Familiar faces on All Area girls basketball team

Newberry's Brandy Whitfield (left) and Hawthorne's De'Mya Adams were selected to the 2024 All Area small school girls basketball team.
Newberry's Brandy Whitfield (left) and Hawthorne's De'Mya Adams were selected to the 2024 Bosshardt Realty All Area small school girls basketball team.
Graphic by Seth Johnson/Photos by C.J. Gish

This is the first of five stories unveiling the 2024 Bosshardt Realty All Area Basketball Teams. 

A total of six players who made last year’s Bosshardt Realty All Area Girls Basketball Team are back in the spotlight for this year’s 2023-24 awards.

Including two players on the first team from repeat state champion Hawthorne, a total of 60% of last year’s recipients have returned to help form the nucleus of this year’s Bosshardt Realty All Area Girls Basketball Team for Classes 1A and 2A.

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A panel of local sportswriters and coaches chose the All Area teams from Mainstreet’s eight-county coverage area, which included nominations from area high school coaches.

All 44 players and coaches will receive commemorative plaques to recognize their accomplishments.

Leading the way on the small school team is Hawthorne’s De’Mya Adams, the Florida Dairy Farmers Class 1A Player of the Year, who was on the first team last year as a sophomore and made the second team as a freshman.

The junior guard averaged 16.3 points, 1.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 4.0 steals per game for the Lady Hornets (22-3), who won their second straight state Class 1A title.

“She can score from anywhere on the floor, very versatile,” said Hawthorne coach Cornelius Ingram. “We can play her at the point guard position where she can get others involved or she can come out and look for her shot and create her own shot. She’s tough as nails. She was huge for us all year.”

Hawthorne's Jhalea Jackson drives to the basket against Wildwood in the Class 1A State Semifinal game at FP Funding Center in Lakeland.
Photo by C.J. Gish Hawthorne’s Jhalea Jackson averaged 9.2 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 3.8 blocks and 2.8 steals per game in helping the Hornets win back-to-back Class 1A state championships.

Teammate Jhalea Jackson joined her on the first team.

The sophomore forward/center, who was second team All Area last year, averaged 9.2 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.8 steals and 3.8 blocks per game.

“She’s probably the best all-around player that I’ve coached as a girls basketball coach,” Ingram said. “She fills up the stat sheet in every category, but I think she gets more joy out of getting her teammates involved. She does everything for us, rebounding, pushing the ball up the floor, she can score all three levels. She’s just a fantastic player.”

Newberry's Sarah Beaulieu averaged 17.1 points, 6.2 assists, 5.4 steals and 4.1 rebounds per game.
Photo by C.J. Gish Newberry’s Sarah Beaulieu averaged 17.1 points, 6.2 assists, 5.4 steals and 4.1 rebounds per game in 2023-24.

Newberry (15-9) also placed a pair on the team.

Sophomore guard Brandy Whitfield made the first team again after averaging 19.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 4.5 steals in 21 games for the Panthers, who lost to Hawthorne in the 1A-District 6 title game followed by a first-round loss at Madison County in a 1A-Region 3 Semifinal.

Her teammate, guard Sarah Beaulieu, made the second team.

The junior finished just behind Whitfield with 17.1 points per game. She added 4.1 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 5.4 steals per game.

“They are both great players on the basketball court,” said Newberry coach Dameon Hughes. “They both have the ability to take over a game from the defensive side and offensive side. We will see them at the next level. I’m just happy that they are on my team. I would not want to play against them.”

Trenton, which advanced to the 1A-Region 4 Final, placed one on the first team.

Junior forward Nyima Gillyard is on the first team for the second straight year after leading the Lady Tigers to a regional final appearance.

She averaged 13.9 points along with 5.5 rebounds and two steals per game.

“The energy Nyima brings is a big part of why our team was successful this season, especially on the offensive end of the floor,” said Trenton coach Lynsey Grant. “She finished the season scoring 388 points for us. She’s a scorer, she wants the ball in her hands, but she’s also a team player. Nyima knows her role and what she needs to do to help make the people around her better and what she must do to help our team be successful.”

Countryside Christian's Samantha Keith averaged 16.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 3.4 steals in the 2023-24 season.
Photo by C.J. Gish Countryside Christian’s Samantha Keith averaged 16.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 3.4 steals in the 2023-24 season.

The final member of the first team is Fort White’s Isreal Hart.

The junior guard/forward led the Indians in scoring at 16.7 ppg.

Hart was an honorable mention selection last year after making the first team as a freshman.

Junior Samantha Keith repeats on the second team after leading Countryside Christian School to the 2A-District 4 title and postseason appearance.

She averaged 16.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 3.4 steals.

“Sam never has to be pushed to work hard. She is self-motivated and always works at getting better, she’s just a humble kid,” said Countryside Christian coach Tambria Williams. “She is our leader in the locker room and on the court, she brought a contagious energy, a drive to win, and was our top contributor in several, if not all, statistical categories. Most of all, she is a great teammate and a pleasure to coach.”

Oak Hall’s Bella Dyrkolbotn, who made first team All Area last year, made the second team this year after scoring 179 points over 19 games (9.5 ppg).

She was also a rim protector, averaging two blocks per game for the Eagles, who advanced to the second round of the 2A state playoffs.

St. Francis Catholic's Allie Dey averaged 13.9 points and 15.2 rebounds per game in 2023-24.
Photo by C.J. Gish St. Francis Catholic’s Allie Dey averaged 13.9 points and 15.2 rebounds per game in 2023-24.

“Bella is a quiet leader,” said Oak Hall assistant coach Cat Euliano. “She was a captain on the team and led by example, coming to practice early to get shots up and modeling focus at practice. Her ability to draw defense and still make plays, whether scoring or passing, was invaluable to our success this season.”

The youngest player on the second team is guard/forward Kaelynn Brown of Williston, which lost at Trenton, 47-46, in the first round of the 1A state playoffs.

The eighth grader led the Lady Red Devils (11-12) with 12 points, three assists and two steals per game.

Sophomore forward/center Allie Dey of St. Francis Catholic Academy rounds out the second team.

Dey averaged a double-double (13.9 ppg, 15.2 rebounds) for the Wolves (16-6), who lost in the district semifinals to Countryside Christian.

GIRLS – SMALL SCHOOL (1A/2A) (1st Team)

G – De’Mya Adams, Hawthorne (Junior)

G – Brandy Whitfield, Newberry (Sophomore)

G/F – Isreal Hart, Fort White (Junior)

F/C – Nyima Gillyard, Trenton (Junior)

F/C – Jhalea Jackson, Hawthorne (Sophomore)

GIRLS – SMALL SCHOOL (1A/2A) (2nd Team)

G – Samanta Keith, Countryside Christian (Junior)

G – Sarah Beaulieu, Newberry (Junior)

G/F – Kaelynn Brown, Williston (8th grader)

F/C – Allie Dey, St. Francis Catholic Academy (Sophomore)

C – Bella Dyrkolbotn, Oak Hall (Senior)

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Bell – Maddie Smith (Jr.), Dacy Graham (So.)

Bradford (Starke) – Ajiyah Jackson (Sr.)

Branford – Keara Hunt (So.)

Chiefland – Nyasia Bivins (Fr.), Brianna Bell (So.), Ryleigh Locke (Jr.), Riley Davies (So.)

Countryside Christian – Vanessa Colon (So.), Madelyn Watson (Sr.)

Dixie County – Jaidyn Brown (Sr.), Jakayla Henderson (Fr.), Jasmine Nunez (Fr.), Shlanda Simonaire (Fr.)

Hawthorne – Ashlyn Coleman (Sr.), Lakijah Brown (Sr.), Zakena Ealy (Sr.)

Newberry– Jada Brown (So.), Anesty Debose (Jr.)

Oak Hall– Sri Lanka Richardson (Sr.)

St. Francis Catholic Academy – Lexy Bhatia (Sr.)

Trenton – Koi Perry (Jr.), Kayley Sloan (So.), Briana Karanja (Sr.)

Williston – Kierce Solomon (8th), Janiyah Span (7th), Delecia Dallas (Fr.)

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