Hillcrest's Kaycee Gerald named Springfield girls basketball MVP

Hillcrest's Kaycee Gerald named Springfield girls basketball MVP

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Hillcrest's Kaycee Gerald named Springfield girls basketball MVP

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All-state guard Kaycee Gerald adds another accolade to her athletic record. The Hillcrest team captain has been named Springfield’s girls basketball senior MVP for the 2015-2016 season.

Hillcrest High School sophomore Sarah Hale (5) and senior Kaycee Gerald (11) celebrate after the end of the Hornets' game against Glendale High School.

Hillcrest High School sophomore Sarah Hale (5) and senior Kaycee Gerald (11) celebrate after the end of the Hornets’ game against Glendale High School.

Gerald received the award at Court Talk, a biweekly meeting of high school and college coaches, members of the press and other women’s basketball fans. Gerald was selected from a group of senior players from five Springfield Public Schools high schools plus Springfield Catholic.

“I don’t know how to feel yet,” Gerald said as she held her new MVP plaque.

Gerald is focused on playing Rogersville Friday in the Class 4 District 11 championship game. A win at Rogersville would give Hillcrest back-to-back district titles.

Gerald was the starting point guard and No. 2 scorer with 12.6 points per game on a Hornets team that reached the final four last season. With Kelsie Cleeton graduated and now playing for College of the Ozarks, Gerald has become the leading scorer on the team with five seniors.

Hillcrest played like a poised veteran team in a 71-57 upset of No. 1-seeded West Plains on Tuesday night in Rogersville.

“We have more shooters that are confident, and I feel like we are starting to get in a groove,” Gerald said. “Everyone is so confident with their shots.”

Gerald upped her scoring production to 20.0 points per game as a senior. She is also averaging 4.2 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 3.2 steals per game.

Coach Jeni Hopkins has referred to Gerald as a floor leader and a “one-woman press breaker.”

“She’s a coach’s dream on the court,” Hopkins said. “You see her handling the ball, you see her giving out beautiful assists, you see her scoring, you see her playing great defense. She hustles, I don’t think I’ve even seen her take a drill off in practice.”

College recruiters are interested in Gerald, but she has not yet accepted a scholarship offer.

“I have had some offers, I just have not decided yet,” Gerald said.

A turnaround at Springfield Catholic led coach Dan Stander to take home Court Talk’s Coach of the Year award. The Irish started its first season with Stander at the controls with a 1-10 record, but a senior-less Catholic team went 8-7 down the stretch and pulled off an upset of Clever in the first round of the Class 3 District 11 tournament.

A Glendale team with five seniors on the roster took home the team Sportsmanship Award. After going 2-20 a season ago, the Falcons improved to 11-14 on the season before being eliminated by Hillcrest in the playoffs.

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