Clackamas' Kalani Hayes named Mt. Hood girls' Player of the Year
Kalani Hayes' versatility makes her especially valuable to the Clackamas High School's girls' basketball team.
Hayes, the 6-foot junior, has the size, strength, speed, agility, and ball-handling skills to play any position on the floor, including point guard.
She is a threat to score whether she's near the basket or outside the 3-point line, and she often draws some of the toughest defensive assignments in many of the Cavaliers' biggest games.
That's why the Mt. Hood Conference coaches named Hayes the league's girls' basketball Player of the Year.
Joining Hayes on the all-league first team were teammate Alyson Miura, Central Catholic's Abby Cooper, and Oregon City's Brooke Bullock, Kaari Guelsdorf, and Kylie Guelsdorf.
Central Catholic's Sandy Dickerson was named Coach of the Year.
"The league has some good players, so for Kalani to get the Player of the Year award this year, that's a big honor for her," Clackamas coach Korey Landolt said. "Kalani causes a lot of problem for a lot of different teams in terms of how they're going to guard her.
"If they put somebody small on her, she can go inside. If they put somebody bigger on here, she can drive right by them. So, she definitely created some match-up problems for whoever they choose to put on her."
In 14 league games, Hayes averaged 13.4 points on 57 percent shooting from the field with 5.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 2.4 steals a game, leading the Cavaliers (12-2) to a second-place finish behind Oregon City and a spot in the OSAA Class 6A playoffs.
Some of Hayes' most significant contributions came at the defensive end of the floor where she played with a tenacity that was often unequaled.
"Kalani has this competitive spirit in her that makes her the defender that she is," Landolt said. "She doesn't want to get beat ever. She has speed, she works really hard on her quickness, she works really hard on her jumping ability and strength, and all those things made her the defense that she is. And just the grit that she plays with is kind of icing on the cake."
But what Landolt wants from Hayes for than anything else to be a good team leader an role that became increasingly important late in the season when Miura, the 5-9 junior guard, went down with a broken bone in her right hand.
"Kalani has proven to be a good leader for us," Landolt said. "When things are going well for Kalani, it's because Kalani decides that, and then the team follows.
"I need her to make sure she's taking care of the ball and getting us set into our offense. She brought a lot of calmness to our offense after the loss of Alyson and she's somebody that they are willing to follow."
Hayes said the honor came as I bit of a surprise to her when the all-league selections were announced.
"We have a lot of good players in our conference, so getting that award this season meant a lot to me," she said. "I know we have girls on our team that could have gotten it and Oregon City has a lot of good girls, as well as Central Catholic. Even if I didn't win, I was going to be happy for whoever won it.
"I don't think I scored the most every game, but I think I played some good defense and I did my best to play a complete, all-around game every, single time I got on the court."
Landolt is eager to see what this season's Player of the Year does for an encore next season.
"Kalani has a high ceiling because of her versatility," Landolt said. "There are people who think that maybe she isn't done growing yet.
"She's definitely mentally tough. She's got so many physical tools to play outside, to play inside, so I don't think she's done improving as a player, and I know she has the work ethic to keep growing."
MT. HOOD CONFERENCE GIRLS BASKETBALL ALL-LEAGUE TEAMS
Player of the Year: Kalani Hayes, Jr., Clackamas
Coach of the Year: Sandy Dickerson, Central Catholic
Kalani Hayes, Jr., Clackamas
Brooke Bullock, Jr., Oregon City
Alyson Miura, Jr., Clackamas
Abby Cooper, Soph., Central Catholic
Kylie Guelsdorf, Sr., Oregon City
Kaari Guelsdorf, Sr., Oregon City
SECOND TEAM: Claire Bass, Soph., Central Catholic; Savannah Proske, Sr., David Douglas; Ciara James, Sr., Clackamas; Elly Bankofier, Sr., Clackamas; Libby Mathes, Soph., Barlow; Bri Phiakhamngon, Sr, Clackamas; Jie Tan, Sr., David Douglas.
HONORABLE MENTION: Megan Potter, Jr., Central Catholic; Tiana Abraham, Soph., Central Catholic; Mya Thomas, Sr., Central Catholic; Rory Schedler, Soph, Oregon City; Domonique Andrews, Jr., Centennial; Emory Miller, Soph., Barlow; Allie Edwards, Sr., Oregon City; Kaley King, Jr., Reynolds; Bella Scarlett, Jr., Central Catholic; Siena Glenn, Sr., David Douglas; Kiora Ridgeway, Sr., Cetnral Catholic; Savannah Duarte, Sr., Clackamas.