COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — To opponents, she might be an intimidating shot-blocker with the broad smile.
Off the court, Ohio Associated Press Ms. Basketball Hallie Thome is a typical teenage girl.
Thome — it’s rhymes with home — was announced Wednesday as the 28th recipient of the Ms. Basketball award, given annually to the top female high school basketball player in the state.
The 6-foot-5 senior averaged 19.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 4.6 blocked shots on the season while hitting 68 percent of her shots from the field, including an incredible 71 percent (180 of 255) on 2-point attempts.
When she’s not starring on the court, she’s like just about any other girl her age.
“I love to shop. I love to paint my nails,” she said. “I’ll usually go and hang out with friends. And I love watching movies — scary ones or chick flicks, romantic comedies.”
The Michigan signee led the Tigers to a perfect regular season, a No. 3 ranking in the final AP poll and a trip to the regional semifinals before ending the season with a 26-1 mark.
She’s no grim-faced robot on the court, either.
“She’s definitely a class clown. She’s somebody who has a lot of fun,” said coach Brittany Anderson. “She plays with a smile on her face. If you talk to any of her opponents and opposing coaches, they wouldn’t have a bad thing to say about her. Because she plays real honest, straight up, fundamental basketball. So she’s always out there grinning and laughing and happy to be out there playing.”
Thome may be a true post player, but she also can step outside and shoot and can run the floor for baskets in transition.
As a matter of fact, like a lot of centers she has dreams of being a perimeter player. Maybe that’s why she’s so proud of the fact that she hit a 3 this season.
“I shot a few,” she said, laughing. “When I was open, I figured I’d make one of them. We’re working on it.”
It’s been a brilliant bounce-back season for Thome. She missed all but a few games her junior year due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her knee. Before that, she had shown incredible promise by setting a school record with 49 points in a 66-47 win over Chardon Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin in November 2013.
She had a spectacular senior season, as evidenced by her stats. She had a season-high 30 points against Perry and added 27 — outscoring Parma Heights Holy Name by herself — in a 50-26 win in December.
Thome had 11 doubles and finished a blocked shot short of a triple-double three times.
“We play her in the post but for college ball she’ll be better suited to power forward,” Anderson said. “She’s very mobile, has great footwork and she runs the floor incredibly well. She’s definitely going to be a fun piece of the puzzle for Michigan next year.”
With a 3.58-grade point average, she’s smart, popular, friendly and outgoing. She comes from an athletic family, with her parents both athletes, her twin sister Hannah headed to play hoops for NCAA-bound Ohio University, an older sister who was a college swimmer and 6-7 brother Jack just ending up his sophomore season for Ohio Conference champion Marietta.
Thome beat out a list of Ms. Basketball candidates which included Newark’s Kym Royster, Melinda Trimmer of Beloit West Branch, Kaayla McIntyre of Toledo Notre Dame and Bre Berryman of Wintersville Indian Creek.
Past winners include a first-team All-Big Ten selection this season, 2014 winner Kelsey Mitchell, along with pro star Katie Smith and two-time winners Vonda Ward, Semeka Randall, Michelle Munoz and Ameryst Alson, Mitchell’s running mate at Ohio State.
The selection was made in balloting by a state media panel.
ASSOCIATED PRESS MS. OHIO BASKETBALL WINNERS