The incoming class of Youngstown State women's basketball players put together remarkable and memorable senior seasons that Penguins head coach John Barnes hopes launch them into immediate success at the collegiate level.
Among the highlights, Kelley Wright (Hessel, Mich.) was named the Class C State Player of the Year in Michigan by the Associated Press, and Nikki Arbanas (Hermitage, Pa.) was a first-team all-state selection in Pennsylvania. Morgan Olson (Nappanee, Ind.) and Krista Pietropola (Plum, Pa.) both became their school's all-time leading scorers. All four student-athletes signed a National Letter of Intent to attend YSU in November.
Below is a summary of each player's accomplishments from the 2013-14 season:
Nikki Arbanas (Hickory High School)
- Named first-team all-state in Class AAA, the Region 5 Player of the Year and the Erie Times-News District 10 Female Player of the Year.
- Scored 529 points on an average of 18.9 points per game. Scored in double figures in every game. Made 73 3-pointers and 96 free throws.
- Led Hickory to its best season in 31 years. The Hornets finished with a 27-1 record, won the Region 5 championshp and advanced to the quarterfinals of the state tournament.
- Hit a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer in a 55-54 victory over South Park in the second round of the PIAA playoffs on March 13. The game-winning shot was featured on Yahoo! Sports. Finished the game with 23 points.
- Scored 14 points and was 10-for-10 from the free-throw line to lead Hickory to its first District 10 championship since 1983.
- Named the Erie Times-News Breakout Girls Basketball Player of the Week on Jan. 10, immediately after she scored her 1,000th career point in a 23-point outing against Franklin.
- Made seven 3-pointers in a 69-32 win over Meadville on Feb. 7.
- Went 15-for-16 from the free-throw line in a 62-42 win over Mercyhurst Prep in the District 10 Class AAA finals on Feb. 26.
Morgan Olson (NorthWood High School)
- Named High Honorable Mention All-State by the Associated Press, and was one of 15 players named to the IBCA/Subway Senior All-State Girls Basketball team.
- Was selected to take part in the Top 60 Workout sponsored by Hoosier Basketball Magazine.
- Named to Hoosier Basketball Magazine's Top 100 seniors girls high school players for 2013-14.
- Set NorthWood's career records in points and rebounds. The previous scoring record was held by Natalie Will, who earned four letters at Northwestern.
- Posted 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Gray team in the McDonald's Michiana All-Star Game.
- Scored 17 points as NorthWood lost in the semifinals of the Class 3-A Bellmont Regional.
- Scored 20 points in a 68-38 win over Wawasee in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A NorthWood Sectional.
- Had 25 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals in the sectional semifinals against Tippecanoe Valley
Krista Pietropola (Plum High School)
- Averaged 17.9 points to be named Quad-A All-Section
- Scored 17 points with six rebounds, five assists and two steals as the MVP of the Cager Classic all-star game
- Was selected to play for the Class AAAA girls team at the Roundball Classic all-star games
- Became Plum's all-time leading scorer against Shaler on Jan. 15. Finished her career with 1,386 points.
- Had a triple double with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a 72-50 win over Delaware Christian in a tournament in Columbus, Ohio. Also had 24 points and 10 assists against Westland in the tournament.
- Scored the 1,000th point of her career in the season opener
- Plum had its longest winning streak in more than a decade
- Scored 27 points in a win over Pine-Richland
- Scored 17 points in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs
Kelley Wright (LaSalle High School)
- Named the Associated Press Class C Player of the Year and a unanimous selection to the all-state team.
- Set the Michigan state record for most varsity wins by a player with 102. Finished her career with a 102-5 record, two state titles, a runner-up finish and another berth in the state semifinals.
- Named the Straits Area Conference Player of the Year, the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association Class ABC Player of the Year, a member of the U.P. Dream Team, and a member of the the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan all-class Best of the Best All-State team.
- Finished her career with 560 steals, a total that ranks second in the Michigan High School Athletic Association record book. Also scored 1,542 points in her career.
- As a senior, averaged 16 points, eight rebounds, 6.5 steals and four assists.
- Recorded a triple double with 24 points, 20 rebounds and 15 steals in a 78-51 win over Sault.
- Scored 17 points of her 29 points in the first quarter of the regional final title win over L'Anse. Finished the game with 29 points, 18 of which came from beyond the 3-piont arc, and nine steals.