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Jackson’s Katie Waller and Blayne Harris selected as MBCA Class 6 All-State

Jackson girls basketball 5-foot-10 senior guard Katie Waller was named to the Class 6 All-State Team for the second year in a row. Photo by Nick McNeal

Following a season where both the Jackson boys and girls basketball teams recorded 21 wins and brought home Class 6 District 1 championships, both teams were rightfully honored by each having one player selected as one of the 20 best in the state.

Being named to the Missouri Basketball Coach Association Class 6 All-State Team a historic second-straight year for the Indians girls team was 5-foot-10 guard Katie Waller. This was a historic feat for Waller as she becomes the eighth player in Jackson girls basketball history to be named all-state multiple times.

Katie joins an elite list of former Indians who have been named all-state multiple times before her in Michele Millham Rubel (three-time all-state), Jenna Leet (two-time), Christa Turner (two-time), Shannon Perry (two-time) Sherri Cook (two-time), Andrea Siemer Marchi (two-time) and Jackie Wieth (two-time).

Waller earned the prestigious honor once again after tying her career-high average of 16.5 points per game, while also recording 6.2 rebounds, three assists and 2.6 steals per game. Overall, Katie shot 47% from the field and an even more impressive 40% from 3-point range, while she finished 84% from the free-throw line.

Along with being named all-state for the second and final time of her career, Waller was named as both the Class 6 District 1 and SEMO Conference Player of the Year. This was also the second time Katie was named both all-district and all-conference, while she also was voted to the First State Community Bank Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team for a second year in a row.

In her senior campaign, Waller helped Jackson win a third-straight district championship while the Indians recorded the most wins (21) in her three years of playing on varsity. Jackson also finished as the SEMO Conference Tournament and Regular Season runner-ups, as well as the FSCB Holiday Classic second-place team (placing behind Notre Dame for all three titles).

The Indians won third place in the Lindbergh Invitational nearly two months before winning the Class 6 District 1 Tournament, where Waller scored 20 points in a 42-33 win over Cor Jesu for the title on March 7.

Combining for 34 points with Waller in the district championship game was 5-8 sophomore guard Camryn Alsdorf with 14 of her own. Camryn was named to both the all-district and all-conference teams with Waller after producing 10 points, six assists, five rebounds, four steals and one blocked shot per game.

Waller also made history earlier in February by becoming the seventh player in program history to score 1,000 career points. Katie joined Millham Rubel, Siemer Marchi and Leet as 1,000-point scorers for Jackson, along with Cassidi Tomsu, Madison Lambert and Jill Heitz.

Jackson boys basketball junior Blayne Harris garnered Class 6 All-State honors for the first time in his career last week. Photo by Jay Forness

Moving on to the Jackson boys team, 6-4 junior guard Blayne Harris was named to the Class 6 All-State Team after helping the Indians reach the state final four for the first time in 86 seasons. Along the way, Harris averaged a team-high 14.1 points per game while shooting 43.3 percent from the field.

Blayne also knocked down a team-high 64 3-pointers (only player on Jackson with more than 20 3s), hitting 37% of his shots from beyond the arc. Harris also nearly averaged two assists per contest at 1.9 each game.

At state in the Indians final game of the season, Harris led the Indians in scoring with 12 points while also knocking down two treys for a 40-32 loss to 26-win Troy Buchanan in the Class 6 Third Place Game.

Rightfully so, Blayne was also selected to the all-district and SEMO All-Conference teams, along with teammate 6-8 senior post Clayton Ernst. Clayton paced Harris in points per game with 11.7 per game, while he led Jackson in rebounding (8.5 per game) and free-throw percentage amongst starters (78.1%).

Earning honorable mention all-conference was 6-4 junior forward Judd Thoma, who finished with averages of 10 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and a team-high 1.1 steals per game.

For the Indians to reach their first final four since 1937, Thoma, Ernst and Harris combined for 31 of Jackson’s 40 points in a four-point win over Eureka. Judd led the way by scoring 14 points, while Ernst and Harris paced him with nine and eight, respectively.

The three were also clutch at the free-throw line in their win over Eureka as they only missed a combined three free throws out of 14 attempts.

Much like the girls team, the district tournament was the first Jackson’s boys team won all winter after taking second to Cape Central in both the SEMO Conference and Christmas Tournament before the new year. The Indians also managed to make it to the Lindbergh Flyer Invitational title game, where they fell to Westminster Christian Academy.

Harris will hope to become a two-time all-state selection like Waller next season, while returning postseason honorees like Alsdorf and Thoma aspire to cement themselves in the Jackson basketball history books as well next year.

Nick McNeal covers high school sports, college sports and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Cape Girardeau County for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjsports@socket. net.

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