Shanda Howell was determined to help Tygarts Valley advance to the state tournament this season.
The senior guard had been a four-year starter for the Lady Bulldogs, whose last trip to Charleston came 10 years ago.
But on a cold night on Feb. 28 at Pocahontas County, Howell and her teammates broke through, earning a hard-fought 45-40 victory to gain a state berth.
The Inter-Mountain file photo
Tygarts Valley’s Shanda Howell is The Inter-Mountain’s Player of the Year for 2012-2013. The senior guard averaged 20 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 3.7 steals in leading the Lady Bulldogs to their first state tournament appearance in 10 years. Howell has signed to play at Davis &?Elkins College next season.
For her accomplishments, Howell has been selected as The Inter-Mountain's High School Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
Howell, who will play at Davis &?Elkins College next season, not only led Tygarts Valley in scoring with 20 points per game, but was among the team leaders in rebounds (5.4), assists (3.6) and steals (3.7).
"I've been fortunate to coach Shanda the past two years," Lady Bulldog coach Mike DiPasquale said. "She has been a big part of our team and a joy to coach.
"I wish her the best at Davis &?Elkins College and I think she will do very well there."
Along with making the state tourney, Howell also scored her 1,000th career point in a game on Feb. 8 against South Harrison. The "cancer awareness" contest served as her senior project, as Tygarts Valley players donned pink uniforms and nearly $1,500 was raised for the Cancer Center at Davis Memorial Hospital.
Howell was a third-team Class A all-state selection and member of the all-Potomac Valley Conference squad.
The remainder of the team, comprised of players in The Inter-Mountain's coverage area and selected by the sports staff, includes Elkins' Ashley Simmons, Buckhannon-Upshur's Kelsey Hinzman, Philip Barbour's Lindsay Riley, Tucker County's Amber Evans and Stephanie Betler, Pocahontas County's Heather Snead, Harman's Layla Teter, Pendleton County's Hillary Ord, Moorefield's Katelyn Wills, East Hardy's Marilyn Cassell and Lewis County's Brooklyn Perkey.
Simmons, a senior forward, averaged 6.0 points and 8.3 rebounds to help lead Elkins to a sectional title.
She was a second-team all-Big 10 Conference selection and honorable mention Class AAA all-state choice.
Hinzman, a senior forward, led the Lady Bucs in scoring.
She was a second-team all-Big 10 Conference performer and honorable mention Class AAA all-state selection.
Riley, a senior forward, was the Lady Colts' leading scorer with 12 points per game. Her postseason honors included a second-team selection on the all-Big 10 Conference squad and Class AA honorable mention laurels.
Evans and Betler helped lead the Lady Mountain Lions to an appearance in the Class A state semifinals.
Both players averaged 14 points per game. Evans, a senior guard, was a third-team Class A all-state selection, while Betler, a junior guard, earned honorable mention status.
Both players were all-PVC selections.
Snead, a 5-6 senior guard, played in every game for the Lady Warriors during her four-year career. She averaged nearly 10 points and 7.0 rebounds this past season.
She was an honorable mention pick.
Teter, a senior guard, was the Lady Panthers' leading scorer.
Ord, a junior center, averaged 9.5 points and 8.4 rebounds for the Lady Wildcats in earning all-Potomac Valley Conference honors.
Wills, a senior guard, was an all-Potomac Valley selection for the Lady Yellow Jackets, along with receiving honorable mention all-state status.
Cassell, a junior, was among the best in the Potomac Valley Conference this winter. She averaged 16.6 points and nearly 14 rebounds in earning all-PVC honors and honorable mention all-state laurels.
Perkey, a freshman guard, scored nearly 10 points per game, along with averaging 2.4 assists and 2.0 steals per game. She was an honorable mention Class AAA all-state selection and earned all-Big 10 Conference second-team honors.
The Inter-Mountain's Coach of the Year honors went to DiPasquale, who guided the Lady Bulldogs to the state tournament in his second year at the helm, while compiling a mark of 17-8.