McKinley star Alston named Ms. Basketball

Associated Press

Canton McKinley’s Ameryst Alston jokes that people don’t know how to pronounce her first name.

Now she’s got a new moniker: Ms. Basketball.

The brilliant junior point guard was announced Wednesday as the 24th annual winner of the Ohio Associated Press award, selected by a state panel of sports writers and broadcasters.

Alston has made winning just another stat. She helped McKinley to the state tournament as a freshman, guided the Bulldogs to the Division I state championship last year and keyed a 20-0 regular season and No. 1 ranking this year.

If you need proof that the bottom line is all that counts for her, consider that she’s still piqued that she didn’t play better in a regional tournament loss to Twinsburg last week.

“I’m best at getting my teammates involved,” she said. “But when the game comes down to it, whatever my team needs then I’m more than willing to do it. Unfortunately that didn’t happen against Twinsburg. I had an off game and we just couldn’t produce as a team.”

Her coach, Pam Davis, can’t say enough about her star.

“What describes Ameryst best is that she has a very excellent basketball IQ,” she said. “She knows when to get her teammates the ball and when to take the shot. She’s very versatile. Despite being just 5-foot-9, she has the ability to run the point for us, play the wing or even the power-forward position.”

No wonder that most of the major women’s college programs have taken notice. With free time on her hands this week — she had already figured her time would be full with state-tournament preparations — she’ll begin looking into where she’ll go to school in the fall of 2012.

A 3.2 student, she was brought up in a basketball family. Her father and mother each played high school ball in Canton and her father still coaches at the middle-school level.

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