High school girls basketball: Deseret News Players of the Year were consummate playmakers both offensively and defensively
Lone Peak’s Kailey Woolston, Lehi’s Jamisyn Heaton, Ridgeline’s Emilee Skinner, Grantsville’s Kenzie Allen, Kanab’s Grayce Glover and Piute’s Kassidy Westwood were named the Deseret News Players of the Year
The 2021-2022 Deseret News girls basketball Players of the Year were the ultimate playmakers for their teams this season at both ends of the floor. All six could score with the best of them in the state while defensively they were the key cog in their teams’ respective defensive game plan.
Here’s a look the 2021-2022 Deseret News girls Players of the Year.
6A Player of the Year
Kailey Woolston, Lone Peak — 5-10, G, Jr.
When it comes to complete basketball players, few if anyone did it better than Lone Peak junior Kailey Woolston this season or past seasons either.
She was the ultimate competitor whose talent matched her tenacity as she averaged 20.0 points, 7.0 rebounds three 3-pointers while shooting a state record 93% from the free-throw line for the undefeated 6A state champion Knights. She led 6A in both scoring average and 3-pointers average.
Her ability to rebound, dribble, pass and defend positions 1-5 make her the most valuable player on the floor at any given time, according to her coach Nancy Warner.
“She is our unquestioned leader, she practices as hard as anyone I’ve ever met, individually and as a team, and is one of the most complete basketball players I’ve ever coached,” said Warner.
The better the competition, the better the performance as evidenced by her 26-point performance in the 6A championship win over Fremont. She also recorded four double-doubles during the season.
“On top of her skill, she’s one of the most humble, lovable and coachable players who strives to do everything right on and off the court daily. With as good of a player as she is on the court, she’s an even better person off the court,” said Warner.
5A Player of the Year
Jamisyn Heaton, Lehi — 5-10, G/F, Sr.
Many expected a bit of a drop-off from Lehi basketball after graduating a pair of first team all-staters from last year’s 5A semifinal team.
Jamisyn Heaton made sure that didn’t happen.
The do-it-all senior led Lehi to a region championship, the No. 1 RPI seed heading into the playoffs and a 5A runner-up finish.
“Jamisyn worked as hard as any player I’ve ever been around. In both the offseason and in season she was always going that extra little bit to perfect and fine-tune her game. She was able to add different elements to her game each season that made her such an incredibly tough matchup for opposing teams,” said Lehi coach Sean Seastrand.
Heaton averaging 17.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals.
Her versatility allowed her to play point guard at one end of the floor and then defend the post at the other end.
“But beyond basketball I’m most proud of the growth she made as a teammate, leader and person. She stepped up in every way as the leader on a team with big goals. She bought in and overcame challenges with poise and determination. She helped create and strengthen a cultural element in our program of being a great teammate, hard worker and competitor, but was able to consistently balance bringing so much joy to the experience. It was a privilege to be able to have a front-row seat to what she did this year as the leader of this program,” added Seastrand.
4A Player of the Year
Emilee Skinner, Ridgeline — 5-10, G, Fr.
Ridgeline freshman Emilee Skinner burst onto the high school basketball scene this season and will be a force to reckon with for several more years.
She was almost always the best player on the floor despite her young age, and it showed as she averaged 18.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 3.8 steals.
“Emilee is a natural leader who makes her teammates better. Her individual statistics are great, she fills up the stat sheet, but I know that isn’t what Emilee cares about. She cares about her teammates and about being successful. She’s a fierce competitor who wants to win, on the court, and in life,” said Ridgeline coach Ainsli Jenks.
Skinner scored in double-figures in every game this and had five triple-doubles with her rebounding ability as a guard.
In Ridgeline’s state championship loss to Desert Hills, Skinner fouled out just seconds into the first of two overtimes. Jenks said she was proud to see Skinner continue to cheer on her teammates despite her predicament. It inevitably will push her to be even better as a sophomore, which is a scary thought as she was already the best player in 4A as a freshman.
“I truly enjoyed coaching Emilee this season and I feel lucky that we get three more years with her. I am excited for her future and the opportunity I have to sit courtside,” said Jenks.
3A Player of the Year
Kenzie Allen, Grantsville — 5-8, G, Jr.
Kenzie Allen’s relentless pursuit to be great helped Grantsville not only stay relevant in 3A but win 20 games along the way and compete with the best in the state.
“Kenzie had a great season and her and her teammates desire to prove that this year was not a ‘rebuilding’ year was fun to watch and be a part of. She challenged herself to be great and each time we challenged her to try something new or work on a part of her game that needed some tweaking, she worked hard at it,” said Grantsville coach Megan Vera.
Allen finished second in 3A in scoring averaging 20.5 points to go along with her 4.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 4.7 steals.
“Her defense is elite and her offense did some catching up to that level this year. The most exciting part is that she’s got another year to show what she’s all about and is already taking the steps necessary this offseason to get better and to ultimately reach her individual and team goals for her senior season,” added Vera.
Allen was usually her best in the biggest games, including scoring 30 and 31 points in Grantsville’s two biggest regular-season games against region rival Morgan.
2A Player of the Year
Grayce Glover, Kanab — 5-6, G, Sr.
Gracye Glover was already a great player as evidenced by being voted first team all-state her sophomore and junior years at Kanab. It’s the versatility that she added to her game for her senior season that separated her as the best of the best in 2A.
Glover averaged 15 points this season just as last year, but her contributions on the stat sheet went up in every other area possible this season as she finished averaging 15.0 points, 4.0 assists and 5.4 rebounds to go along with 61 made 3-pointers.
“Grayce is a rare athlete who leads in every way possible. She puts a ton of time into basketball outside the season and also after practices during the season. She leads with character and is not afraid to make every effort to win games. She’s one of the toughest and most competitive people I’ve been around in 26 years of coaching high school football and basketball. Grayce is a great student and a winner on every level. She will be greatly missed,” said Kanab coach Klint Glover.
Glover delivered on the biggest stage in the playoffs this year, recording 15 points, seven rebounds and three steals in the semifinals and then 19 points, six rebounds and four assists in the championship.
1A Player of the Year
Kassidy Westwood, Piute — 5-5, G, Sr.
For the second straight year, Piute’s Kassidy Westwood has been voted the 1A Player of the Year for leading the T-Birds to a repeat state championship.
“Kassidy has been a great and consistent player for us all year. She not only can score when called upon but can also shut down an opposing player as well. One of her greatest qualities has been that she makes great decisions when the pressure is at the highest. Every team that we have played this year, Kassidy has been guarded by the opposing team’s best player. She understood that and was content to help her teammates to be the best that they could be,” said Piute coach Tim Westwood, Kassidy’s father.
She finished the season averaging 14.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.0 steals. Her consistency was on display in the playoffs as she hit those averages almost every game of the state tournament.
“She was not only the point guard and had to handle the ball in pressure situations but she was also our leading rebounder. It hasn’t been easy for her, knowing that if she didn’t perform great each and every game that she was going to hear about it from her Dad, coach Westwood. Her success as a player this year is because she has had the greatest teammates that any player could ever ask for,” added coach Westwood