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It’s Good to Be the King: Raider Is Tops in D-II Girls Hoop

  • Lebanon forward Heather King, cener, catches a pass in their game against Manchester West in Lebanon, N.H., on Friday, January 17, 2014. Lebanon won the game [score needed] (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)

    Lebanon forward Heather King, cener, catches a pass in their game against Manchester West in Lebanon, N.H., on Friday, January 17, 2014. Lebanon won the game [score needed] (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Lebanon's Heather King takes to the air for a layup against Hanover during their game in Lebanon, N.H., on December 20, 2013. Hanover won the game 61-43. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)

    Lebanon's Heather King takes to the air for a layup against Hanover during their game in Lebanon, N.H., on December 20, 2013. Hanover won the game 61-43. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Lebanon forward Heather King, cener, catches a pass in their game against Manchester West in Lebanon, N.H., on Friday, January 17, 2014. Lebanon won the game [score needed] (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)
  • Lebanon's Heather King takes to the air for a layup against Hanover during their game in Lebanon, N.H., on December 20, 2013. Hanover won the game 61-43. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)

Lebanon — Having one New Hampshire girls basketball player of the year is nice, but Lebanon High is starting to make a habit out of it.

For the second straight winter, a Raider drew enough notice from the NHIAA Division II coaching fraternity to win the honor, this time going to senior forward Heather King. The top returning scorer from Lebanon’s undefeated state championship squad the previous season, King led both the Raiders and the Upper Valley in scoring at 17.04 points per game while guiding Lebanon back to the D-II quarterfinals.

King’s selection follows that of Dartmouth College freshman Moriah Morton, who was chosen as D-II player of the year following Lebanon’s run to state honors.

“Heather had a great year,” Lebanon coach Rob Marsh said on Monday morning. “She’s a leader on our team. She’s just an outstanding athlete, an outstanding student-athlete, so I’m not surprised.”

King excelled while serving a variety of roles for the Raiders.

With 6-foot-1 Vanessa Fleury recovering from injury, Marsh asked the 5-11 King to be Lebanon’s big player against frequently bigger opposition. When Fleury returned, King spent more time on the offensive wing, where she’s a capable 3-point shooter as well as an inside threat and rebounder.

She and senior guard Sam MacDonald (11.86 ppg) set the tone for the Raiders, who were regularly near the top of the D-II standings. It took an overtime loss to Merrimack Valley in the quarterfinals to dislodge Lebanon’s hold on the NHIAA championship plaque.

“We knew going in that Heather and Sam had to take the bulk of the scoring for this team,” Marsh said. “We keyed our offense to those two individuals and let them play off it.

“Defensively, unfortunately, (King) always had to play against one of the bigger kids on the front line. She’s more an ideal 3 than a 4 or a 5.”

Morton netted 17.17 ppg as a senior in 2012-13, finishing second in the region in scoring behind Mid Vermont Christian’s Phoebe Seale.

Lebanon and Hanover combined to fill half of the first-team slots on the New Hampshire Basketball Coaches Organization’s Division II all-state team. King landed a first-team slot with her POY award, while the semifinalist Marauders placed their top two threats — sophomore guard Lexie Hamilton (11.05 ppg) and junior shooter J.J. Daniell (13.40 ppg) — on the squad as well. MacDonald popped on the second team, and Fleury earned honorable mention.

Kearsarge’s Anna Cahill (13.60 ppg) was a second-team choice in Division III, with Newport’s Stephanie Carl (13.09 ppg) and Mascoma’s Lindsey Thompson (11.76 ppg) making the honorable mention group. Sunapee senior Erika Waterman made first team in D-IV, Laker freshman Katie Frederick joined Woodsville’s Tori Clough on the second unit, and Sunapee freshman Sydney Clark made honorable mention.

As for the Guys: Three of Lebanon’s starting five found themselves spots on the NHBCO all-state boys basketball teams, while Newport’s 1-2 scoring punch also received similar recognition.

Versatile forward Dominic Morrill led the Raiders and the area with a spot on the D-II first team. On a team lacking stars, Morrill could be counted on for physical play under the basket and the frequent double-digit night on the scoresheet for a Lebanon team that reached the state semis for the second straight winter. Teammates K.J. Matte (team-best 11.57 ppg) and Kalin Sou both earned honorable mention; Hanover guard John Flory (13.90 ppg) popped up on the second team.

Newport’s Andrew Houde (first team; 24.18 ppg) and Spencer Coronis (second team; 18.14 ppg) led area representation on the D-III list, joined by Stevens’ Ryan Tanguay (13.71 ppg) and Mascoma’s Kyle Kosiorek (both honorable mention). Sunapee saw its run to the D-IV finals rewarded with first-team slots for James Fitzgerald and Issaiah Chappell; Woodsville’s Joe Abrahamsen (14.36 ppg) was a second-team selection.

TA Needs AD: Jade Huntington is relinquishing her part-time duties as athletic director at Thetford Academy after three years to become the school’s dean of students.

TA’s decision to make the dean’s position full-time was a determining factor, Huntington noted in a weekend email. “I have been doing both positions for three years and it is a tough combo,” she wrote. “The AD will report to me as I oversee all aspects of student life that are not curriculum-related. … I will not be far from athletics; too much of my heart is in it.”

Huntington noted the change of responsibilities will also be helpful given her young family and the late nights required of a high school AD. The all-time leading scorer in Vermont high school girls basketball history at Oxbow High (2,114 points), Huntington made the all-Southeastern Conference team her final three years at Vanderbilt, where she remains among the program’s leaders in career assists and steals.

Huntington also served as an assistant coach for Eric Ward this winter with Thetford girls basketball, which won the VPA Division III state championship earlier this month.

Some Due for Ladue, Thomas: Windsor High boys basketball coach Harry Ladue and Woodstock counterpart Jeff Thomas have been given the nod as the coaches of the year in their respective Marble Valley League divisions.

Ladue claimed the B Division honor after a 12-10 season that saw the Yellowjackets put two players on the all-league first team in Tyson Boudro (15.95 ppg) and Mike Bradley (11.55 ppg). Ethan Hill represented Windsor on the division’s honorable mention team.

Thomas, the C Division coach of the year, also had two all-league first-teamers in guard Dougie Avellino (17.00 ppg) and forward Connor Fegard (18.70), who will return next year as the Wasps try to return to the VPA Division II semifinals again. Thomas shared C Division coaching honors with Otter Valley’s Greg Hughes.

Ashleay Wilcox (9.59 ppg) and Annie Nelson (9.95 ppg) represented the Windsor girls on their B Division all-league squad.

Co-op Credits: Four members of the cooperative Whitcomb-Rochester girls basketball team landed on the recent all-Central Vermont League team.

Rochester’s Phoebe Parrish (13.29 ppg) and Whitcomb’s Nicole Begin represented the Hornets on the all-league first team. Two other team members, Whitcomb’s Ashley Stearns (11.33 ppg) and Lindsey LaPerle (team-best 13.76 ppg) earned honorable mention. The quartet served as the foundation of a well-oiled unit that went 14-7 and narrowly missed out on a trip to the VPA Division IV semifinals.

Rivendell placed four on the girls all-league squad, first-teamer Hanna Rockwell (team-high 8.59 ppg) and honorable mention selections Tayo Ameden (8.10 ppg), Jennifer DeBois and Megan Winagle. Sharon’s Suzie Moses (11.95 ppg) also earned honorable CVL mention.

The Raptors also produced the Upper Valley’s only contributors to the CVL’s all-league boys basketball first team in Nathaniel Eastman (team-best 12.74 ppg) and Josh Marshall. Rivendell’s Luke Bell, Whitcomb’s Bradford Allen (14.20 ppg) and Sharon’s Tanner James, Steve Davis and Andy Bando-Hess (11.86 ppg) also received honorable mention.

Greg Fennell can be reached at gfennell@vnews.com or 603-727-3226.