Girls basketball may not have produced a final four team this year, but the area did have a top-four finisher.
Trenton senior Bri Becker finished third overall in the voting for the Florida Dairy Farmers Class 1A Player of the Year, garnering 42 points to finish behind 1A POY Kailani Lindsey (63 points) of state runner-up Wildwood and Neveah McCoy (47 points) of Class 1A state champion Ponce De Leon.
“Ever since I watched her play in middle school, I noticed that she was going to be a special player,” said Trenton coach Bryant Frye. “She always pushes herself to be great in all aspects of her life.”
Frye said that when he was faced with making a decision to replace a starter during the 2018-19 season, he chose Becker as the player to replace her.
“Bri was a ninth grader, but I just felt that she was able to handle the situation,” he said. “Fortunately for me and the team, she held her own and helped the senior-led team win a state championship.”
Trenton defeated Holmes County (Bonifay), 43-31, to win the Class 1A state title in 2019 under Frye, giving Becker the first of two trips to Lakeland.
“Since her ninth grade year, she has become a more complete and very competitive player over her remaining years, not only her statistics, which speak for themselves, but her leadership was one of the driving forces that helped lead the Lady Tigers to our 7th straight district championship,” Frye said. “Bri is an exceptional player and more importantly, she is a super person. I will always have a special place in my life for Bri.”
Meanwhile, Hawthorne (16-6), which was denied a fourth straight trip to the state semifinals with a loss in the region final at Wildwood, eliminated Trenton (17-10) in the regional semifinals.
Becker committed her fifth foul with 4:25 to play in the game and that changed the momentum as the Hornets outscored Trenton 12-2 over the final three and a half minutes to rally the Hornets to a 43-39 win on the road.
That was on the heels of the Tigers’ seventh straight district title and their 90th straight district win in a 54-13 win against Chiefland.
“The girls knew what was at stake tonight, seven in a row that’s very difficult for anybody,” Frye said following the win against the Indians. “It’s (90 straight) a testament to the kids, of buying into what we do here and how we do it because that is over an 8-year period. It’s not the same team doing it. It’s different kids at different times and different eras, and I’ve just been blessed.”
Becker scored nine of her game-high 11 points in the first quarter of that game as the Tigers built a 23-5 lead after the first eight minutes.
“Ever since ninth grade, she’s just that motor in the engine, and how she goes is how we go and that’s what happened tonight,” Frye said. “She took it over and the rest was history, I guess.”
Hawthorne also defeated Trenton in last year’s state semifinals, ending the Tigers’ season at 23-5.
Becker just missed averaging a double-double in 2021-22 with an average of 11.5 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. She also finished her senior season averaging 6.6 assists, 5.1 steals, and 1.5 blocks.
For her career, she was a part of two final four teams, a state championship, and an overall record of 88-24.
Seven individual class finalists for the 2022 Florida Dairy Farmers Miss Basketball and Girls Basketball Coach of the Year were announced following balloting by a statewide panel of high school girls basketball coaches and prep media members.
Every finalist was the leading vote-getter in their classification, making each one the Player of the Year or Coach of the Year in their class. The two winners will be announced following a final round of balloting by coaches and media.
Here are the seven finalists for the 2022 Miss Basketball Award:
Trinity Turner, Dr. Phillips, Sophomore, Guard, Class 7A Player of the Year
Led her team to the Class 7A state title averaging 15.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 3.4 steals per game.
Jada Eads, Wekiva, Sophomore, Guard, Class 6A Player of the Year
Led her team to the Class 6A state title game by averaging 17.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.5 steals per game.
Ta’Niya Latson, Senior, Plantation American Heritage, Class 5A Player of the Year
Led her team to the Class 5A state title averaging 27.2 points, 8.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 5.3 steals and 2.0 blocks per game. Named a McDonald’s All-America. Signed with Florida State University.
Nyla Harris, Lake Highland Prep, Senior, Forward, Class 4A Player of the Year
Led her team to the Class 4A state championship by averaging 17.8 points, 11.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Signed with the University of Louisville.
Tonie Morgan, Florida High, Senior, Guard, Class 3A Player of the Year
Led her team to the state title Final Four by averaging 20.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Signed with Georgia Tech University.
Taliah Scott, St. Johns Country Day, Junior, Guard, Class 2A Player of the Year
Led her team to a 21-6 record by averaging 31.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.4 steals per game. Signed with the University of Arkansas.
Kailani Lindsey, Wildwood, Junior, Center/Forward, Class 1A Player of the Year
Led her team to a Class 1A state runner-up finish by averaging 11.8 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game.
The seven finalists for the 2021 Girls’ Basketball Coach of the Year:
Anthony Jones, Dr. Phillips, Class 7A Coach of the Year
Led his team to a 26-6 record and the Class 7A state title. In 14 years at Dr. Phillips, Jones has compiled a 269-132 with three other state championships in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Oliver Berens, St. Thomas Aquinas, Class 6A Coach of the Year
In his fifth year as head coach at Aquinas, Berens led his team to a 27-4 record and its second straight Class 6A state title. He has a record of 102-32 at Aquinas with a state runner-up finish in 2019.
Greg Farias, Plantation American Heritage, Class 5A Coach of the Year
Farias led his squad to a 25-4 record and a fifth straight state championship. In seven years at American Heritage, he has posted a 169-35 record with another Final Four appearance in 2017 and has an overall career mark of 207-47.
Al Honor, Lake Highland Prep, Class 4A Coach of the Year
Honor led his squad to a 25-4 record and a third straight Class 4A state title. In 11 years at LHP, Honor has posted a 268-31 record with five state championships and seven Final Four appearances.
Shannon Walhoff, Westminster Academy, Class 3A Coach of the Year
Led squad to a 27-5 record and the Class 3A state title. In 13 years at Westminster, Wallhoff has compiled a 229-82 record.
Chanel Davila, Miami Christian, Class 2A Coach of the Year
In her third year at the school, Davila led her squad to a 21-8 record and a second straight Class 2A state title. Her three-year record at Miami Christian is 60-22.
Brad Alford, Ponce De Leon, Class 1A Coach of the Year
Alford compiled a 23-3 record and won a second straight Class 1A state title. In four years, he has posted an 85-18 record.