Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Several future Cardinal players making a run for Colorado girls basketball players of the year

Daniel Mohrmann,, January 22, 2019

Led by Stanford commits, the Colorado girls basketball player of the year picture is starting to take shape.

Things are looking up for the Stanford Cardinal. As the 2018-19 girls basketball season hits the second half, the top performers in each classification are establishing their position as player of the year candidates.

Three of the players to make the list will be playing for Stanford University in the next two years, showing that girls basketball in Colorado is certainly filled with high-level players. So, how does one figure out who is in the running for POY honors?

It takes an analytical balance to see how personal success figures into the overall success of the team. There are individuals who can certainly make the list even if the team isn't dominant in the class. Just think, how would that team be playing if they didn't have a POY candidate on the floor every night?

As the playoff picture starts to clear up with February just right around the corner, plenty of familiar faces are back in the POY conversation. Some new faces are also making noise. This list of candidates to this point is by no means official, but as the race for the award starts to heat up, these are certainly some players worth looking into.
Francesca Bellibi, Sr., Regis Jesuit (Aurora) – Belibi's ESPN highlights aren't the reason that she makes this list, but they're good frames of references to show what she is capable of. The Regis Jesuit senior and Stanford commit averages 22.2 points per game, which is second in all of 5A. She also pulls in 12.4 rebounds a game,  top-three in the class. She was dominant in a 79-55 win over defending state champion Grandview as she scored 32 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and blocked three shots. Thanks to solid guard play..., Belibi can't be the only focal point for opposing defenses. With Belibi paving the way, the Raiders are looking to win a state title that eluded them a year ago.

Jana Van Gytenbeek, Jr., Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village) – Just a junior, Van Gytenbeek has worked her way into the top five when it comes to scoring and assists in 5A. Her 19.1 points a game is a team best for the Bruins, but Van Gytenbeek is far from selfish. She records 4.6 assists a game, showing that she has the ability and desire to get her teammates involved in the action. And in doing so, she's not careless. Her 1.83 assist to turnover ratio is fifth best in 5A. Like Belibi, Van Gytenbeek will play collegiately at Stanford, but the Bruins will get to enjoy her presence on the court for another year before she heads west.
Ashten Prechtel, Sr., Discovery Canyon (Colorado Springs) – It's not hard to find Prechtel on the basketball court. Just find the tallest head on the floor and that's her. The Stanford commit certainly knows how to use her height to her advantage. She's second in 4A for scoring at 21.5 points per game. That average, however, accounts for more than 50 percent of the Thunder's point total each game. She grabs 15.2 boards per game, which is the best in 4A and second in all classifications. She's also keen on blocking shots as she turns away 5.2 a game, second best in 4A. She has two triple-doubles this year and has recorded a double-double in 12 games, tied for second this season.

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