Top Five: Girls basketball all-area candidates

Each week, sports editor Zack Carpenter provides a top-five list in categories of sports, movies or music. This week, he details five girls basketball players who have a good shot at making all-area teams by season’s end.

Becca Clanton


Clanton isn’t likely to put up 20 points a game, but she is going to net a high volume of shots just as she did last season. And if she’s able to repeat her defensive performance from last year (team-leading 68 steals for 2.3 per game), that should lead to more fast-break opportunities for a team wishing to run more up-tempo offense.

Sidney Hood


Hood was the team’s best ball handler last year, and that will be true again in 2017-18. She is also perhaps the Bunnies’ top passer. She made a pair of notable plays last season in setting up Clanton on two terrific feeds for last-minute buckets to help knock off Ridgeview and Lexington. Don’t be surprised if she doubles her scoring (169 points, 5.6 PPG) and assist totals (49, 1.6 per game).

Alivia Spenard


One of Spenard’s loftier goals is to score 1,000 career points, though she admits that would be a tough challenge considering she is at 480 right now and scored 262 points in 2016-17. But it’s good the senior is setting high standards in her final season. If she keeps getting to the free throw line, where she went 120-for-178 a season ago, she could climb into the 800 range.

Nicole Sprague


Sprague did not have a prominent role last year, used sparingly as a backup guard. But she did see some important minutes, including in the Trojans’ regional game against Cissna Park. If Sprague continues to improve on her already great jump shot, she could cement herself as one of the area’s top shooters. She could make a big leap this season, and be on the lookout for those floaters off the glass.

Madi Gayheart


Several times last year, and last summer, A-P head coach Nick Hipsher cited he and assistant coach Keith O’Banion’s desire for Gayheart to step up her aggressiveness. There were times, like in a momentum-building win over Bismarck-Henning last December, when the lefty could take over games with continued drives to the rim. She racks up quite a few points on what is probably the Trojans’ best inbounds play — a fake handoff by Gayheart and drive to the bucket.

Contact Zack Carpenter at and on Twitter @ZackCarpenter11.


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