When it comes to girls high school basketball in Palm Beach County, many of the best players are from the western communities. In a recently released Palm Beach Post list of the top 12 girls high school basketball players in Palm Beach County, six are from area high schools.
Those six basketball players are Ashley Hendricks of Berean Christian School, Gaby Toledo of Wellington High School, Janessa Williams and Jade Jones of the King’s Academy, and Janiah Suprius and Ashley Thornton of Seminole Ridge High School.
Meanwhile, Maria Hudson, this past season’s top girls high school basketball coach in Palm Beach County, is also from Seminole Ridge.
Hendricks, a sophomore for the Bulldogs, averaged 17.4 points and 13.9 rebounds per game. This past season, she led the Bulldogs to a 22-5 record as Berean advanced to a Class 2A regional final, losing to eventual state champion Miami Christian.
Berean’s head coach Kevin Green has strong words of praise for Hendricks.
“Ashley played great all year,” Green said. “Her maturity and basketball IQ continued to improve. She got better with every game. She worked on her game in the gym before school.”
Toledo, a junior for the Wolverines, led her team in scoring with 12.3 points per game. She also had 2.1 steals per game. The Wolverines had a 19-6 record and lost in a Class 7A regional quarterfinal game against Spanish River High School.
Wellington’s head coach Rodolfo Toledo spoke highly of his daughter’s role on the team this year.
“Gabriella is a dynamic scorer capable of scoring from all levels,” he said. “She is also a solid defender, and she was a captain on this year’s team.”
Williams, a junior, and Jones, a freshman, were key members of the starting five for the Lions, which had a 24-6 record and lost 50-42 to Cardinal Mooney in the Class 3A state semifinals. It was the first-ever appearance in the state final four for TKA’s girls basketball team. Williams scored 10.9 points per game and had 7.1 rebounds per game. Jones was the team’s leader in scoring with 12.6 points per game and steals with 2.3 steals per game.
TKA head coach Chris Race said Williams and Jones were big contributors to the team’s success this past season.
“Janessa is a physical and tenacious rebounder and defender,” Race said. “She has no problem mixing it up against anyone inside or outside. She came back from an injury this season and gained back her confidence more and more as the season went on. Jade has tremendous athletic ability and is still learning the game. She has only scratched the surface of her potential. She will sometimes make a play that just makes you say, ‘Wow!’ She is a humble, hardworking kid.”
Suprius, a freshman, and Thornton, a senior, were key players for the Hawks, which compiled a 16-2 record. The team reached the Class 6A regional final, a first-ever achievement in school history. The Hawks lost to eventual state champion St. Thomas Aquinas. Suprius averaged 13.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists this past season. Thornton, a team captain, averaged 17.4 points per game, 4.4 assists per game and 3.0 steals per game.
Seminole Ridge head coach Maria Hudson noted that Suprius and Thornton were dynamic contributors to the team’s success this year.
“Janiah is fast, athletic, agile, can defend and has a great basketball IQ for a freshman,” Hudson said. “Ashley was our hidden gem because she is not very tall, and everybody overlooked her. She controls the ball. She can pass, shoot and rebound.”
As for Hudson’s leadership as a coach, she was at her best this year as she guided her team to a 16-2 overall record with a roster of just seven players. And one of those seven players, Aspen Johnson, was lost for the season after an injury in late December. Hudson’s squad was unbeaten in Palm Beach County this past season.
Aside from the top six players, seven of the 13 players selected for the honorable mention team were from the western communities — junior E’Zaria Adams and sophomore Tamia Coleman of Palm Beach Central High School; junior Tatyana Crafton of Wellington High School; sixth-grader Aliyah Harris-Green of Berean Christian School; senior Mo’Nique Joseph of TKA; and junior Iasiah Suprius and senior Aspen Johnson of Seminole Ridge.