Area all-state girls basketball stars: Munising’s Frankie Mattson, Newberry’s Taylor Bryant on Class C First Team; Negaunee’s Aleda Johnson honorable mention
Her job as a middle schooler was to keep players hydrated on the sidelines.
“Being a water girl, I still practiced with them,” Cofield said, laughing. “I did everything they did, it’s just when the games came I would get the water for them. I couldn’t wait to play.”
Five years later, the senior guard is Hawks coach Keith Smith’s latest standout.
Cofield was voted as The Associated Press’ Class C co-Player of the Year with Blissfield senior Kelsey Wyman.
“She’s been around for a while,” Smith said. “She always said she was going to give me her all and try to take me far in the tournament each year.”
Two area seniors joined the downstate pair on the 10-player Class C all-state First Team — Munising’s Frankie Mattson and Newberry’s Taylor Bryant.
A third area girl, Negaunee’s Aleda Johnson, won a spot on the Honorable Mention list despite her season being cut short with seven games to go in the regular season due to a knee injury.
Mattson and Bryant each were named Player of the Year in their respective conferences — Mattson in the Skyline Central and Bryant in the Straits Area and Eastern Upper Peninsula as Newberry is a member of both.
This is Bryant’s third consecutive year on an all-state First Team as she made the Class D list the past two years.
Mattson is the all-time leading scorer at Munising with more than 1,300 points along with over 1,000 rebounds. As a senior, she averaged 18.9 points, 11.7 rebounds, 4.3 steals, 3.8 assists and not quite one block per game for the Mustangs, who went 20-0 in the regular season and 13-0 in the Skyline. She shot 56 percent from the field and 73 percent on free throws, too.
Cofield kept up a tradition of Hamady stars after Jalisha Terry, now at St. Bonaventure University, was picked as last year’s Class C Player of the Year. The 2016-17 AP All-State Basketball Team is selected by Michigan sportswriters and broadcasters.
“Deajah is just like Jalisha was,” Smith said. “She spends a lot of time working and training on her own and when she’s with me she still comes in and gives me her all.”
Cofield averaged 15 points, five rebounds, four steals and five assists, including a career-high 32 points vs. Harbor Beach in the regional semifinals. She has offers from Tarleton State University, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Kentucky State, Morgan State and Clark Atlanta University, while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average. Cofield, 17, plans to make her decision after the season.
Her Hamady teammates Krystal Rice and Sasha Penn also received honorable mention.
Wyman averaged 23.1 points, 7.3 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 4.2 steals and one block per game, while shooting 61 percent from the field and 43 percent on 3-pointers. She led the team to an 18-2 record, state ranking and Lenawee County Athletic Association championship.
She has scored more than 1,500 career points and is a four-year varsity starter, who is headed to Ferris State.
“Obviously, I would like to be remembered as one of the best Blissfield basketball players and maybe even one of the best in the county,” Wyman said. “I’ve always been team-oriented and remained humble.”
Blissfield coach Ryan Gilbert said the team lives and dies with her on the floor.
“I’m confident when she has the ball,” Gilbert said. “It’s been a blessing these last four years.”
Joining them on the Class C all-state First Team are Haley Nelson of Sandusky, Juliana Phillips of Traverse City St. Francis, Elise Stuck of Charlevoix, Nia Ahart of Grosse Pointe University Liggett, Gabrielle Elliott of Detroit Edison and Eileene Naniseni of Mancelona.
Monique Brown of Detroit Edison was named Coach of the Year.