That’s what she brings to the table every time she steps on the court.”

Second Team
Ella Iacone, Soph., Villa Maria
Serenity Burgess, Soph., Collegium Charter
Ari Smuda, Jr., Downingtown East
Alyssa Brown, Jr., Bishop Shanahan
Lizzie Grant, Jr., Downingtown West
Marissa Franchione, Soph., Conestoga

Honorable Mention
Riley Angstadt, Jr., Unionville; Samantha Blumenthal, Soph., Bishop Shanahan; Mary Carroll, Soph., Kennett; Laney Costin, Sr., West Chester Rustin; Cassidy Denning, Sr., Downingtown East; Makayla Kelly, Jr., Kennett; Annie Kerns, Soph., West Chester East; Zahra King, Soph., Westtown; Laura Lum, Jr., Great Valley; Mia Matthews, Soph., Kennett; Bria Nartey, Sr., Avon Grove; Jackie Shea, Soph., West Chester Henderson; Riley Stackhouse, Soph., West Chester Rustin.

Coach of the Year
Fran Burbidge, Westtown — The latest stop in the venerable coach’s career is proving very fruitful. Burbidge sat on the bench and watched his collection of talent hold up through some difficult tournament compettion, roll to the Friends League championship and capture its first state title.
That bounty of titles has allowed Burbidge to be named the Daily Local News Girls Basketball All-Area Coach of the Year.
The Moose were led by the terrific trio of DLN Player of the Year Kaylene Smikle, Grace Sundback and Zahra King.
“The team went 23-4 on the year, going 18-1 after the Christmas break with the only loss being to the number five ranked team in the country at New Hope Academy (Md ) in a real close game,” said Burbidge.


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