Every fall for about five years, a group of high school girls basketball teams from the Miami Valley get together — in an effort spearheaded by Greenon senior Lianne Masquelier — to fill shoe boxes full of supplies for kids living in Third World countries.
Operation Christmas Child has provided those less fortunate with blankets, toys, candy, school supplies, stuffed animals and basic necessities.
As for Masquelier, she’s building quite the shoe box full of memories for herself at Greenon. Her latest memento, though, will have to go somewhere else. Even the biggest of shoe boxes wouldn’t hold the coveted Pam Evans Smith Miss Basketball trophy.
Masquelier was honored as the 26th Miss Basketball on Tuesday night at the Coaches All-Clark County girls basketball team was announced. The award embraces community leadership and as much as it does layups.
The 5-foot-9 guard displayed an all-around game with 10.4 points, 6.5 assists, 5.2 steals and 2.5 rebounds. She recorded double-digit assists in three games, including a season-high 12 in a win against Indian Lake.
As good as she is at helping teammates, Masquelier’s greatest handouts come off the court when those basketball teams meet at Cedarville University for some fastbreaks and fellowship.
“Her biggest attribute is she wants everyone else to succeed before her,” Greenon coach Gary Falkenbach said. “She wants to do for everybody else before she does for herself. That tells you something about a high school athlete who is concerned about charities. Lianne has always been that.”
The honor came as a surprise to Masquelier. She hadn’t considered herself as the potential winner prior the the banquet. Only when Falkenbach stood up to present the award did she realize it was going to be her or junior teammate Taylor Burson, who was also honored on the 10-player Coaches All-County team.
“I didn’t have my hopes up at all. I came in just feeling blessed to be part of the team,” Masquelier said. “I had no thoughts what so ever I was going to be the recipient of this. It’s such a great honor and I’m very thankful for everyone who has helped me get here.
“This is such an honor. There is a lot of great talent in this room and I know anyone here could have gotten this honor. It’s really humbling to get this.”
A three-time state qualifier in cross country, Masquelier plans to run for the University of Cincinnati.
Kenton Ridge coach Ed Foulk earned his second coach of the year award (2011). He led the Cougars to a 26-2 record and appearance in the Division II regional final. Foulk has also coached a county-high six Miss Basketball winners.
“As a player KR was one of the big games where you judged your team’s success,” said Tecumseh coach Danielle Thomas, last year’s winner who introduced Foulk. “Nothing has changed now that I coach against KR and that has everything to do with Ed and his players.”