Posted: 8:00 p.m. Friday, March 28, 2014

All-Area: Kayla Thigpen, Palm Beach Lakes, Large Schools Girls Basketball



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All-Area: Kayla Thigpen, Palm Beach Lakes, Large Schools Girls Basketball photo
Palm Beach Lakes high school basketball player Kayla Thigpen is the All-Area Big Schools Girls Basketball Player of the Year. (Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post)

By Anthony Chiang

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

When Kayla Thigpen transferred from Atlantic to Palm Beach Lakes after her sophomore year, she didn’t have any basketball statistics next to her name to prove how good she was.

“She was so far under the radar,” Lakes coach Cassandra Rahming said. “She didn’t have any stats coming in.”

Instead, Thigpen took to the court to prove that she was among the area’s best. The 5-foot-8 junior guard led the Rams to their first state tournament berth since 2003, averaging a team-high 21.2 points per game to go along with 5.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists.

Thigpen’s ability to consistently get to the basket posed problems for every defense she faced this season.

“She’s deceptively quick,” Rahming said. “People don’t realize it until the game gets going and she’s a little faster than what you expected.”

One of her most memorable performances came against Grandview Prep, when she scored a game-high 34 points in a loss to the eventual Class 2A state champions.

But the contest that brought her to tears came against Davie-Nova in the Class 7A regional finals. Thigpen scored a game-high 21 points to carry Lakes past the team that knocked the Rams out of the playoffs each of the past three seasons.

“It was really emotional,” Thigpen said of Lakes’ victory over Nova. “I knew that these girls lost to them continuously and I just wanted it to be different this year.”

Thigpen has an offer from Rutgers and has received interest from Missouri, Florida, FAMU and Jacksonville.

“Nobody knew me at all,” Thigpen said. “They always knew the players like (Dwyer’s) Keyanna Harris and (Grandview Prep’s) Vionise Pierre-Louis. I knew I was at their level and I wasn’t getting any credit for it. So I tried to change that this year.”

FIRST TEAM

Samara Auguste, Palm Beach Central, Junior, Guard

Led the Broncos to the Class 8A regional quarterfinals, averaging a team-high 16.4 points and 3.7 steals per game.

Grace Marko, Boca Raton, Freshman, Guard

A versatile player who averaged 16.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game as a ninth-grader.

Keyanna Harris, Dwyer, Senior, Guard

The Miami signee put up 21.1 points, 10.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 5.9 steals per game.

Jasmyne Martin, Park Vista, Junior, Guard

Palm Beach Central transfer contributed immediately, scoring a team-high 17 points per game.

Jackie Johnson, Palm Beach Lakes, Junior, Forward

Physical player who averaged a double-double with 16 points and 12.5 rebounds.

Jaylin Hawkins, Suncoast, Senior, Forward

A key part of the Chargers’ success, finishing with 14.5 points and 12.8 rebounds per game.

Jonika Garvin, Lake Worth, Junior, Forward

Averaged 18 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two blocks per game.

Emily Lochten, Park Vista, Senior, Forward

Averaged 14 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks to lead the Cobras to their first state tournament.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Cassandra Rahming, Palm Beach Lakes

Despite graduating eight seniors and returning just one starter, Rahming led the Rams to a 25-2 record and their first state tournament berth since 2003.

SECOND TEAM

Kaitlin O’Hara, Seminole Ridge, Senior, Guard

Kiara Meeks, Park Vista, Sophomore, Guard

Erna Normil, Lake Worth, Sophomore, Guard

LaToya Ashman, Wellington, Sophomore, Guard

Emily Rosenstein, Spanish River, Senior, Guard

Alexis Sparkman, Boynton Beach, Junior, Guard

Rachel Levy, Boca Raton, Freshman, Forward

Xana Dove, Palm Beach Lakes, Junior, Forward

HONORABLE MENTION

Atlantic: Deandra Akins; Boca Raton: Abby Bukovich, Tatijana Ferguson; Boynton Beach: Antys’za Hankerson, Taija Johnson; Dwyer: Chakari Merritt; Lake Worth: Storm Bureau, Kiara Felder; Palm Beach Central: Daijah Brown; Palm Beach Gardens: Quiana Franklin; Palm Beach Lakes: Xena Dove, Dominique Green; Santaluces: Kimberly Vicente; Seminole Ridge: Jessica Cody, Kiana Favors; Spanish River: Emily Littman, Aeriel Saunders, Samantha Vyazmensky; Suncoast: Daisiah Akbar, Jade Virgo, Capri Winn; Wellington: Brianna Sabbat; West Boca Raton: Zaina Derice.

 
 

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