The 2015-16 basketball season was one to remember in the Austin area as games were decided by buzzer-beating shots, personal milestones were achieved and the Vista Ridge girls and Thorndale boys both reached the UIL's state tournament. On the first team of its annual All-Central Texas team, the American-Statesman has recognized 10 athletes who stood out among their peers this winter. This year's group of first-team honorees includes a state semifinalist, a McDonald’s All-American and two players who set their programs' all-time scoring marks.
GIRLS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Kianna Ray, Bowie senior forward
Ray became Bowie’s all-time leading scorer in her final game, but it was the TCU-bound standout’s work over the course of a 33-game season that ascended her to the top of the All-Central Texas team. Ray averaged 24 points and 8.1 rebounds per game this season, and she also contributed 3.1 steals, 3.1 assists and 2.6 blocks per contest. Ray opened the winter as Bowie’s only returning starter, but she led the Lady Dawgs to the Class 6A postseason’s third round and the fourth district title of her varsity career.
BOYS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Keaton Hervey, Cedar Park junior forward
Cedar Park lost four starters from last year’s state semifinalist squad, but the maturation of Hervey lifted the Timberwolves back into the second round of the Class 5A playoffs. Hervey scored 570 points this season despite being injured for seven of Cedar Park’s 31 games, and he provided 23.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Not a bad stat line when you consider that Hervey was voted onto the first team of the 2015 All-Central Texas basketball team with averages of 12.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
Mikayla Christian, Vista Ridge senior guard
A third-team honoree on last year’s All-Central Texas team, Christian led Vista Ridge in assists and averaged a team-best 14.5 points per game during her on-court encore. Despite graduating two players who started at Big 12 schools this season, Vista Ridge once again reached the Class 5A semifinals as Christian accounted for at least 17 points in half of the Lady Rangers’ six playoff games. Christian, who was District 25-5A’s MVP this season, will soon join Ray and teammate Danielle Rainey at TCU.
Jarrett Allen, St. Stephen's senior forward
Last season’s All-Central Texas Player of the Year once again averaged a double-double (19.7 points, 13.3 rebounds) for the Spartans, and he registered five triple-doubles this winter. With the 6-foot-10-inch Allen on its roster, St. Stephen’s went 25-5 with the final win securing the team’s defense of its Southwest Preparatory Conference championship. In January, the uncommitted four-star prospect became the fifth player from the Austin area to earn an invitation to the annual McDonald’s All-American Game.
Brooke Holle, Westlake senior guard
Westlake began this winter searching for its first district championship since 2004, and Holle led the Lady Chaparrals into a season-ending tie with Bowie atop the District 14-6A standings. In addition to averaging over 17 points per game during a campaign that ended in the second round of the playoffs, the 5-foot-7-inch Holle grabbed 222 rebounds. Holle was named District 14-6A’s Offensive MVP, and her twin sister, Bailey, was honored as the district’s top defender. Both players have signed with Texas State.
Victor Bailey Jr., McNeil junior guard
Bailey Jr. shot 50.7 percent from the field and averaged 20.3 points per game this season, and those numbers catapulted the third-year starter into third place on the school’s all-time scoring list (1,616 points). Bailey also contributed 5.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game as the Mavericks won a second straight district title. Bailey Jr. was District 13-6A’s MVP and an All-Central Texas first-team pick in 2015, and history repeated itself this year as he split the district’s top honor with teammate Armoni Brooks.
Ashley Knight, LBJ senior forward
Assisted by senior guard Chantel Hardeman, Knight led LBJ to its 15th straight district title with an attention-grabbing stat line of 29.9 points and 18.7 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-4-inch Knight towered over her District26-5A foes – she had a 51-point performance against Reagan on Jan. 15 – but she also had double-digit scoring efforts in LBJ’s playoff games against East View, Kerrville Tivy and Vista Ridge. District 26-5A’s MVP, who began playing basketball four years ago, has signed with Alabama.
Davion Buster, Lanier sophomore guard
One of District 26-5A’s top newcomers in 2015, Buster snagged his district’s MVP award during a season in which Lanier finished behind only perennial champion LBJ in the standings. Buster totaled 26.8 points per game, and he scored three of his points on a memorable buzzer-beating shot against Reagan on Jan. 12. Buster got his teammates involved with four assists per game, and his 3.5 steals per outing also made him a nuisance on defense. Behind Buster, Lanier qualified for the playoffs for a third straight year.
Breanna Wright, Jarrell senior guard
The Texas Association of Basketball Coaches and Texas Girls Coaches Association both honored Wright with spots on their all-state teams as the Jarrell standout hit 44.5 percent of her three-pointers and was among the Austin area’s leaders in points (21.5 per game), steals (3.3 per game) and assists (6.9 per game). A three-time All-Central Texas honoree who was recruited by Abilene Christian, Wright scored the 2,500th point of her varsity career during a season that ended in the third round of the Class 3A playoffs.
Drayton Whiteside, Vandegrift senior guard
The All-Central Texas Newcomer of the Year as a junior, Whiteside didn’t experience a letdown this year. While averaging 20 points per game, Whiteside hit the 700-point threshold during the 2015-16 season, and he shot well from the free-throw (85.7 percent) and three-point (49.1 percent) lines. With Whiteside running its offense, District 25-5A’s co-champion beat Reagan and San Antonio Jefferson to reach the postseason’s third round for the first time in the seven-year history of Vandegrift’s basketball program.
More All-Central Texas basketball
Read more about Bowie's Kianna Ray and meet the All-Central Texas second-team and third-team honorees here.
Click here for the all-district honoree list.