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Maci Thornton And Kyla Miles Named To Tri-County Sunday/Courier Express 2010s All-Decade Basketball Team (01/20/20)

(Above Photo: Kyla and Maci,who each scored more than 1,000 points during their careers, on the night Maci achieved the milestone)

Former Clarion Area Lady Cat teammates Maci Thornton and Kyla Miles were named to the Tri-County Sunday/Courier Express All-Decade Girls’ Basketball Team for the 2010s. The team was announced in the January 12th edition of the TCS.

To give perspective to how big an honor this is, consider that of all the girls to play basketball in any classification in the TCS/CE coverage area, in the 2010s, only ten players were selected.

Clarion and St. Marys were the only two schools with more than one player selected. The Lady Dutch also had two players named, Player of the Decade, Kayla Hoohuli and Adair Gennocro.

Redbank Valley’s Brooke Hinderliter, Brookville’s Marcy Schindler, DuBois Ashley Hallowell, Ridgway’s Emily Fullem, Johnsonburg’s Cassidy King and Elk County Catholic’s Taylor Newton were also named to this elite fraternity.

Maci played for Coach Roger Walters from 2011-12 to 2014-15. She was on two straight District Nine Class A Championship Teams. She was a member of four straight PIAA State qualifying teams, including District Nine Class A Champions in 2012-13 and 2013-14. The Lady Cats were District Nine runners-up in 2011-12 and 2014-15.

(Photo by Jack Kenneson) Maci Thornton

Maci is second on the Lady Cats All-Time Career Scoring list, with 1,579. Only Bobbie Simpson has more points at 1,765. She led District Nine with 568 points her senior year and was second in average at 21.0 points per game. Maci was the Lady Cats second ever TCS/CE Player of the Year following Kyla who was Clarion’s first ever. She was also a two-time Third Team All-State selection. Maci went on to play at Messiah College, scoring 1,280 points during her career. She was named Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Honorable Mention All-American her senior year.

About receiving the honor with Kyla, Maci said, ” “It is an honor to be selected as a member of the Tri-County Sunday All-Decade Team. I recall playing with and against many talented players during my high school career. I attribute much of my success to both teammates and competitors, who motivated me to improve as a player.

“I congratulate every other person who received this honor, especially my fellow teammate, Kyla Miles. Kyla and I played together for many years from AAU to high school, and developed an undeniable chemistry. It was an honor playing with Kyla among other Lady Bobcats, creating memories on and off the court I will never forget. She is most deserving of this recognition for her skills as a player and unselfishness as a teammate.”

Kyla was also on four straight Lady Cat teams to participate in the PIAA State Tournament 2010-11 to 2013-14, including Clarion’s two straight District Champions. As mentioned above, Kyla was the Lady Cats first player to garner the TCS/CE Player of the Year Award. Her third place All-Time Career Scoring total is 1,247. She finished with 300 or more points in each of her final three seasons, including 465 points as a senior.

Kyla (with ball) with coaches and teammates on her 1,000th point milestone night. Maci on front row far left

Her third place All-Time Career Scoring total is 1,247. She finished with 300 or more points in each of her final three seasons, including 465 points as a senior. Also a volleyball standout, Kyla was All-State twice and a member of the Lady Cats 2012 State Championship Team. Kyla went on in that sport, playing at Mercyhurst University.

(Photo by Jack Kenneson)

Kyla had this to say about receiving this honor along with Maci. “I am truly humbled to be named a member of the Tri-County All-Decade Team. The 2010-2019 decade had many talented female athletes, I am honored to be a recipient among these athletes on the All-Decade Team.

“Also, it is of great honor to have my former teammate, Maci Thornton, selected on the All-Decade Team. Maci and I started playing basketball together at a young age for a travel AAU league, Rising Stars. As we grew up, we had the opportunity to play together in High School. Maci is a very talented athlete and it was an honor to have her as a teammate. I will forever cherish the memories and accomplishments I made with Maci and my teammates through the game of basketball.”

Coach Walter with Maci and Kyla – 2013-14 Lady Cats Co-MVP’s

Coach Roger Walters, who himself won three straight TCS/CE Coach of the Year Awards (2011-12 to 2013-14), had some great things to say about his two great players.

“Kyla (was) one of the most versatile players I have ever coached.  Kyla was as quick as our guards and as strong and tall as any post players in the league. 

“There were times she would both lead and finish the fast break.  Kyla was a calm and quiet player but had and drive inside of her to achieve.  Kyla continued to grow as a player developing a better jump shot as she aged. 

“I would rank Maci Thornton as the Number One competitor that I ever coached, and I have had some great athletes.  Maci wanted to win and would do whatever necessary to make that happen.  Whether we needed a score, a stop, a steal, a rebound, whatever it was she was the answer. 

“I have told many people that to watch Maci play was incredible because she always played head first.  She was the first player into a crowd, the first on the ball, the first everywhere.” 

The Ladies also had some nice things to say about their former coach. Kyla shared, “I also want to thank my coach, Roger Walter, for devoting so much time and effort into making Clarion basketball the program it is today. Thank you for pushing me throughout my High School career and believing in me. You have taught me sportsmanship, leadership, and many values that will carry me throughout life.”

Maci mentioned, “Coach Walter played a significant role in developing me as a player. Under his coaching, I learned how to play the game well, as well as the value of teamwork and sportsmanship. Coach Walter taught me how to push when the tank is low, and I share this honor with him.”

And as for their college life and beyond. Kyla stated, “I continued my education at Mercyhurst University, where I played Volleyball for the Mercyhurst team.

“I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a minor in Public Health. I am currently employed at Clarion Rehabilitation Center and Clarion Hospital EMS, where I hold a position as an EMT. I plan on furthering my education and attending graduate school for Physician Assistant Studies.”

Maci said, “I feel like I won the golden ticket with my college basketball career at Messiah College – an unforgettable four years I will always cherish. I graduated with a degree in public relations and continue my education at Shippensburg University for my master’s degree in organizational development and leadership with a concentration in higher education structure and policy.

“I plan to work in higher education where I can positively impact students, and intend to keep basketball in my life in some capacity.”

CONGRATULATIONS TO KYLA, MACI, YOUR FAMILIES, COACH ROGER AND CLARION AREA LADY CAT BASKETBALL ON THIS GREAT HONOR!!!!!!!)

(Thanks to Jack Kennison for his photos and to the TCS/CE for bestowing this honor on these two fine ladies and the other honorees. The TCS will announce their football, baseball and softball teams in this coming Sunday’s [February 26th] edition.)