The girls basketball season feels like it ended just a week ago.
Yet, there are three area girls who are already making the most of their time away from their high school teams. Port Huron Northern’s Kiana Votava, Marysville’s Devan Valko and Marine City’s Karyssa Austin will spend their summers playing for the AAU’s DSO Sting.
And, starting their season on a high note, the trio of area ballers won the Midwest Girls Basketball Report Tournament of Champions in Fort Wayne, Ind. over the weekend. Getting out of the weekend with a 5-0 record in the tournament’s Elite Division, the Sting are able to call themselves one of the Midwest’s top teams.
After watching Votava, Valko and Austin play throughout the winter, I have to say, my Surprised Meter is at a one – these girls can take over a court.
It also doesn’t hurt that 30-35 college coaches were in attendance to watch the two juniors – Valko and Votava – and sophomore Austin win the tourney.
“All of them will be on the radar of coaches for sure, escpecially after winning the tournament,” DSO Sting assistant and SC4 women’s head coach Joel Whymer said. “The Sting is a name that’s recognized throughout the Midwest and entire country.”
Votava has been working her way in the starting rotation, using her physical style of play to give the Sting a solid post presence.
“She’s had a heck of a spring so far,” Whymer said. “She’s just so aggressive and she’s super athletic. Every game I feel like she’s been matched up against someone who is bigger than her, and yet she is one of the better rebounders on the team.”
A good spring from Valko could not just help the Sting, but it could help Marysville’s team in what should be a season to remember next winter.
“Devan gives us a little bit of the length, and she is a very good three-point shooter,” Sting head coach Scott Stine said. “She’s been our leading three-point shooter so far this season, and she plays great basketball IQ-wise.”
Austin, one of five sophomores on the team, was known as a sharpshooter in Marine City’s gym throughout the winter. However, this spring looks like she is adding a grittier style of play to help the Sting have a strong presence in the paint.
“She’s a lot tougher and physical than what I thought,” Whymer said. “She’s been known to be a great shooter, but she’s been able to get rebounds in the post too.”
The Sting will also be heading around the country in the summer, dipping down to Baltimore and Atlanta later in the season. The trio of Blue Water girls will certainly get exposure throughout the country, but expect their summer to also translate on the court to make their high school teams among the best in the area too.
“We’re just excited that the girls in the thumb know about us and are coming to play with us,” Stine said. “All three are just really good kids and players.”