With another year of high school basketball in the books, its time to unveil the annual All-Banner girls basketball team.
Scouring the area to highlight the best of the best, the Banner has looked at the statistics and yearly awards handed out and talked with coaches from the area to come up with this year's team.
While averages and awards play a part in who makes the team, they are only one part of the process. The influence a player has on the game, views from different coaches in the area and our own eye tests help to solidify the list.
With all of that considered, here is the list for the 2013-2014 All-Banner team.
Most Valuable Player
Sr., Mount Anthony
Goodell wasn't the most profilic scorer for the Mount Anthony Union High School girls basketball team this season, but her willingness and success at just about everything else is the reason she is the 2013-14 All-Banner Player of the Year.
"No doubt she was the leader on the floor and in the locker room," said first-year MAU coach Brian Harrington. "The younger kids would seek her out for advice and she was real positive to them. She's a leader by example."
Goodell was third in scoring, averaging just under 10 points per game in the Patriots' style of run-and-gun and quick substitutions. But the four-year varsity player led in rebounds, blocked shots, assists and field goal percentage, making 52 percent of her shots on the year as the Patriots reached the Division I semifinal and finished 17-5.
At the same time, Goodell, a first-team Marble Valley League all-star, was forced to move around to different positions on the court to take advantage of her skill, a task she took on with no complaints.
"About a third of the way through the season, I asked everyone to write down what they liked and didn't like about the way things were going," Harrington said. "Kate handed me a blank piece of paper. I was confused, but she said, ‘We're winning ball games, we have to continue what we're doing.'"
Many of the individual moments stand out. With a mid-January game tied against Fair Haven with seconds left, Goodell drove the ball the length of the court, beating the buzzer on a layup and keeping a lengthy win streak alive.
Goodell also got it done on the defensive end, leading in rebounds -- a must for a team that shot as quickly and as often as the Patriots -- and in blocks. There were at least two games where Goodell had seven blocked shots, something rarely seen from the team's main ball-handler.
"She has such an ability to prevent kids from making or taking quality shots," Harrington said. "She's a special teammate, and I saw it during the fall and even last spring with the softball team. I'm going to miss all the seniors, especially Kate."
Jr., Hoosick Falls
Pine took the reins of the Panthers late in the season, leading them into the Class B postseason. She missed three games early on with an ankle injury and despite dealing with the pain, still managed to average nearly 10 points per contest and was chosen as a second-team Wasaren League all-star as the Panthers went 12-7.
"Rachel was our best player at the end [of the season]," said Hoosick Falls coach Eamonn DeGraaf. "She was never really 100 percent, but against Johnstown (in the playoffs) she took it to another level."
Pine scored 17 points to lead the Panthers against the Sir Bills, showing no ill effects in shooting the ball or slashing to the basket. That fire showed on the defensive end as well.
"She's very good on defense, gets a lot of steals," DeGraaf said. "She's an all-around player."
Soph., Hoosick Falls
Up from the junior varsity as a freshman, Flynn had a coming out party this season as a sophomore. Flynn was a dominant force in the paint and under the basket, making life miserable for other post players on a nightly basis.
"She's worked really hard to get where she is," said Hoosick Falls coach Eamonn DeGraaf. "She's a very good player and did a lot of work in the offseason. She's very good around the rim and the ball finds a way into the basket."
Flynn, an honorable mention choice for the Wasaren League, scored about seven points a game, but her main contribution was on the offensive and defensive boards. She had a handful of games with more than 10 rebounds, including one with 20. One game she filled up the scoresheet with 10 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks in a win and led the Panthers in the Class B playoffs against Voorheesville with 14 points and 14 rebounds.
"A lot of her points came off offensive rebounds and she kept teams to one shot on the other end," DeGraaf said. "Without her, we can't control the boards like we did. She gave us a second scoring option."
Cuddihy was the glue that held the Indians together, leading them to seven wins this season in the tough Wasaren League.
"She was dependable for us, she might not have wanted to be the main ball-handler, but we didn't have a choice," said Cambridge coach Doug Luke. "She can be the leader type, even though she's not vocal."
Cuddihy scored 225 points this season, an average of 11.7 per contest and was chosen as a second-team Wasaren all-star. She really started to blossom at the end of the season, with her two best offensive outputs in the final two games -- 19 in the finale against Berlin and 20 in the Class C playoff loss to Middleburgh.
"We called up some of the JV players late in the season and that changed some things," Luke said. "Those last two games could have been the whole year."
Hoosick Falls coach Eamonn DeGraaf made sure that his best defender, Carsen Williams, was glued to Cuddihy.
"We didn't want her to touch the ball, she's composed and has a ton of ability," DeGraaf said. "She quietly can put up 16 or 18 points and you don't realize it. She's why Cambridge ended up with seven wins."
With a short bench, it was Lacoste's job to stay on the floor and make things happen on both ends -- no easy task.
But night after night, Lacoste made it look easy.
Lacoste, a first-team MVL representative and a member of the Dream Dozen chosen by the Vermont Basketball Coaches Association, was the leading scorer in the area at 15.6 points per game, doing it in all sorts of ways -- from the outside, getting to the rim and even at the foul line.
"She started to figure the game out this year," said Arlington coach Larry Andrews. "She was definitely our workhorse. She was a captain and it took a while to adapt to it, but once she did, the other girls took to it."
Lacoste took 115 free throws, making 65 percent. She also did a better job later in the season of staying out of foul trouble herself.
Andrews was blunt when describing how valuable Lacoste was to the Eagles, who finished 11-11 in Division IV, including a playoff win.
"[Other players], if you take them out, [a team] goes down a step or two," Andrews said. "Without Julia, we fall down the stairs."
Jr., Mount Anthony
Goodell makes the All-Banner second team almost solely based on her defense, something she took pride in this season, according to coach Brian Harrington.
"She's a grinder with a smile on her face," Harrington said. "I had her guarding the best player on the other team most games and she always said, ‘OK, I'll take care of it.'"
In the Division I semifinal against Rice, Goodell's work was on full display against Green Knights' star Hailee Barron. Barron did score 16 points, but only shot 5-of-13 from the field.
Goodell also held CVU star Emily Kinneston to eight points early in the season when the teams met back in December.
"Keira did a hell of a job on both of those players," Harrington said. "She never squawked over minutes or points and really improved her ball-handling skills this year too."
With the Patriots losing five seniors, Goodell will be counted on next year to be one of the leaders.
Sr., Mount Anthony
Farrara led the Patriots in scoring at just over 10 points per game, doing her damage mostly from beyond the arc.
"She can flat-out shoot the ball," said MAU coach Brian Harrington. "She's always the first one in the gym to shoot and she leads by example."
Farrara, who will continue playing at Castleton next year, ended her high school career with more than 800 points and 129 three-pointers.
Farrara's numbers were down a bit with Harrington's quick substitution offense, but he said she never gave him grief about the change. She was still picked as a first-team Marble Valley League all-star.
"She kept her head on straight," Harrington said. "We relied on her to shoot the ball and she made the good looks count. Other teams focused on her, allowing her teammates to make the play."
Farrara, a four-year varsity player, was also one of the top free throw shooters, winning a couple of games during the year with clutch performance at the foul line, including in a win over Brattleboro.
Soph., Burr and Burton
Nicholson was the leader for a young Burr and Burton Academy girls basketball team led by first-year coach Ed Panzarino. She averaged around 10 points a game as BBA finsihed the year 9-11 with a loss in the opening round of the Division I playdowns.
She scored 18 against Rutland, along with 17 against Lake Region and 14 against Otter Valley, just three of her best efforts.
Nicholson was chosen as the area's sole Dream Dozen choice for the Division I-II girls team over the top underclassmen in the state.
"We had to play her physical and isolate her on defense," said Mount Anthony coach Brian Harrington, whose Patriots faced BBA twice. "We had to try to tire her out and get her into foul trouble, focusing on specifically that. We put Maddy [Main] on her, told her to get to the ball to the hoop and draw the foul."
Elwell was the yin to Lacoste's yang all season long for the Eagles. The junior Dream Dozen choice scored 304 points, an average of 13.8 points a game.
She was one of the top 3-point shooters in the area, making 60, but she also made 72 percent of her free throws, proving her worth in both areas.
Andrews said that Elwell has become more consistent on both ends of the floor, something that he looks forward to seeing more of next season.
"If we're going to make a big splash next year, she has to be a big part of that," Andrews said.
Fr., Hoosick Falls
As a freshman, Pine is already one of the better players in the area and she can only continue to get better.
Pine averaged nearly 10 points a game and was chosen as a second-team Wasaren League all-star.
"Kelly's put in the time. She's a true forward and she's started to play on the perimeter, adding a new element to her game," said Hoosick Falls coach Eamonn DeGraaf. "She's not afraid to make a pass either. She has good moves inside and she's not a bad foul shooter."
Pine led the Panthers to a Hoosier Holiday Tournament championship and was named the MVP after scoring 17 points in the final against Catskill.