Nichols earns first team honors for third time

By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 10:07 am on Friday, March 16, 2012

Greenville’s Mackenzy Nichols brings the ball up court during a game this season. Nichols earned first team O-K White honors for a third straight season.

GREENVILLE — The number three and Greenville Yellow Jackets guard Mackenzy Nichols go hand in hand.

The senior, known for shooting three-pointers, also earned her third straight first team O-K White Conference honor for her play this season.

Greenville sophomore Leah Somerfield was named honorable mention.

Earning first team honors for a third time is something that doesn’t happen very often. Greenville coach and father Eric Nichols said the opposing coaches respected her play.

“I think it is just the respect she had from the opposing coaches,” Nichols said. “She played hurt most the first half of the year. She played through a lot of pain and it was her decision since she didn’t want to lose her senior year.”

Nichols averaged 7.4 points, 2.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game this season. She led the team with 34 three-pointers.

“She played well, but didn’t shot the ball as well as she wanted to,” Nichols. “She did other things. She led us in steals, assists and three-pointers. The other coaches said she was always their number one concern.”

In addition to Nichols, Ra’Shawn Calvert, Lily Crawford and Betsy Ronda of East Grand Rapids; Paris Madison and Tyra Smith of Grand Rapids Christian; MacKenzie Crawford of Northview and Stefanie Stevens of Lowell were all first team members.

Nichols was a three-year varsity starter.

“She has the experience factor. She has always been a gym rat and understood the game,” Nichols said. “She brings a competitiveness with her. I think that is one of things the younger girls can learn from, is how competitive the varsity game is.”

Leah Somerfield drives the ball toward the hoop during a game this season. Somerfield earned O-K White honorable mention honors this year.

Somerfield was joined by Britt Bruinsma of Grand Rapids Christian. Amber Martin of Lowell and Lindsay Rebholz of East Grand Rapids with honorable mention votes.

“I thought Leah was very good. I was disappointed she was not a first team player,” Nichols said. “Obviously, she was one of the best inside threats in our league. She did a great job.”

Somerfield averaged a team-best 12.8 points and nine rebounds and two blocks per game.

“Her game continued to grow so she is not always playing with her back to the basket,” Nichols said. “That is one of the things we have tried to do. To get her to play facing the basket along the perimeter and expanding her shooting range.”

Playing inside, Somerfield was constantly double-teamed and earned many trips to the free throw line.

“She ended up shooting about 10 percent higher shooting free throws,” Nichols. “The attempts were about the same. She worked on her form and she will continue to get better.”

Greenville senior Katie Dunham was nominated, but did not receive any votes from opposing coaches. She averaged seven points, four rebounds and two steals per game.

“Katie Dunham was nominated, but did not get selected,” Nichols. “Katie did an outstanding job. She was one of the kids that improved the most in understanding the game with Xs and Os. She played as she practiced and it was 100 percent.”

Somerfield was voted team MVP by teammates at the season ending team banquet. Nichols was voted most dedicated and Dunham was most improved.

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