Winter All-City 2014-15: New faces abound on All-City Girls Basketball Team

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Three members of the 2014-15 Aurora Sentinel All-City Girls Basketball Team pose April 9, 2015, at Grandview High School. From left, Regis Jesuit senior Jess Lewis, Grandview sophomore Michaela Onyenwere (the Sentinel's Player of the Year) and Gateway junior Carmen Ramey. (Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel)
Three members of the 2014-15 Aurora Sentinel All-City Girls Basketball Team pose April 9, 2015, at Grandview High School. From left, Regis Jesuit senior Jess Lewis, Grandview sophomore Michaela Onyenwere (the Sentinel’s Player of the Year) and Gateway junior Carmen Ramey. (Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel)

The face of Aurora girls basketball continues to change in the wake of some significant graduating classes the past few seasons.

The 2014-15 season served as a prime chance for many new faces to prove themselves at the varsity level, many of whom landed themselves spots on the Aurora Sentinel All-City Girls Basketball Team, which is selected by the Sentinel in conduction with balloting of Aurora’s 11 coaches.

Grandview sophomore Michaela Onyenwere grabbed unanimous honors as the Sentinel’s Player of the Year, while she’s joined on the All-City first team by the Regis Jesuit duo of Jess Lewis and TaeKenya Cleveland, Gateway’s Carmen Ramey and Cherokee Trail’s Anastacia Johnson.

The uber-athletic Onyenwere maintained her youthful enthusiasm for playing basketball, while continuing to develop parts of her game that make her unlike any other player Aurora has seen in quite some time.

The 5-foot-11 inch phenom did just about everything on the court this season save for dunk, which some observers encouraged her to try during the course of games, believing she was capable of actually doing it.

Playing away from the basket and improving her shooting range, Onyenwere’s scoring average soared from 18.6 points per game last season — which was already the best in school history — to 23.7 this season, tops in Class 5A and second-most in the state for any classification. She also improved in rebounding (9.7 rpg to 11.5 rpg), steals (2.3 spg to 3.9 spg) and added a full blocked shot per game from last season to 1.9 per contest.

Though Grandview bowed out of the Class 5A state playoffs in the third round, it didn’t go down without Onyenwere putting up her greatest career performance, as she scored 43 points and was credited with 29 rebounds in a tight loss to Lakewood. She was selected for The Show girls all-star game sponsored by the Denver Nuggets — of which she was the Most Valuable Player last season — and starred again with 16 points.

As a point guard, Lewis helped Regis Jesuit win back-to-back 5A state championships in 2012-13 and 2013-14, then found herself surrounded by a vastly different and much less experienced cast in her senior season.

The West Point signee did her best to guide the Raiders through an up-and-down season and had them on the verge of making it to the 5A quarterfinals, but she couldn’t get off a potential game-winning shot attempt in Regis Jesuit’s one-point second round loss at Grand Junction.

Though admittedly not a scorer, Lewis had some big offensive games, as she poured in 29 points against Legend and 28 against Mountain Vista, while she finished tops on her team with an average of 13.8 points per game. Lewis — an All-Continental League first team pick — also grabbed 4.4 rebounds per game, plus averages of 4.0 assist and 1.9 steals.

Joining Lewis on the All-City first team is Cleveland, who moved into a much larger role with the graduation that sent six players to Division I college programs and turned over the Raiders’ entire roster.

Regis Jesuit junior TaeKenya Cleveland had a 30-point outburst in the Raiders' season opener and finished with an average of just under 12 points per game and 6.5 rebounds for a very youthful Regis Jesuit team in 2014-15. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)
Regis Jesuit junior TaeKenya Cleveland had a 30-point outburst in the Raiders’ season opener and finished with an average of just under 12 points per game and 6.5 rebounds for a very youthful Regis Jesuit team in 2014-15. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

The athletic 5-11 wing player scored 30 points in the season opener against D’Evelyn and tallied 20 or more points in three straight games on Regis Jesuit’s tough trip to play teams in New York City.

A few single-digit performances kept down Cleveland’s scoring average, as the all-league second team selection finished at 11.9 points per contest. She also recorded four double-doubles and averaged 6.5 rebounds and nearly two steals and a blocked shot each time out.

Ramey was honored as the EMAC Player of the Year in a season that saw her blossom into a well-rounded player, which helped Gateway win eight of its nine league contest and finish runner-up behind Westminster.

A club teammate of Onyenwere’s with the Colorado Hawks, Ramey had an outstanding season as she led the Olys in every statistical category save for assists per game, in which twin sister Ashley edged her by .02. Carmen Ramey finished with an average of 13.8 points per game, along with 6.3 rebounds, 4.5 steals and 2.7 blocked shots per game.

Cherokee Trail junior Anastacia Johnson, left, led the Cougars in assists (2.3) and steals (2.6) per game in 2014-15 and also scored 9.8 points per contest to earn her way onto the All-Centennial League first team. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)
Cherokee Trail junior Anastacia Johnson (33) led her team in assists (2.3) and steals (2.6) per game in 2014-15, scored around 10 points per game and provided invaluable leadership on her way to All-Centennial League and All-City first team selection. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

Johnson was one of three juniors that Cherokee Trail coach Todd Dixon built his team around (Jaleesa Avery and Kenzie McLelland were the others) and the athletic guard provided many key ingredients for the Cougars, who won 12 games and made it to the second round of the 5A state playoffs before losing to eventual state champion Broomfield.

Johnson picked up a lot of the slack for the graduation of standout guard Hannah Sparks, as she was a leader by example and added plenty in every positive statistical category on her way to first team All-Centennial League honors. Scoring nearly double figures every night, Johnson also averaged 4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.3 steals per contest.

The second team is made up of Johnson’s Cherokee Trail teammates Avery (15.7 ppg) and McLelland (an All-Centennial League first team pick), along with Grandview sophomore Kennede Brown — who made a huge step forward between her freshman and sophomore seasons and played her way on to the All-Centennial League first team — plus Hinkley senior Nyece Smith and Aurora Central junior Jenna Henderson.

Though playing in the EMAC, Henderson finished with the second-highest scoring average among Aurora players at 19.4 points per game, which included a 40-point game and 10 others of 20 or more, while Smith — who played in both the EMAC All-Star Game and the Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports Senior All-State Game — scored in double figures in every game and averaged 18.8 points per game, plus 5.1 rebounds.

Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel

2014-15 AURORA SENTINEL ALL-CITY GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAM

FIRST TEAM

TaeKenya Cleveland, Regis Jesuit, jr.; Anastacia Johnson, Cherokee Trail, jr.; Jess Lewis, Regis Jesuit, sr.; Michaela Onyenwere, soph., Grandview; Carmen Ramey, jr., Gateway

Player of Year: Michaela Onyenwere, Grandview; Coach of Year: Tammi Traylor-Statewright, Gateway

SECOND TEAM

Jaleesa Avery, Cherokee Trail, jr.; Kennede Brown, Grandview, soph.; Jenna Henderson, Aurora Central, jr.; Kenzie McLelland, Cherokee Trail, jr.; Nyece Smith, Hinkley, sr.

HONORABLE MENTION

Noelle Cahill, Regis Jesuit, fr.; Aaliyah Carter, Vista PEAK, sr.; Julia Drexelius, Regis Jesuit, jr.; Jaiden Galloway, Grandview, fr.; Janay Henderson, Smoky Hill, sr.; Mikayla Hernandez, Smoky Hill, soph.; Lenzi Hudson, Grandview, soph.; Maia Jackson, Overland, fr.; Aubre Johnson, Eaglecrest, jr.; Ezekia Johnson, Regis Jesuit, jr.; Jaelin Jones, Rangeview, soph.; Mikayla Jones, Gateway, soph.; DeMe Moore, Vista PEAK, soph.; Sierra Penn, Grandview, sr.; Brianna Purnell, Aurora Central, sr.; Ashley Ramey, Gateway, jr.; Vanessa Ruby, Smoky Hill, jr.; Cristina Salazar, Grandview, sr.; Jessica Stoner, Eaglecrest, jr.; Lyric Thompson, Overland, fr.; Gabbi Walker, Smoky Hill, jr.; Tomarow Whitefield, Rangeview, jr.

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Beth Stoner
7 years ago

Congratulations to Jessica Stoner for making Aurora Sentinels All- City League. I am very proud of you. By the way Jessica is only a Sophomore and will graguate in 2017.