Kianna Ibis made a major impact last season as a freshman at Omaha Benson.
One varsity year later, she was even better.
The 6-foot sophomore was second in Class A scoring at 19.1 points per game and led Class A in rebounding with an average of 13.7 per game. She averaged 14.8 points and 10 rebounds per game as a freshman after her family had moved in from South Dakota.
For her effort, Ibis is named the honorary captain of The World-Herald’s All-Metro Conference girls basketball team. She helped lead Benson to a 16-8 record and the school’s first state tournament appearance since 1997.
“She was a game-changer at both ends of the court,” Bunnies coach Jon Perone said. “Kianna is a big reason why we’ve been able to take our program to the next level.”
Other first-team selections are Sylvia Smith-Gatson of Omaha Central, Kate Liveringhouse of Bellevue West, Samantha Waldron of Millard West and Mary Dineen of Millard North.
Members of the second team are Taylor Bahensky of Millard North, Jay Bridgeman of Omaha Westside, Annie Wolfe of Omaha Marian, Madi Braun of Bellevue West and Alex Nelson of Papillion-La Vista.
Third-team selections are Peyton Hagen and Taylor Silva of Bellevue East, Marisa Lowe of Millard West, Imani White of Omaha North and Simone Goods of Omaha Northwest.
Nominations of coaches and observations of World-Herald sportswriters determine the honor teams.
The left-handed Ibis finished tied with Jessica Shepard of Lincoln Southeast in Class A field-goal percentage at .600. She set a single-game school record this season when she poured in 35 points against Omaha South.
At the state tourney, Ibis scored 14 points and had 11 rebounds in a 53-51 first-round loss against Bellevue West.
“It’s a nice feeling knowing that she’ll be here for two more years,” Perone said. “She’s only going to get better.”
The other first-team members:
>> Smith-Gatson, a returning first-team selection, averaged 14.2 points and 6.2 rebounds for the Eagles. She helped Central capture the Class A title last year and was a key part of the team that went 21-6 and finished third at state this season.
“I thought Sylvia matured a lot as a player,” Central coach Tom Lee said. “She always wanted to pass more than she wanted to shoot, but that versatility helped make us a pretty tough team.”
>> Liveringhouse, a 6-foot-1 junior center, had a big season for the Thunderbirds. She averaged 14.1 points and 8.1 rebounds for 27-2 Bellevue West, which finished as the state runner-up.
“She had a deft touch in the post, but she was also a very good passer,” Thunderbirds coach Marc Kruger said. “She has big aspirations, and I think she could be a Division I player someday.”
>> Waldron, a 5-11 junior, averaged 15.9 points for the 23-6 Wildcats. She had one of her best games in the district final against Kearney, scoring 14 points in the final three minutes as Millard West rallied for a one-point win.
“She moves without the ball so well, and that makes her hard to defend,” Wildcats coach Kip Colony said. “She also broke the single-season record at the school for charges taken with 17, so that shows how much she put on the line every game.”
>> Dineen, who was sidelined early in the season by a knee injury, came back strong for the Mustangs. The 5-7 guard averaged 15 points and helped 20-6 Millard North reach the state tournament for the first time since 2009.
“Having her back in the lineup made us a much tougher team to defend,” Mustangs coach Scott Persigehl said. “She also shot 91 percent from the free-throw line, and that made a big difference in some of our close wins.”
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