Kate Jeffers has been a constant presence in the paint since her freshman season. She finished her senior season this year as the leader for Okaw Valley girls basketball.
Jeffers led the team with 311 points and 314 rebounds, averaging just shy of a double-double (9.7 points per game and 9.8 rebounds per game).
“Kate is about as good of a rebounder as there has been in the area recently, very good athlete, and very good defensively,” said Okaw coach Brad Akers. “We are going to miss her immensely. She has been a part of winning a lot of games here over the past 4 years — and has done that without some of here friends, as she has been the only player in her class the past three years.”
As for the Timberwolves, season, they lost a lot with Paige Robinson and Natalie Jeffers two years ago and then re-tooling with.
“It was a good season, given hindsight,” Coach Akers said. “We improved on last years win total by 2. The future is bright, as we were extremely young, and will still be young next year.”
Okaw Valley lost 4 of their first 5 games this season, beating Meridian. They beat Arthur Okaw Christian then lost 7 straight. The T’Wolves then won 3 of 4 games at the Meridian Holiday Tournament. They beat Meridian again and then Martinsville.
After an expected loss to Tuscola in between tournament games, Okaw bounced back by beating Blue Ridge at the Meridian Holiday Tournament. Okaw took 2nd in the toiurney with a loss to Warrensburg.
Okaw lost in OT at Mt. Pulaski, lost to WSS, then edged Nokomis in a defensive struggle, 29-28. Okaw had a 2-game win streak, beating Cumberland and Decatur Lutheran.
They dropped a pair, then came back with back-to-back wins, beating Blue Ridge and Cerro Gordo/Bement for their 10th win of the season (10-18).
In the regular season finale they beat Decatur Lutheran again and then knocked off Meridian in the first game on the Arthur Regional for 2 wins in a row. Okaw bowed out against #1 seed Central A&M in the regional semifinal.
The youth movement is led by sophomore shooter Mia Harris and freshman Bailey Bennett. Harris was the 2nd leading scorer on the team this year with 301 points (9.4 ppg). Harris connected 21 times from the arc. She was quick to the ball and got 127 rebounds.
Bennett scored 208 points (6.5 ppg). Sophomore Shyanne Harding scored 118 points. Harding is an x-factor who does the extra things, so you have to account for her. She was 2nd on the team in rebounding with 178 boards.
Freshman Avery Bruns was a presence around the paint with 157 rebounds and freshman Lexie Bartimus began to find her range from the arc.
Steady guard Miaya Lehman will provide the senior leadership next year along with Alesia Smegal and Delaney Johnson. Sophomore Evelyn Ashley and freshman Reagan Reedy will have another year under their belt come next year.
Okaw Valley Girls Basketball 2019-2020 Season
Scoring Leaders: Kate Jeffers G 32, Pts 311 (9.7 ppg); Mia Harris G 32, Pts 301 (9.4 ppg); Bailey Bennett G 32, Pts 208 (6.5 ppg); Shyanne Harding G 32, Pts 118 (3.7 ppg)
3-Point Leaders: Harris G 32, 3-Pt Made 21, 3-Pt Att 92
Rebound Leaders: Kate Jeffers G 32, Reb 314 (9.8 rpg); Shyanne Harding G 32, Reb 178 (5.6 rpg); Avery Bruns G 32, Reb 157 (4.9 rpg); Mia Harris G 32, Reb 127 (3.9 rpg)