That’s another one for the little guys.
Literally. And figuratively.
Barstow senior Jacob Gilyard and St. Pius X senior Abby Hipp were named on Thursday as the recipients of the DiRenna Award, reserved for the top male and female high school basketball players in the Kansas City area.
The two players — neither of which competed in Missouri’s largest classification — received the honor during a ceremony Thursday at The Ritz Charles in Overland Park.
Gilyard, a 5-9 point guard, played well above his size this season, scoring 33.2 points per game for the Knights while tallying 7.0 assists per contest. He is the second straight player from Barstow to receive the award after Jeriah Horne shared the male honor with Lee’s Summit’s Blake Spellman last year.
“I think this year I had a different opportunity with losing Jeriah and Shea (Rush),” Gilyard said. “It allowed me to show what I can do.”
Hipp, meanwhile, led St. Pius X to the best state-tournament showing in school history. During a year in which the Warriors moved up to Missouri Class 4, they made the semifinals a second straight season and finished as runners-up. Hipp posted 14.6 points and 11.7 rebounds per game, breaking school records for field goals, rebounds and assists in the process.
Of her season, Hipp said: “We went to state two years in a row. For us to do that at a place like Pius, it was a huge deal. So when you win an award like this, that’s what you look back on.”
Bishop Miege senior Hunter Bentley, Belton senior Courtnie Lewis, Leavenworth senior Terrion Moore and Olathe East junior Sydney Wilson. were also finalists for the girls award, which began in 1997.
Eudora senior Mitchell Ballock, Lee’s Summit West senior Elijah Childs, Blue Valley senior Tyler Geiman, and Blue Valley Northwest senior Darien Jackson were finalists for the boys prize, started in 1954.
The DiRenna winners are selected via a vote from the Greater Kansas City Basketball Coaches Association.
Also during the ceremony Thursday, Lee’s Summit West coach Michael Schieber and St. Pius X coach Bob Fenzel were named the boys and girls coaches of the year, respectively.
The GKCBCA added three new coaches to its Hall of Fame — Blue Valley Northwest boys coach Ed Fritz, Bishop Miege boys coach Rick Zych and Blue Valley North girls coach Ann Fritz.
For the first time, the GKCBCA added a player wing to its Hall of Fame. Former Shawnee Mission South standout Greg Gurley, former Manual High School player Clay Johnson and former Fort Osage player Betty Lennox comprised the inaugural class.
The association also selected a 10-player all-academic team, which featured Eudora’s Hayden Brown, St. Thomas Aquinas’ Benjamin Hagenkord, Fort Osage’s Alexander Harvey, Sumner Academy’s Joshua Shultz, De Soto’s Alex Wilcox, Shawnee Mission South’s Lauren Anderson, O’Hara’s Gabrielle Cook, St. Pius X’s Natalie Denzer, Staley’s Jennifer Harvey and Shawnee Mission South’s Elizabeth Holmes.