The Snider girls’ basketball program not only earned its fourth consecutive sectional championship over the weekend, but one of its players got an individual award as well.
After 14,580 online votes cast in the championship round that concluded Saturday night, senior Meredith Shipman has been named The News-Sentinel Fan Choice Player of the Year.
The guard scored a team-high 21 points in Saturday’s 67-29 sectional title game victory over Northrop.
Shipman has stepped up in her final prep campaign for Snider, filling the leadership void left by 2012 Indiana All-Star Akilah Sims. The Western Michigan signee accumulated 9,650 votes (66.19 percent) to 4,930 for Homestead’s Josie Fisher (33.81 percent).
“She has been a key leader ever since I talked to her about it in the fall,” Snider coach Kelley Meiklejohn said. “She fits the role being a senior No. 1 and as a starter with her success and experience.
“The girls look up to her and that kind of helps as the season goes along.”
Shipman has also been key in helping integrate younger players into the system. Sophomore Deja Wimby has continued to improve on her freshman campaign on the outside, no doubt assisted by Shipman’s veteran presence.
“As coaches we can push them far, but her leadership and action helps a lot,” said Meiklejohn about Shipman. “I don’t know what she is telling (the team), but you can just tell by her demeanor that she is focused and gets them focused.”
The Panthers (20-3) will play for their first regional championship in three years on Saturday at Kokomo. Snider will open the day Class 4A No. 4 Logansport (24-1) at 10 a.m.
“Logansport has a couple very good players,” Meiklejohn said. “If (our players) play like they have been playing all year, there is no doubt we can win.”