After a San Juan Basin League girls basketball season that featured numerous highlight-reel moments and plenty of exciting finishes, five local players were selected to the league’s all-conference team.
Sierra Schwartz: First teamLeading the way was Dolores senior Sierra Schwartz, whose hustle and leadership during a season in which Dolores advanced to regionals earned her a selection to the SJBL first team.
Schwartz achieved per game averages of 2.1 points and 2.6 rebounds and a season-high scoring output of 6 points during her team’s 34-29 loss to Ridgway on Jan. 26. She also stood out on the defensive end, averaging 2.8 steals per contest.
Far more important than Schwartz’s statistical contributions was her ability to serve as an example to younger teammates and influence games with hustle and heart.
Cassie Gatlin: Second teamAmong the SJBL’s top underclassmen to earn all-conference honors was Dove Creek sophomore Cassie Gatlin, who emerged as a dominant force on both ends of floor during her second season.
Known for her powerful post moves and aggression under the basket, Gatlin averaged a team-high 12.5 points per game and a team-high 10.9 points per game while scoring in double figures in 15 of 22 games.
The sophomore also came up big on the defensive end of the floor as she averaged 3.3 steals per game during a season that saw Dove Creek amass a 13-9 overall record and advance to a Regional Championship game.
Ashley Cole: Second teamRecognized by opponents for her grit and no-quit attitude, Mancos senior Ashley Cole was named second team all-conference after the final season of her high school career.
Posting per-game averages of 2.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in the three games for which statistics were available, Cole pushed the pace and impacted the game on defensive by harassing opposing guards and jumping into passing lanes.
She also provided leadership on and off the court as Mancos’ young team finished the 2017-18 season with a 3-16 record, which included two wins over Ridgway and one over Nucla.
Josie Majors: Second teamGutting through injuries throughout much of her senior season, Dolores senior Josie Majors earned a second team all-conference selection.
In addition to providing solid defense from her guard position, Majors averaged 4.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.4 points per game. The senior’s finest scoring effort came on Jan. 26, when she netted six points in a 34-29 loss to Ouray.
Grace Hatfield: Honorable mentionKicking off her high school career with a bang, Dove Creek freshman Grace Hatfield made her presence felt every time she stepped onto the court and as a result, earned all-conference honorable mention.
Hatfield averaged 11.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game and scored 19 points in games against Northwest, Norwood, and Caprock Academy.
Ending her first high school season on a high note and perhaps providing a glimpse of things to come, Hatfield scored 16 points against tough competition during her team’s Regional Championship loss to Bellview Academy on March 3.
Joining local selections on the SJBL’s all-conference team were player of the year Courtney Lemon (Norwood) and Coach of the Year Craig Kaminsky (Ouray).