Kelsey Brooks shrugs off the pressure of being the only underclassman nominated for the DiRenna Award as the top female basketball player in metropolitan Kansas City last season.
Any awards she gets these days are icing on the cake after basketball was ripped away from her for more than six months during her sophomore season.
Brooks, a junior point guard at Olathe Northwest, tore an ACL in mid-January 2011, so just returning to the court and returning to form was a victory in many ways.
That Brooks managed to guide the Ravens to the best season in program history — a 23-2 record, an undefeated Sunflower League championship and a runner-up finish at the Kansas 6A state tournament — is a testament to her talent and resilience.
Brooks averaged 12 points and shot better than 50 percent from the field.
A defensive whiz, she also chipped in 4.5 steals and a block on average to go with 4.8 rebounds and three assists.
She is one of a talented core of juniors — including Mikey Crall, Jaylah Jackson and Vashti Neal — who are expected back and ought to make the Ravens one of the state’s top teams once again next season.
For the time being, Brooks, who is the early favorite to win next year’s DiRenna Award, will have to settle for a record-setting season and The Olathe News girls basketball player of the year honor.