Going into the 2022-2023 season the young Hillcrest girls basketball team knew it was going to take some time until regular success would arrive. After being eliminated in a first round playoff game …
Going into the 2022-2023 season the young Hillcrest girls basketball team knew it was going to take some time until regular success would arrive. After being eliminated in a first round playoff game against Montezuma the Ravens ended its season with a 0-20 record and a 0-16 record in conference play.
Despite going winless the Ravens had players who showed great growth throughout the season and showcased their potential of becoming top players in the conference. This sentiment was shared when players were chosen for all-conference because three players for Hillcrest earned all-conference honors in the North Division of the Southeast Iowa Super Conference
Chosen second team all-conference in the SEISC North was Hillcrest sophomore Malia Yoder. Yoder was a de facto leader for the Ravens and she more often than not led by example. Whether it was on offense or defense she would make an impact on the court with the outstanding effort she played with.
“Malia was a driving force for our team this year. She worked extremely hard both on and off the court,” Hillcrest head coach Mitchell Drey said. “Malia was either the top or the second leader in almost every stat this season. Malia did a great job showing everyone the right way to play this season.”
Starting in all 20 of Hillcrest’s games Yoder was the second leading scorer for the Ravens on the year with 159 points, with her season high being 16 points against WACO on January 27. She was the team leader in assists with 39 and she was able to collect 77 rebounds.
On defense Yoder led the team in steals and blocks. Having a great knack for swiping the ball away from her opponent she finished the season with 55 steals. She managed to block the ball 20 times during the season, fifth most in the SEISC North and fifth most in Hillcrest school history.
Hillcrest freshman Claire Withrow was an honorable mention all-conference for the SEISC North. One of two players to start all 20 games for the Ravens, Withrow was the leading scorer for Hillcrest with 192 points and her proficiency for connecting on three-pointers was a big reason why.
“Claire was the leading scorer for us this season. She is a very good shooter and has a talent for getting the ball in the basket,” Drey said. “Claire has the potential to become one of the best shooters in the state.”
Withrow’s season high of 22 points came against WACO on January 12. Not daunted by the pressure as a freshman she was more than comfortable taking shots from a long distance.
Shooting 28.2% from the field, second highest on the team, she will no doubt continue to make great strides in the shooting department as her high school career progresses.
Rounding out the trio of Ravens who earned all-conference honors is sophomore Lydia Beachy. Beachy was also an honorable mention all-conference SEISC North.
While her numbers on the stat sheet may not be the most gaudy or flashy, she was a tone setter for Hillcrest this season. Her defensive play made it tough for opposing offenses to score and it was this hard nosed effort on defense that made her so impactful in games.
“Lydia did all the things for us that don’t pop up in the stats. She worked extremely hard on the defensive side of the ball and really helped set the tone for the team,” Drey said. “Most nights she was giving up some size inside but that never stopped her from making the other team work for everything they got.”
Beachy capped off her season with 31 points, 71 rebounds, and 14 assists.
Earning all-conference recognition is a wonderful accomplishment and with Hillcrest’s young talented squad continuing to hone and develop their basketball skills it won’t come as a shock if even more Ravens claim all-conference honors next season.
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