2017 Kentucky Miss Basketball

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Duvall named state’s Miss Basketball

By Mike Farner

  LEXINGTON – It was a surprise of the best kind on Tuesday when Bullitt East senior Lindsey Duvall was announced as the 2017 Kentucky Miss Basketball during a banquet at the Lexington Center.

Duvall was at the event as it also recognized the top players in each region this season. The Lady Charger senior was the co-Sixth Region Player of the Year along with Butler’s Jaelynn Penn. Following those awards, as voted on by members of the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches, there were two covered awards remaining on the stage.

The first cover was removed, unveiling a framed collage with Duvall’s name as 2017 Miss Basketball as it was announced that Duvall was the top senior player in the state.

Duvall is the second player from Bullitt East to earn the distinction. Becky McKinley was Miss Basketball in 1992.

Duvall will now wear the number one jersey this summer for the Kentucky All-Stars when they take on the top players from Indiana in the summer series that in the state is run by the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation. Bullitt East has been well represented on the Kentucky All-Star teams in the past as well as former Lady Charger head coach Jerry Troutman (1996) and present head coach Chris Stallings (2011) serving as the Kentucky girls’ coaches.

It was no secret that the top awards would be presented on Tuesday and Duvall admitted later that there were times in the past when she let herself think about winning the award, but that didn’t make it any less of a shock when her name was called.

“I was surprised for sure,” Duvall said a few days later. “There were a lot of good girls in the state this season.

“I ‘crutched’ up there,” the senior said with a smile as she is back on crutches for a few weeks after having a second surgery on her knee in the past 18 months. “I was shaking when I got up on the stage.”

The surgery on her knee is for the same cancerous growth that caused her to miss most of her junior season. Doctors found that they had not completely removed the growth. The recovery span is expected to be less this time and it should not affect Duvall’s participation with the Kentucky All-Stars in the two games against Indiana to be played June 10-11.

In fact, Duvall plans to run track at Bullitt East later this spring.

Because of the All-Region honor, Duvall’s parents were at the event along with her grandparents and both her brother and sister as well as Stallings and some of her teammates and friends.

One of the first text messages she got after the ceremony came from University of Louisville head coach Jeff Walz who will coach her starting after her play with the Kentucky All-Stars.

“He congratulated me and said that he was excited to be coaching me next year,” Duvall said.

On Friday, Duvall was asked if it has all sunk in yet?

“I feel like it has and then not really,” she said. “Everybody keeps congratulating me. It’s hard to comprehend right now that I’m Miss Basketball.”

Duvall said that she has often looked at the framed number one jersey for McKinley that hangs in the Bullitt East gym. However, the senior said that she has never met McKinley.

The honor that goes with the award at Bullitt East for Duvall is that her name will be in the same gym that also bears the name of her brother, Jacob Duvall, recognizing his state championship in the 110-meter hurdles in track during his senior year.

Stallings did say that Duvall will appear at the Mount Washington City Council meeting on March 27th and that she will part of the Mount Washington Spring Festival parade in May.

After winning the award in 1992, McKinley had a street in Mount Washington named in her honor.

Stallings said that the school and community are still working on ways to recognize Duvall’s accomplishments.

While the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation, which is now assisted by the Bluegrass Sports Commission in putting on the games, did not announce any voting results, it is generally thought that the award came down to Duvall and Penn (who will attend Indiana University). However, because of the proximity to each other, there was the possibility of the area coaches splitting the vote, opening the door for a player out in the state this year.

“I felt it was down to Lindsey and Jaelynn,” Stallings said. “Both are quality kids. I felt like all year that Lindsey had a special season and that she was the most qualified for the award.”

Penn played on two state championship teams at Butler while Duvall never reached the state tournament. Conversely, Duvall averaged 23.6 points a game this season, ten more points a game than Penn who was playing on the state’s most talented team.

       Over the past four years, Bullitt East has three losses to Butler in the Sixth Region Tournament including the championship game this past season. The other season ended with a loss to Mercy in the championship game.

Duvall started playing for Bullitt East as a seventh-grader and has already been named Bullitt County Player of the Year four times despite not winning it as a junior because of the knee injury that limited her to seven games last season.

During her senior season, in which the Lady Chargers finished 28-7, Duvall scored 827 points and averaged 23.6 points per game, the 10th best average in the state this season. Midway through the season, Duvall passed both McKinley and Alison (Bass) Egan to become the top scorer in Lady Charger history.

Duvall was dangerous to foes just about anywhere. The senior was second in the state this season at 2.9 made three pointers a contest and she was one of just two players in the state to make more than 100 three-pointers during the season, finishing with 102. At the free throw line, Duvall made 85.5 percent of her chances, the sixth best percentage in the state this season and a number that helped Bullitt East finish sixth in the state at 73.2 percent as a team at the free throw line.

Stallings said he never used the Miss Basketball award as a goal, but that he had mentioned to his player that by working hard that awards like this one were possible.

“I knew if she kept working and improving that this was possible,” Stallings said. “We didn’t talk about it six or seven years ago, but the past two or three years we talked about this possibility. It was rewarding for her to get this type of award.

“To see all the hard work by Lindsey and our hard work as a team, to win this award was really special,” the coach noted.