Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file photo
Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file photo
Durango’s own has earned a spot at the top of the league.
Fort Lewis College women’s basketball player and Durango High School alumna Katerina Garcia is capping her Durango career with a selection to the All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference first team, RMAC Assistant Commissioner Eric Danner announced Wednesday, one day after Ignacio High School alumnus Alex Herrera earned the Skyhawks’ first-ever RMAC Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Garcia leads four teammates on the All-RMAC honor roll: Ashley Kuchar was named to the second team, and Alex Easterbrook and Christie Groh each earned third-team honors.
Garcia, a 5-5 senior point guard, leads the conference in assists this year with 135, and she needs only one more to tie Abby Jackson’s 2009-10 record for most assists in a single season as the Skyhawks head into Friday’s RMAC Shootout semifinal against fourth-ranked and No. 1 seed Colorado Mesa.
Garcia also is second in the conference in steals (68) and seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.6).
“Kat was the driving force in us ending up where we did,” FLC head coach Jason Flores said in a news release to The Durango Herald. “As a point guard, she did a great job leading the team and was great in distributing the ball or scoring when needed.”
Garcia, the owner of several DHS basketball records, also has a couple of FLC records to her name.
With nine steals, she broke the FLC record for most steals in a single game against Minnesota-Crookston on Nov. 23, 2012, and she tied the school record for most assists in a game with 11 against Western State in last year’s RMAC Shootout championship game. She’s second in the FLC record book with 369 assists and fourth with 191 steals.
The selection is Garcia’s second All-RMAC award after she made the third team last year as a junior.
Kuchar’s selection, meanwhile, is her first.
The 5-8 junior guard was fourth in the league in 3-pointers, scoring 62.
“Ashley led us in scoring and was our best 3-point shooter,” Flores said. “She can really extend the defense with her scoring ability, but more importantly, she was much-improved defensively as the year went on.”
Easterbrook, a 5-6 senior guard, leads the RMAC in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.7), and she ranks among league leaders in assists (third, 101), steals (fourth, 58) and 3-pointers (10th, 48).
Flores called her the team’s best defender in the news release.
“Alex was instrumental in our success,” he said. “She led us in minutes played as she did so many of the little things that do not always show up in a box score.”
Groh, the only forward among the Skyhawks’ All-RMAC crew, also earned her first all-conference award.
“Christie has developed into one of the best post players in the league,” Flores said. “She developed a good back-to-the-basket game to go along with her ability to face up and hit a shot, as well as her ability to run the floor and score in transition.”
At 6-1, she’s seventh in the RMAC in total rebounds (180) and defensive rebounds (121) and eighth in rebounds per game (6.7) and offensive rebounds (59).
“As a group, they all complimented each other really well,” Flores said of his squad. “We have the type of team where on any given night, mulitple players can have good games, and that reflects on not just one person standing out in any category. We have come a long way, and I am just happy for them.”
Kelsey Sigl of Colorado Mesa won RMAC Player of the Year honors after she led the league with an average of 18.5 points per game. Her coach, Taylor Wagner, was named RMAC Coach of the Year in his first season for leading the Mavericks to their best season in more than a decade with a 26-1 record, which allowed them to break into the top 10 in the nation for the first time since 2001-02.
Kristin Valencia of Metro State was the RMAC Defensive Player of the Year as the linchpin of the conference’s best defense. She’s averaging 9.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.9 steals and 0.9 blocked shots per game.
Taylor Torres of Colorado Christian was RMAC Freshman of the Year after averaging 14.6 points per game.