Girls Basketball Player of the Year: Man Valley's DeWees a driving force

Megan Woodward
Contact ReporterCarroll County Times
Mackenzie DeWees is the Times' Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

Mackenzie DeWees is no stranger to injuries, and she uses them to make her stronger.

The Manchester Valley junior point guard suffered two tears in the labrum of her right, shooting shoulder during an AAU game in Delaware last April. She had surgery on May 11, spending six weeks in a sling and needing physical therapy for four more.

All she could think about was getting back on the basketball court.

DeWees said she started shooting in October and was cleared to play on Nov. 2, a little more than a month before her junior season was slated to begin.

In the Mavericks' season-opening victory against Dulaney, DeWees scored 34 points, surpassing 1,000 for her career.

She continued to be a driving force for the Mavericks and topped the county in scoring by averaging 25.9 points per game. She also led Carroll in rebounds, steals, field goal percentage and free throw percentage, earning her Times Girls Basketball Player of the Year for the third consecutive season.

"I think I've grown tremendously and I think my goals have really stayed the same," DeWees said. "I always wanted to be a Division I basketball player, I always want to be the best I can be and make the people around me better. I want to make everyone better on the court and I'd rather be the last one to get looked at.

"As an athlete, going through that shoulder surgery really changed my perspective of the game, of life. I think everything happens for a reason and obstacles are given to people for a reason and that was something I had to overcome."

Shortly after her injury, DeWees announced her verbal commitment to play D-I basketball at Quinnipiac. She made her decision after receiving other offers from Monmouth and Mount St. Mary's, where her mother, and her Man Valley coach, Heather DeWees, played.

She was determined to get healthy for the new season, and the Mavericks highlighted it by hoisting a second consecutive county title and finishing the regular season with a perfect 22-0 record. The only other Carroll girls basketball team to go undefeated in a regular season was Winters Mill in 2008.

Mackenzie DeWees averaged 12.0 rebounds and 6.2 steals, along with shooting 58.5 percent from the field and 75.1 percent from the foul line.

She scored 33 points in the New Town game and added 18 rebounds, four assist, and three steals. When the Mavericks beat Westminster to win their holiday tournament title in late December, DeWees went for 30 points, 17 boards, and five steals en route to MVP honors.

The Mavs made the transition from Class 1A to 3A after the merger with North Carroll and faced new opponents in the postseason. They pulled off playoff wins against Oakdale and Poolesville before falling to Frederick, the eventual state champion, in the 3A West Region final.

"It's clearly no shock that we had people from North Carroll on our team," DeWees said. "We're one team, we're Man Val, and my mom has built these steps and morals for the program. She built it from the bottom to the top and we wouldn't be here today if she didn't build each step ... for us. Every one of us has been coached by her. ...

"Having that background and having played with each other at some point in our careers has really formed our bond. I think from that first game, you could really see us flow really well together and the athletes that have graduated from this program have set standards just like she has."

DeWees often finds herself mirroring her mother in many ways.

Heather DeWees has been coaching Man Valley's girls basketball team since the school opened in 2009, and Mackenzie said everything she's learned, she owes to her mother. 

Mom notices their similarities.

"I tell people that we are very much alike," Heather DeWees said. "Her passion, her drive, her desire to win, and she's very small, but she truly plays like she's 6-foot and I would argue that, undoubtedly. I was that type of kid ...

"I think when you're looking at how she mirrors me is that she had a standard when going through the recruiting process. She knew what she wanted as a player. When she plays, she does not see herself as a 5-7, 130-pound girl. I think that's one place that we are very similar, there are no boundaries in what we can do."

mwoodward@carrollcountytimes.com

410-857-7893

twitter.com/mwoodwardCCT

All-County Girls Basketball

FIRST TEAM

Position Name School Year

Guard Jess Cronin Liberty Senior

Guard Mackenzie DeWees Man Valley Junior

Guard Grace Griffin Liberty Senior

Guard Korey Fine Francis Scott Key Senior

Guard Jayce Klingenberg Man Valley Senior

Guard/Forward Bailey Patrick South Carroll Senior

Forward Zoe Costley Westminster Sophomore

Forward Samantha Petela Winters Mill Senior

SECOND TEAM

Century: Kelsey Weishaar. Francis Scott Key: Kennedy Cornick, Heather Rohwein. Man Valley: Josey Klingenberg. South Carroll: Riley Evans. Westminster: Lillian Harris, Sarah O'Donnell. Winters Mill: Erin Snyder.

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