Bullard freshman Aarion McDonald is pressing for state Freshman of the Year honors.
UPDATE: Aarion McDonald 42 for Bullard, Bayli McClard 39 for Hanford in Bullpups’ OT victory. Wow. Way Wow! …
And check the game’s photo gallery from Mark Crosse.
ORIGINAL POST: The best entertainment value in the Valley on Thursday night can be found in Hanford High’s gym for $6 (adults) or $4 (students).
It is here at 7 p.m. that the finest girls point guards in the Central Section will be matched in Bullard freshman Aarion McDonald and Hanford junior Brooke Johnson in the quarterfinals of the Division I playoffs.
The only negative to the showcase is that it isn’t in the D-I final March 1 at 6 p.m. in Selland Arena, affording greater exposure to neutral fans in the section.
McDonald, at 5-feet-3, is a sure state Freshman Player of the Year candidate. Extraordinarily quick and fearless at slicing through traffic while driving to the hoop, she’s averaging 25.1 points while accounting for 36% of the 21-5 team’s scoring. She’s also averaging about 6 rebounds, steals and assists.
Johnson, at 5-11, offers a distinctly different presence and role.
Hanford’s Brooke Johnson looks to pass past Redwood’s J.C. Chamalbide Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013. The 2012 Bee All-Star is averaging 12.7 points, 5.6 assists, 5.8 rebounds and 6.0 steals. And she’s also an effective shotblocker.
Johnson’s a three-year starter for teams that have gone 78-17 overall and 36-0 in the West Yosemite League with three section titles — the past two in D-I after winning D-II in 2010.
Johnson took over managing the floor after Madison Parrish’s departure following the 2010 season.
There are two other interesting story lines in this game:
** Bullard coach Bill Engel was raised in Hanford before graduating from Roosevelt. He’s a popular guy in these parts and will have several Hanford friends in attendance.
** Hanford will arrive in a fury after being insulted by the section’s seeeding committee for the second straight year.
Last season, the Bullpups were seeded second behind Stockdale, so they merely blasted the Mustangs 65-49 for the D-I title at Selland.
This season, Hanford is seeded THIRD behind Stockdale and Clovis West. Coaches from sixth-seeded Bullard groaned upon learning the seeds, knowing that meant this quarterfinal journey into a gym that will be on fire.