Clarion Herald’s 2016 Elite Girls’ Basketball Team

Spencer repeats as Outstanding Player

Sitting on the Cabrini bench watching her teammates try gallantly, but futilely, to win important basketball games was not the way Rakell Spencer intended to end her high school career.

But when the 5-foot, 11-inch senior guard suffered a season-ending injury during a crucial District 9-4A game against Ursuline Academy on Feb. 3, it all ended for the player known as “Queen.”

Midway through the second period, while grabbing a rebound between two Ursuline players, Spencer crumpled to the court. She had torn both her anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in her right knee, injuries everyone hopes do not jeopardize her scholarship to Texas A&M.

Without the school’s all-time top scorer, the Crescents lost three of their last four games, including a bi-district round playoff game.

But when she was healthy, Spencer’s numbers spoke for themselves. During the season in which the Crescents won 20 of 32 games, she averaged 16.9 points, hauled in 273 rebounds, had 108 assists and 81 steals.

Spencer has been named to the Clarion Herald’s Elite team ever since her freshman season of 2012-13.

During those seasons, Spencer accrued 2,069 points, 1,365 rebounds, 540 assists and 405 steals.

Five other Catholic school stars are repeaters on the Elite team. They are seniors Kristen Nuss of Mount Carmel, Gabby Sperber of Dominican and St. Charles Catholic’s Lela Hill, Cabrini junior Kelsey Pinera, and Ursuline Academy sophomore Kourtney Weber.

Joining them on the 10-player team are first-year honorees Paige Frankiewicz of Mount Carmel, Ashaunti Allen of St. Katharine Drexel Prep and Ursuline sophomore Brooklyn Mitchell.

Co-Coaches of the Year were selected: Mount Carmel’s Jamie Thomatis and Academy of the Sacred Heart’s Miki Andry.

Although Mount Carmel was a veteran team, Thomatis, in her first year as a head coach, guided the Cubs to a 25-6 record as they competed in the Class 5A playoffs.

Until this season, Sacred Heart had not been a district champion since 1990. The last time the Cardinals made the playoffs was 1998. Under Andry, they finished the season with a 19-7 record and went unbeaten in district play for the first time in history.

Outstanding player

Cabrini’s versatile senior Rakell Spencer (25) concluded her four-year varsity career with 2,069 points, 1,365 rebounds, 540 assists and 405 steals. Spencer was also named the Clarion Herald Elite Team’s outstanding player in 2015.

Coaches of the Year

Miki Andry (right) led the Academy of the Sacred Heart to a 19-7 record and a sweep of the District 9-3A championship. Andry’s Cardinals made the playoffs for the first time since 1998.

In her first year as Mount Carmel’s head basketball coach, Jamie Thomatis (left), guided the Cubs to the District 9-5A title and a 25-6 record entering the regional round of the playoffs. Thomatis was a former Clarion Herald Elite team member as a senior at Ursuline Academy.

Gabby Sperber
5-4 Senior

Brooklyn Mitchell
5-5 Sophomore

Kristen Nuss
Mount Carmel
5-6 Senior

Ashaunti Allen
St. Katharine Drexel
5-8 Senior

Kelsey Pinera
5-6 Junior

Kourtney Weber
5-11 Sophomore

Lela Hill
St. Charles Catholic
5-6 Senior

Paige Frankiewicz
Mount Carmel
5-8 Senior

Kyle Maher
Acad. Sacred Heart
5-7 Junior 

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