With Marquette Athletics unable to host its annual Winter Banquet, head boys basketball coach Fred Mooney and head girls basketball coach Katie Collignon announced their team awards for the 2019-20 season on Thursday. All chevrons and/or varsity letters will be made available to student-athletes when circumstances allow.
Most Improved Player: Ally McConnell (Sr.)
Coach Collignon: “When looking at the Most Improved award, we had many players that fit in this category. Having such a young team, all of our players improved in their skill set, maturity, and game performance this season. However, when looking at the year start to finish, only one athlete truly embodied “Most Improved.” Ally was our lone returner from our two-time state championship team. Although her role on those teams was critical, she came off the bench to average 3.2 points and 2.4 rebounds her sophomore year and 4.1 points and 2.5 rebounds her junior year. The leap she made this preseason and season to average 19.2 points and 7.3 rebounds is remarkable. Not only did she greatly expand her skill set, but she emerged as our leader on both ends of the floor. She went from playing one position to being able to play any of the five on the floor. The massive improvement in almost every statistical category made her earn our Most Improved Player for the 2019-2020 season.”
Blazer Award: Izabel Galindo (Jr.)
Coach Collignon: “This is another award that could have gone to a few other players on our team this year, however, when you look at what embodies a “Blazer” no one fits that bill better than Iz. This season she came in with no previous varsity experience but was determined to make an impact every day at practice and during every game. She was also asked to expand her skillset and play numerous positions on the floor. Iz never once complained or hesitated, she was always ready to fit in wherever the team needed her. And she wasn’t just going to go through the motions at that position, she was going to give everything she has. She is a fearless competitor and honestly cares about each one of her teammates. Iz embodies what it means to be a Blazer and I am so thankful she is an emerging leader for our girls basketball program.”
Most Valuable Player: Ally McConnell (Sr.)
Coach Collignon: “As mentioned previously, no player made a greater jump on their impact on our team than Ally. She was our statistical leader in all but one offensive category and also counted on to be our leader on defense. Ally’s consistency on both ends of the floor often led our team to victory. She was our go-to player on the offensive end and we counted on her to make the big play. She is a fierce competitor with a never-ending motor and her desire to win led our team every day in practice and in every game. Ally’s impact easily made her the Most Valuable Player for the girls basketball team for the 2019-20 season.”
Coach Collignon on the season: “Overall, our team came into the year with only one player with Varsity playing experience. With low numbers, every single player on our team had to be ready to step up and play a lot of minutes. They had to grow up quickly, and they did so, showing grit and resilience even when things were stacked against them. I am proud of their fight and their effort and look forward to all of the returnees to continue on that growth. We definitely can’t say any of our players are lacking game experience now and I am excited for us to expand on those roles next year. To our lone senior, Ally, thank you for the past four seasons and all you have done for our girls basketball program. You have shown what competitiveness, heart, and determination can do for a student-athlete. I wish you all the best as you continue your hoops career and cannot wait to see all you can accomplish!
For all our returners, I cannot wait to get back on the court (and weight room) with all of you! Congratulations on a great year!”
Most Improved Player: Vaunte Johnson (Sr.)
Coach Mooney: “Vaunte came to Marquette as a junior. With an experienced senior-led team Vaunte’s role was very limited. Vaunte knew that his role would change his senior year. He never missed a practice nor did he miss a day of school. That in itself speaks volumes about his character. He led us all summer long in team workouts. He was our leader and encourager in the weight room. Our conditioning practices were led by Vaunte as well. Vaunte’s hard work away from team practices showed up as well. His shooting and ball-handling improved greatly. Vaunte was a relentless defender often guarding our opponent’s best player. He sacrificed his body for the good of the team diving for loose balls. Vaunte was a co-captain this season. The stat sheets did not list Vaunte Johnson at the top in any category. When you look at all the intangibles he brought to the team this season Vaunte Johnson was at the top. This is why he was a unanimous choice for most improved by our coaching staff.
Blazer Award: Jake Tarnow (Sr.)
Coach Mooney: “The Blazer Award is the highest award given out in our Boys Basketball program. It’s an award given to a player who best represents the VALUES our school and basketball program stand for. This award represents character, respect for authority, kindness, responsibility, humility, work ethic and putting others before yourself. Jake also led our team academically. Jake is a well-rounded young man who knew how to balance academics, service and extra-curricular activities. It’s a great privilege to coach a young man like Jake and point future Blazers to be like Jake.
Most Valuable Player: Jake Tarnow (Sr.)
Coach Mooney: “When I think of the MVP Award, I think of an award given to the player we could least afford to play without. That player is Jake Tarnow. Jake was a team captain. Jake led this very young and inexperienced team. He led by example both on and off the floor. His stat sheet speaks volumes: scoring, rebounding, minutes played, assist all tops on the team. His ‘will to win’ was noticed by all who watched him play.”