Nikiskis Sarah Herrin controls the ball in a game earlier this year.
Clarion file photo by M. Scott M
Nikiski girls basketball coach Ward Romans and player Sarah Herrin have a lot more in common than earning the highest honors in Daily News/Alaska Media All-State Basketball voting announced Thursday.
Both Romans, who was named the Class 3A girls coach of the year, and Herrin, who was named the Class 3A girls player of the year, are equally quick to deflect the praise of their honors onto other members of the Nikiski program.
“My teammates made me get voted to player of the year,” said Herrin, a 5-foot-7 senior. “They are the ones who helped me with offense and defense. I would say everyone should be player of the year on our team.”
Romans strikes a similar tone, saying the award is as much a reflection on him as it is on assistants Sharon Thompson and Jason Tauriainen.
“I’ve been blessed to have caring people believe in what I’m trying to do, and this award is a reflection of that,” Romans said. “This team had faith in what we are trying to do as coaches.
“With team success comes individual recognition. I’m just blessed to be the caretaker of this program.”
Others honored from Nikiski were Hannah Thompson, a 5-9 junior, on the first team and Sasha Auldridge, a 5-5 senior, on the second team.
Others honored from the peninsula were Seward’s Juno Prochazka, a 5-5 junior, with an honorable mention for the Class 3A girls and Homer’s Reba Temple, a 6-2 sophomore, with an honorable mention for the Class 4A girls.
The Bulldogs won the Class 3A state title this year. It is the eighth state title Romans has won since he took over the program in 1990. Romans has been honored as coach of the year five times.
“He puts in so much time,” Herrin said of Romans. “He doesn’t just teach us about basketball, he teaches us about life in general.”
Herrin averaged 19 points per game and 9.2 rebounds per game this season for the Bulldogs, leading the team in both categories.
She averaged a double-double at the state tournament, posting 20 points and 14 rebounds in a semifinal victory and 23 points and 14 rebounds in the championship.
“She never wanted to put all of the glory on herself,” Romans said. “She’d sacrifice big point totals if that’s what it took for the team to win.
“There are times, as good as she is, that I had to tell her to look for her shot.”
Thompson averaged 8.1 points per game and 9.1 rebounds per game. She also led the team in assists, with 77, and held fellow first-teamer Jesstinna “Piggy” Pili of Barrow to nine points in the championship win over the Whalers.
“She’s one of the best passers that I have ever coached,” Romans said of Thompson. “She plays the complete game.”
Auldridge averaged 10 points per game while playing point guard.
“I think all teams had to do was throw a press at us to find out how valuable she is,” Romans said of Auldridge.
Romans said a good example of Auldridge’s ability to make teams pay for pressing came in the semifinals at state, when Mt. Edgecumbe pressed and lost 42-26.
Anchorage Daily News/Alaska Media All-State Basketball Team 2005-06
Class 3A boys
Player of the Year Lonnie Ridgeway, Heritage Christian.
Coach of the Year Brad Lauwers, Heritage Christian.
First team Trenton Millar, 6-foot-5, Sr., Heritage Christian; Thomas Millar, 6-5, Sr., Heritage Christian; Lonnie Ridgeway, 6-3, Sr., Heritage Christian; Bobby Pico, 6-0, Sr., Barrow; Damen Bell-Holter, 6-7, So., Mt. Edgecumbe.
Second team Kynan Adams, 6-3, Jr., Cordova; Zach Klein, 6-2, Sr., Mt. Edgecumbe; Travis Pew, 6-1, Jr., Eielson; John Miller III, 6-0, Sr., Barrow; Chad Dyson, 5-8, So., Anchorage Chrisitan Schools.
Honorable mention Cameron Severson, 6-4, So., Petersburg; Kellen Hawley, 6-5, Sr., Cordova; Ben Boerger, 5-10, Sr., Grace Christian; Tyson Bendzak, 5-11, Sr., Cordova; Gabe Webb, 6-4, Sr., Heritage Christian.
Class 3A girls
Player of the year Sarah Herrin, Nikiski.
Coach of the year Ward Romans, Nikiski.
First team Sarah Herrin, 5-7, Sr., Nikiski; Hannah Thompson, 5-9, Jr., Nikiski; Jesstinna “Piggy” Pili, 5-6, Jr., Barrow; Michelle Villarma, 5-6, Fr., Wrangell; Skeeter Atoruk, 5-7, Sr., Mt. Edgecumbe.
Second team Rebekah Gueco, 5-7, Sr., Barrow; Christina Blandford, 5-10, Sr., Nome; Whitney Connor, 5-4, Sr., Valdez; Ashley Jelly, 5-6, So., Eielson; Sasha Auldridge, 5-5, Sr., Nikiski.
Honorable mention Laura Blanchard, 6-0, Sr., Valdez; Juno Prochazka, 5-5, Jr., Seward; Anna Simmers, 5-9, Fr., Heritage Christian; Tessa Appleman, 5-10, Sr., Wrangell; Chelsea Dyson, Fr., Anchorage Christian Schools.
Class 4A boys
Player of the year Ramon Harris, West.
Coach of the year Kevin Fullmer, Chugiak.
First team Ramon Harris, 6-5, Sr., West; Jesse Bean, 5-11, Jr., Wasilla; Will Egolf, 6-7, Jr., Juneau-Douglas; Justin Williams, 5-10, Sr., Chugiak; Jay Davis, 6-3, Sr., West.
Second team Brian Niedermeyer, 6-3, Jr., Chugiak; Bryan Hurn, 6-2, Sr., West; Justin Ore, 6-3, Sr., Dimond; Dominique Smith, 6-2, Sr., Lathrop; Phillip Hearn, 6-4, Jr., West.
Honorable mention David Cannamore, Eagle River; Conor Spink, 6-3, Sr., Chugiak; Mark Putney, 6-3, Sr., Kodiak; Ryan Fagerstrom, 6-2, Sr., Juneau-Douglas; Damar Wilson, 6-3, Jr., East.
Class 4A girls
Player of the year Talisa Rhea, Juneau.
Coach of the year Jim Young, Dimond.
First team Talisa Rhea, 5-11, Jr., Juneau; Kelsy McIntosh, 5-10, Sr., North Pole; Lillian Bullock, 5-6, Sr., Service; Princess Eduarte, 5-3, Jr., Dimond; Shaina Afoa, 6-1, Sr., Dimond.
Second team Hillarie Putnam, 5-8, Jr., Wasilla; Jazzie Gaddy, 6-2, So., East; Sylvia Bullock, 6-1, So., Service; Melissa Rima, 6-3, Jr., North Pole; Kelcy Joynt, 5-9, Sr., Colony.
Honorable mention Reba Temple, 6-2, So., Homer; Allie Grazulis, 5-10, Fr., Colony; Savannah Afoa, 6-1, Sr., Dimond; Ariel Tweto, 5-7, Sr., East; Samoana Ingram, 5-10, Fr., Dimond.
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