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Ryle floor leader Scherr named Gatorade Player of the Year for her role in team’s successful season

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

College basketball recruiters aren’t the only ones impressed by Ryle junior guard Maddie Scheer. She was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Kentucky for her role in the Raiders getting back to the state tournament this season.

Scherr, who has scholarship offers from some of the top college basketball programs in the country, is averaging 15.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.2 steals per game as her team’s floor leader. She’ll get a chance to improve those numbers at 8 p.m. Wednesday when Ryle (29-5) plays Murray (28-3) in the opening round of the KHSAA Sweet 16 State Tournament at Rupp Arena.

Maddie Scherr, right, is the floor leader for the Ryle girls basketball team that’s returning to the state tournament this week. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

A first-team all-state selection as a sophomore last season, Scherr already has career totals of 1,784 points and 837 rebounds as a varsity player. The 5-foot-11 guard is ranked among the nation’s top college basketball prospects in the 2020 graduating class.

The Gatorade Player of the Year Award also recognizes “high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character.” Scherr has maintained a 3.63 GPA and volunteered with Master Provisions, which provides clothes and food to impoverished nations. She’s also been active in Young Life, a faith-based youth group.

The award-winners in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia are eligible for the Gatorade National Player of the Year Award that will be named later this month. Scherr also gets the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of her choosing.

Previous winners of the Gatorade Player of the Year in Kentucky girls basketball include Jaime Walz of Highlands in 1995-96, Katie Schwegmann of Brossart in 2000-01 and Sydney Moss of Boone County in 2011-12.  Each of them also played on a regional championship team that went on to the state tournament.

Ryle is one of 16 teams that will be taking part in the first girls state tournament held at Rupp Arena in Lexington this week. The Raiders lost in the quarterfinals of last year’s season finale and returned all five starters from that team.

In the first round on Wednesday, Ryle will face a Murray team that’s making its fourth consecutive trip to the Sweet 16 state tournament as the 1st Region champion. The Tigers’ head coach is Wyatt Foust, who was in charge of the Notre Dame Academy program from 2013 to 2016.

In the last Association Press state coaches poll,  Ryle was No. 4 and Murray was No. 8. The Tigers are allowing only 34.9 points per game, the lowest defensive average of any team in the state tournament, but containing Ryle will be major test. With Scherr doing most of the ball-handling, the Raiders are averaging 66 points per game with an up-tempo style of play.

Ryle’s senior team leader is Lauren Schwartz, a Rice University recruit averaging 19.7 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. The other starters are senior Juliet McGregor, junior Jaiden Douthitt and sophomore Brie Crittendon, who’s averaging 11.5 points per game.

The Raiders have won 10 of their last 11 games. The one loss came on Feb. 8 against Conner, the No. 1 team in the last Associated Press coaches poll. Two weeks later, Ryle beat Conner, 62-59, in the 33rd District final and went on to win three 9th Region tournament games by double-digit margins.

at Rupp Arena, Lexington

Wednesday – Upper bracket
Scott County (33-1) vs. Knott County Central (25-7), noon
Owensboro Catholic (27-7) vs. Bardstown Bethlehem (29-4), 1:30 p.m.
George Rogers Clark (24-10) vs. Louisville Mercy (16-14), 6:30 p.m.
Ryle (29-5) vs. Murray (28-3), 8 p.m.
Thursday – Lower bracket
Pikeville (27-7) vs. Barren County (31-4), noon
Louisville Male (22-7) vs. Boyd County (28-4), 1:30 p.m.
Collins (23-12) vs. Pulaski Southwestern (24-5), 6:30 p.m.
North Laurel (30-6) vs. Henderson County (18-8), 8 p.m. 
Upper bracket quarterfinals, noon and 1:30 p.m.
Lower bracket quarterfinals, 6:30 and 8 p.m.
Semifinal games, 6:30 and 8 p.m.
Championship game, 2 p.m.

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