The Laurel High girls basketball team soared to a new level this season.
Regan Atkins played a big role in that.
The Lady Spartans appeared in their first WPIAL championship game, falling to Bishop Canevin in the Class 2A title tilt, 50-41. Laurel (17-9) tallied a 12-2 mark in Section 1 action.
Atkins paced the team in scoring at 12.6 points per game en route to earning a spot on the first-team all-section squad.
“She had a great year for us,” Lady Spartans coach Matt Stebbins said. “We play in a very tough section and there are a lot of good players top to bottom.
“Regan did it on both ends of the court. She had a great year and she’s a very hard-nosed player.”
A 5-foot-7 freshman guard, Atkins added 8.2 rebounds, 4.8 steals and 4.5 assists a contest as well. She ranked second on the team in rebounding and tops on the squad in assists.
“She played shooting guard and point guard for us,” Stebbins said. “She did a lot of different things offensively and defensively.
“She was very well balanced. She hit the 3 and she attacked the rim.”
Despite being just a ninth-grader, Stebbins could count on Atkins in the biggest of moments.
“She came up big for us in big games,” he said. “The home win over OLSH, in playoff games. She came up big.
“She was our go-to player in big games. She developed into a huge threat for us.”
Stebbins expects Atkins to produce more big things in the future for the Lady Spartans.
“Early on, you could tell she was a little timid,” Stebbins said. “She hit some big buckets in big games.
“There’s definitely a lot of room for improvement, for sure. She has high hopes for improving.”
Laurel was eliminated in the PIAA playoffs by Bellwood Antis in the opening round.
Sydney Cook (New Brighton), Sydney Payne (South Side Beaver), Alicia Young (Sto-Rox) and Angel Henry (Aliquippa) completed the first team.
Section champion Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, which produced a 13-1 league mark and 18-4 overall, wasn’t represented on the first team. The Lady Spartans handed the Lady Chargers their lone league loss.
FIRST TEAM: Sydney Cook, New Brighton; Sydney Payne, South Side Beaver; Alicia Young, Sto-Rox; Regan Atkins, Laurel; Angel Henry, Aliquippa.