6 Mitchell players named All-WNC
LEDGER – A trio of Mitchell High School girls’ and boys’ basketball players recently earned All-Conference honors.
Lady Mountaineer junior Hannah McMahan added All-District and Second-Team All-Western North Carolina to her All-Western Highlands Conference honor.
McMahan played in all 27 games for Mitchell in the 2018-19 season. She averaged a team-high 12.1 points and nearly five rebounds for the 16-11 Lady Mountaineers.
“I think the fact she was voted All-District, All-WNC, and All-Conference speaks volumes about how others all around WNC respect her game,” said Zack McCartha, Mitchell girls’ basketball head coach. “If I had to describe Hannah in one word, it would be ‘tough.’ Hannah may be small, but that doesn’t stop her from having a gigantic impact on every game she plays in. She was our leading scorer, averaged five rebounds per game in conference play, as well as five assists. Hannah is our leader. She is deserving of every award she wins. She is quick as a cat and isn’t afraid of anyone. She is talented, tough, dependable and just a flat-out joy to coach.”
Sophomore Paige Johnson was also named All-Western Highlands Conference. Johnson finished this past season averaging 10.9 points and a team-high 5.9 rebounds per game while shooting nearly 44 percent from 3-point range.
“Paige was our leading rebounder and averaged 12 points per game in conference play,” McCartha said. “She also shot 43.8 percent from 3-point range in conference play as well. She takes on tough matchups defensively and has a knack for stepping up in big games. She is our utility knife. We can play her anywhere and against anyone and she won’t back down. This was the first season in her life where she was asked to play on the perimeter and handle the ball. She showed off her tremendous athleticism this season. She literally shot the first 3-pointer of her life this season. She pulled down a whopping 15 rebounds in our final playoff game.”
Sophomore Marley Cloer was the third and final Lady Mountaineer named All-Western Highlands Conference. Cloer averaged 10.3 points per game and shot nearly 40 percent from the field.
“Marley made a name for herself this season as one of the top shooters in the Western Highlands Conference,” McCartha said. “Marley shot 45.8 percent from 3-point range in conference play. She has the capability of making clutch shots and isn’t afraid to take the big shot when we need it. Offensively, she makes the correct reads in our offense and consistently makes the right offensive play for our team. She averaged double figures and was a lethal 3-point shooter.
Sophomore Caius Peterson joined juniors Tyler McKinney and Noah Pitman as boys’ All-Conference honorees.
McKinney averaged a team-high 12.1 points per game and also led the team with 83 assists. His 111 rebounds on the year were second-most for the Mitchell boys.
“Tyler provided our spark,” said Chad Dellinger, Mitchell head boys’ basketball coach. “His ability to attack and get to the basket is what led us as a team.”
Pitman averaged 6.5 points per game and led the team with 39 steals. He also tallied a team second-best 63 assists.
“Noah was our main guy on defense,” Dellinger said. “When his intensity was at its peak, the whole team could just roll with it. I always put Noah on the other team’s best player. His tenacity and will to get after it are second-to-none.”
Peterson mad this presence felt underneath this past season, leading the team in rebounds with 188 and scoring a team-high 210 points in the paint. He averaged 10.9 points per game.
“Caius is probably our most well-rounded player,” Dellinger said. “He does a little bit of everything. When he is on top of his game, the rest of the team feeds off him and it makes us better as a whole.”
Junior Zeus Ponder earned All-Western Highlands Conference Tournament honors. Ponder averaged 14 points in the Mountaineers’ pair of postseason games, including a 23-point performance in a Feb. 26 first-round win over River Mill Academy during which he shot 7-for-10 from the field, hit a pair of three-pointers and shot 100 percent from the free-throw line.