CLINTON — Despite Prince of Peace having a middle-of-the-road record in Tri-Rivers Conference play this past season, coaches were very high on Irish senior Karli Atkinson.
Atkinson was the lone Irish player who found herself on the All-Conference East first team, along with two Marquette Catholic players.
The first team includes the state’s leading scorer, Shelby Hembera from Cedar Valley Christian, Lizzie Meier of Easton Valley, a pair of Marquette Catholic juniors, just to name a few.
“She deserves to be in that group,” said Irish coach Scott Maddasion. “She was a great asset to our program, and she never quit or gave up.”
Atkinson was the team’s second leading scorer, but led the team in points a game with 8.7. The Irish senior led the team in rebounds with 166 rebounds and 40 assists.
“The numbers she put up considering she missed five games, that’s outstanding,” Maddasion said. “She almost averaged a double-double, so that shows you how determined she is.”
Maddasion points out that Atkinson may not be the most vocal of leaders, but what she did bring to the Irish this season is leading by example.
“No matter what she was asked of her to do, she’s going to do it with the best of her ability, and the other girls saw that, and fed off of that,” Maddasion said. “She didn’t have to be vocal, because her actions were a lot louder; every coach wants someone like that on their team.”
Maddasion said that there is a possibility that Atkinson will play at the next level — Clarke College and Coe College have both expressed interest in Atkinson.
Meanwhile, up in Bellevue, Marquette coach Jim Kettman was pleased to find out that juniors Nicole Blum (unanimous selection) and Blake Banowetz were on the East first team following a 16-7 campaign.