Holly Johnson hung in there.
The 5-foot-11 guard from Minot High School played the entire season with a broken foot, but still managed to post good numbers while leading her team to the Class A state tournament where it finished fifth.
Not only because of her performance but for her strength and resiliency, Johnson has earned The Minot Daily News all-area player of the year award. She was also last season's recipient.
Johnson finished her career as a two-time first-team all-state performer and even garnered the coveted Miss Basketball award, an honor that goes to the state's best player regardless of class, as voted on by statewide media.
Johnson is the first to admit her senior season didn't go as planned. As a junior, she proved unstoppable with deadly 3-point accuracy to go with a strong jump-stop.
Still, the North Dakota State-bound Johnson was a dynamic player that could take over a game. When she was subbed out, opposing defenses took a deep breath. She holds multiple single-season records at Minot High, most of which she set her junior year.
Our Minot Daily News all-area coach of the year is a familiar face in basketball circles and was given the honor because of her team's run when many Rugby fans just hoped for a trip to regionals in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year.
But Jennifer Brossart didn't see it that way, reloading with two eighth-graders and taking the Panthers all the way to the Region 6 championship game, the best finish for the program since it lost the 1994 region championship.
When Brossart's in the coaches box, she never takes a break. She's extremely animated, which makes Rugby fun to watch regardless of the players on the floor. She coaches every second of every game, and it seems to be working. She has slowly built Rugby into a very quality program - the Panthers went to the region semifinals last year. Other players on our first team showed they were capable of dominating games this season.
Dani Clarke of Williston led Class A in scoring this season at 19.4 points per game. Wins were a struggle for the Coyotes, but Clarke certainly made her mark. She was honored as a first-team all-state selection and was a do-everything performer, finishing with per-game averages of 8.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 4.2 steals.
Washburn's Spanky Clayton, a Miss Basketball finalist, leads this season's all-area team in scoring at 23 points per game. She's a push-the-pace point guard who loves to get her teammates involved..
Bishop Ryan freshman Hannah Stewart meant a lot to the Region 6 champion Lions, who finished fifth at state. Stewart's significance was never more evident than when she was given a rest on the bench. When she re-entered, it seemed to always rejuvenate the Lions. She has two teammates on the second team who make Ryan a force to be reckoned with statewide.
Carrington's Emily Thompson had a career that most players can only dream of. She was a two-time all-state selection, and more importantly, she won the Class B state championship as a junior. Her long arms made it difficult for opposing teams to score in the paint, and her hustle plays led to easy baskets.
McKayla Haugeberg of Watford City lost a few players from last year's state tournament team, but really put the Wolves on her back this season. She's a multi-talented player that excelled at point guard this year. She was a second-team all-state selection.
Almost all of the players on the second team have high steal totals, and that's a credit to their defensive intensity. Many of the players don't have numbers that jump out at you, but nearly all of their teams had successful seasons.
In such a wide coverage area, there were many girls who had seasons worthy of mention, and not everyone made this list. The staff sends thanks to all coaches and officials who helped in this process.