Knoch’s Maddie Boyer named Valley News Dispatch Girls Basketball Player of the Year

Saturday, April 2, 2022 | 8:45 PM

Maddie Boyer

Knoch, 5-10, Sr., Guard

As a freshman, Maddie Boyer helped the Knoch girls basketball team make the WPIAL Class 4A playoffs. The Knights suffered a first-round loss to Elizabeth Forward.

Two years ago, Boyer increased her role at both ends of the court, and Knoch increased its standing in the WPIAL with a 17-7 overall record and a trip to the WPIAL quarterfinals.

Last year, in the midst of uncertainty and upheaval with the pandemic, Boyer helped make sure Knoch would be ready when the time came to make a run in the postseason. The Knights made it all the way to the WPIAL semifinals before Beaver stopped them short of the title game.

This year was one for the program record books as Knoch won its first section title in 50 years, made it to the WPIAL title game and PIAA playoffs for the first time and captured its first state playoff victory.

Boyer was at the center of it all as she averaged 14.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.6 steals for the Knights, who finished 22-4 overall.

She scored a career-high 27 points and added 11 rebounds and three steals in a WPIAL semifinal triumph over Southmoreland.

Boyer drove to the hoop, hit mid-range jumpers, drained 3-pointers and distributed the ball while making life difficult for opposing offenses with her ability to rebound and come up with steals.

For her efforts, Boyer has been selected the Valley News Dispatch Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

“My goal this year was to help us win the section and make it to states and go further than we did last year,” said Boyer, a VND first-team selection each of the past two years.

“Even though we didn’t win WPIALs, just being there at the Petersen Events Center with my teammates in my last year, it was just crazy thinking about all that we were able to accomplish together. I was able to have a good season, but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. We all worked so hard together, and that hard work paid off. We made history this year.”

Boyer eclipsed the 1,000-point milestone in Knoch’s PIAA first-round victory at home over St. Mary’s.

She came in needing four points, and the final two came on a runner to beat the first-quarter buzzer.

Boyer finished her varsity career with 1,019 points.

“It wasn’t something I was really thinking about as we were hoping to win WPIALs,” Boyer said.

“In the back of my mind, I knew we had at least one more game to play in the state playoffs. The fact that it ended up being a home game made it that much more special. I knew we would have a huge support system. To have everyone there supporting me and supporting the whole team for our first state playoff game, it was an amazing night.”

Boyer now turns her attention to the collegiate hardwood as she will join the basketball team at Penn State Behrend.

“To be able to continue playing at the next level, it’s something that I wasn’t always sure I wanted to do,” she said. “But now I am glad I am making this choice because I don’t think I would be able to just stop playing basketball.”

Boyer is in the midst of one last high school hurrah. She was slated to take part in the Cager Classic all-star game at Highlands on Saturday evening, and she also will play in the Roundball Classic on May 19-21 at Geneva College.

“I am still holding on to high school basketball for a little bit longer,” Boyer said.

First Team All-Stars

Jocelyn Bielak

Highlands, 5-9, So., Forward

A scorer, rebounder and facilitator, the second-year varsity performer helped the Golden Rams to one of their best seasons in school history with 19 victories and a trip to the WPIAL Class 4A quarterfinals. Bielak averaged 10.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.6 assists a game. She was selected to the Section 1 all-star first team.

Reese Hasley

Deer Lakes, 5-5, Sr., Guard

Hasley capped her four-year varsity career by leading the Lancers in scoring at 15 points a game. The Section 1-4A first-team all-star scored her 1,000th career point Jan. 24 with a game-winning shot with six seconds left to beat rival Freeport. The Grove City commit was selected a VND first-team all-star in 2020 and named to the second team in 2019 and 2021.

Megan Marston

Plum, 5-8, So., F

With an increased role in the offense after the graduation of Plum all-time leading scorer Kennedie Montue, Marston responded by leading the Mustangs in scoring at 15 points a game in and out of a rugged Section 2-5A. The consistent performer for Plum also was recognized for her efforts with selection to the Section 2 all-star first team.

Nina Shaw

Knoch, 5-3, Jr., Guard

The speedy, do-everything point guard was a centerpiece player for the WPIAL Class 4A runner-up Knights. Shaw was second on the team in scoring at 12.9 points a game and dished out 3.1 assists a contest. She scored a career-best 26 in a win at Highlands. A VND second-team pick last year, Shaw also earned Section 1-4A first-team all-star honors.

Julie Spinelli

St. Joseph, 5-11, So., Guard/Forward

The versatile Spartan brought both an effective inside and outside game to the WPIAL Class A semifinalist. A third-team selection last year, Spinelli led St. Joseph in scoring at 15.6 per game and in rebounds at 5.8 a contest. She scored a career-high 33 in a nonsection victory over Class 4A Freeport, 18 in a first-round playoff victory over Mapletown and a team-best 15 in the quarterfinal upset win over No. 1 Rochester.

Second Team

Melaina DeZort, Freeport, 5-7, Jr., G

Hattie McGraw, Knoch, 5-6, Jr., G

Kate Myers, Highlands, 5-8, So., G

Ava Soilis, Freeport, 5-6, Jr., G

Brinley Toland, Apollo-Ridge, 5-7, Jr., PG

Third Team

Hope Clark, Burrell, 5-7, Sr., G

Abbie Johns, Kiski Area, 5-9, So., G/F

Kalleigh Nerone, Highlands, 5-6, So., G

Elsie Smith, Fox Chapel, 5-11, Jr., F

Sophia Yard, Apollo-Ridge, 5-5, So., G

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .

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