High school basketball: Girls MVPs more than just talented athletes

Published: Thursday, March 22 2012 5:00 p.m. MDT

"As a sophomore she played a role," said Peterson. "This year, we only had one senior on the team. She took the leadership role and scored 15 points per game. She could have scored a lot more, but our team was pretty balanced."

Bean's relentless work ethic, coachable attitude and affection for her teammates made her an effective leader who didn't have to say a lot to earn the respect of those around her.

"She is obsessed with getting better," said Peterson. "This year she realized how good a basketball player she could be. She does whatever we ask of her. She is a fun person to be around, but at the same time, she's one of the hardest workers I've ever had in the gym."

And when it came to crunch time, Bean's competitive nature shined.

"You just looked at her on the floor, and you could tell she was ready to put the team on her shoulders if we needed her to," said Peterson.

She is also an all-state volleyball player and track athlete.

"She runs sprints and does the high jump," Peterson said. "She's just an all-around athlete. We've had some good ones here at Richfield High, but she's right up there with the best."

1A MVP: Katie Berry, St. Joseph

Sometimes having one player score a lot of points can destroy the chemistry of a team. The way Katie Berry handled her role as the Jayhawks' top scorer only added to the team's chemistry.

"She's just a natural scorer," said St. Joseph coach Joe Cravens. "She had a knack for finding shots and scoring and doing it within the team concept."

Berry helped St. Joseph to a great start in the 1A state title game against a tough Rich team that had dominated every other opponent in the tournament.

Cravens said a player who knows how to score points can be invaluable to a team — if it's handled the right way.

"She reminds me of scorers I've had in my career," he said. "She scores, but she's a great teammate, a great leader. She's a nice person, but she's got a scorer's mentality. She understood how to get points."

As one of the Jayhawks' co-captains, Berry is one of only two girls in St. Joseph's history to score more than 1,000 points.

"She's a kid who can shoot," Cravens said. "We're very fortunate by the end of the year, everyone understood their role. … You can't have a good team without star role players. … Katie Berry's role was to lead us in scoring. And she did that without any ego."

Berry, an honor student who was also a part of the school's state championship tennis team, averaged 15.64 points and three rebounds per game. She helped the Jayhawks to their first state title in girls basketball in school history.

Email: adonaldson@desnews.com