Cokie Reed was a legend in jeans and a T-shirt.

Before she ever blocked a shot or knocked down a 15-foot jump shot for the Midway Pantherettes, Reed turned heads when she walked into the gym and sat on the end of the Midway bench in her school clothes.

As a freshman at Midway, when she missed most of the season with an injured foot, Reed was already one of the nation’s top college prospects in her class. At that time, Midway fans began looking forward to what Reed and classmates DeLisa Gross and Krissica “Spoon” Harper would accomplish in four years as Pantherettes.

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Cokie Reed
Cokie Reed averaged 15.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game for the Pantherettes. (Duane A. Laverty photo)

At 6-foot-4, Reed has the size and the game to go with it that make her an all-American — officially on the McDonald’s and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association teams. In November, she signed with Texas, ending a long recruiting process.

And fittingly, Reed was never better as a Pantherette than in her final high school game.

With Midway facing Mansfield Timberview in the Class 4A state championship game earlier this month in Austin, Reed turned it on to score 17 points, grab 11 rebounds and block six shots. Her efforts helped Midway claim the seventh state title in program history and its first since 1994.

Reed said in the postgame press conference, after she was named the championship game MVP, that she never doubted the Pantherettes would win.

And she repeated that sentiment this week.

“We were just focused in the locker room before the game — it was silent,” Reed said. “(Midway assistant coach Todd) Monsey said he knew from there we were going to win.”

While Reed was dominant from her sophomore season on, she seemed to reach another level at the pinnacle of the Pantherettes’ season.

“It was the state championship on the line,” she said.

Reed has been a Super Centex first-teamer since her sophomore season. Her dominance in helping the Pantherettes roll to the 4A state championship has earned her the Super Centex Player of the Year honor as a senior.

Though she certainly didn’t carry Midway to the state title by herself, Reed’s 15.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game this season made a huge impact for the Pantherettes.

Somehow, Reed proved her merit as an all-American while the Pantherettes simultaneously flexed their overall talent at the state tournament. Midway won its two state tournament games by 21 and 23 points, crushing Timberview in the final, 50-27.

“We were a complete team,” Reed said. “At each position we had somebody that could do the job.”

In fact, Reed’s fiercest competition for the Super Centex Player of the Year honor came from her own team.

Harper was the spark that ignited the Pantherettes’ explosion in Austin as she officially dished out 15 assists in two state tournament games, though a closer look at the game films might reveal that number to be much higher. For the season, the 5-foot-2 Harper averaged 5.6 points, 5.6 assists, 2.5 steals and 2.1 rebounds and she served as the Pantherettes’ beating heart.

Meanwhile, Gross was borderline unguardable for Midway foes. The 6-foot-1 swing player nailed eight 3-pointers to vault the Panthrettes past Dallas Lincoln in the regional semifinal. She scored 14.7 points, grabbed 5.1 rebounds, handed out 3 assists, blocked 1.3 shots and had 2.1 steals per game — an amazing season stat line.

Robinson point guard Ashley James also made the short list of Player of the Year candidates after leading the Rockets to the 3A state championship. James scored when she needed to, including posting a season-high 20 in the Rockets’ regional semifinal win over Navasota. But she typically did a little bit of everything as she averaged 6.8 points, 4.2 assists, 2.8 steals and 3.6 rebounds. A vintage James effort came when Robinson defeated Argyle for the state title as she scored eight to go along with six assists, five steals and seven rebounds.

Reggie Davis Coach of the Year: Azure Love-Davis, Waco High

While Midway coach Teri Morrison and Robinson coach Brenda Gomez took talented teams and pushed them all the way to the top, an amazing rebuilding effort stood out in the Central Texas girls’ hoops coaching ranks.

First-year Waco High coach Azure Love-Davis took over a team that won just six games in the 2007-08 season.

By the time the Lady Lions’ 2008-09 season came to an end in the regional quarterfinal round of the playoffs, Waco High was a team that would scare anybody in the state.

The Lady Lions finished with a 29-7 mark, earning Love-Davis the Reggie Davis Coach of the Year honor.

Love-Davis coached sub-varsity teams at Waco High before becoming the Lady Lions’ head coach. She guided this season’s seniors when they played on the freshman team, and Love-Davis coached the boys’ freshmen in 2007-08.

So she knew the landscape when she grabbed the head coach’s whistle, and she quickly made some changes.

“I think the confidence level and the style were the problems,” Love-Davis said. “I decided with the quickness and the ball-handling we had, the running style, the fast-break offense would be the most beneficial offense that we could run.”

Love-Davis’ assessment proved correct as Waco High outran opponents to post a 14-2 district record and claimed a pair of playoff wins.

And Waco High found an even faster pace in the playoffs. The Lady Lions cruised past Terrell by 26 points in bi-district, then toppled No. 8 Longview in the next round.

Though a loss to district-rival Waxahachie in the regional quarterfinals separated Waco High from a berth in the regional tournament, the Lady Lions made incredible strides under Love-Davis.

Recognizing the kind of team Midway put on the floor this season, Love-Davis pointed to a hard-fought loss at the Pantherettes’ home gym as the moment of truth for her. Waco High lost the game by 13 points, but the Lady Lions coach knew then they were headed for a productive postseason.

“Even though we lost the game at Midway, that’s when I finally decided that we could go far in the playoffs,” Love-Davis said. “That’s when the light bulb really started flashing red.”

Newcomer of the Year: Diana Jones, Midway

It was virtually impossible for a newcomer to burst onto the scene for the Midway Pantherettes this season.

Diana Jones did the next best thing.

Jones, a sophomore who missed her freshman season with a knee injury, proved she had a place in Midway’s starting lineup and finished the season as an integral part of the Pantherettes’ success.

Jones’ overall contribution to the Pantherettes edged out teammate and fellow sophomore Toi Gober and Lorena freshman Katie Sampson for Newcomer of the Year.

757-5711

 

2009 Super Centex Girls’ Basketball Team

Player of the Year: Cokie Reed, Midway

Newcomer of the Year: Diana Jones, Midway

Reggie Davis Coach of the Year: Azure Love-Davis, Waco High

FIRST TEAM
 
Pos Player Cl Ht School
G Krissica Harper Sr 5-2 Midway
G Ashley James Sr 5-6 Robinson
G Kelli Richardson Sr 5-5 China Spring
G Macy Vedder Jr 5-7 Valley Mills
G Arianna Rodriguez Sr 5-7 Bruceville-Eddy
G Cassie Stegall So 5-9 Hico
G Makenzie Robertson Jr 5-8 Midway
F Tamariah Manigo Sr 5-7 Marlin
F DeLisa Gross Sr 6-1 Midway
P Sha Brown Jr 6-4 McGregor
P Rachel Hargis Jr 6-4 Robinson
P Cokie Reed Sr 6-4 Midway
 
SECOND TEAM
 
Pos Player Cl Ht School
G Hannah Abbe Sr 5-6 Robinson
G Alex Alexander Sr 5-7 Robinson
G Julisia Denton Sr 5-5 TCA
G Mackenzie Roach So 5-6 Robinson
G Shantricia Tillis Sr 5-6 Waco High
F Cara Finstad Jr 5-9 Hico
F Kristall Puryear Sr 5-8 Waco High
P Cara Gorton Jr 6-0 China Spring
P Ashleigh Humphrey Sr 5-9 Lorena
P Loren McCormick Sr 5-10 Bosqueville
P Courtney Morton So 5-10 Fairfield
P Porsha Roberts So 6-2 La Vega
 
HONORABLE MENTION
 
Sarah Lockett and Monique Moss, Aquilla; Haley Feight and Grace Getman, Bosqueville; Kristin Chapman, Crawford; Kireston Cox, Fairfield; McKamie Place and Kylie Nichols, Gatesville; Elaina Hutson, Kopperl; Brittany Norwood and Shimyaa Walker, La Vega; Whitney Lofton and Jasmine Armstead, Marlin; Keisha Daniel, Mart; Sara Tricket and TaRoya Clayborn, McGregor; Alison McGinnis and Erin Lewie, Reicher; Brittany Heaton, Riesel; Shanequa Mims, Chrystal Alexander, RyNesha Brooks, Madison Watson, Destiny Heard and Katelyn Mehringer, Teague; Breanne Daniels, Lenna Gelanis, Sarah Wunnieke and Katy Lauderdale, TCA; Alissa Graves and Kelby Mann, Valley Mills; Jasmine Evans and Celicia Williams, Waco High; Courtney Gibbons, Walnut Springs.

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