By CLINT FOSTER
Palo Pinto County's most successful basketball team of the 2013-14 season can now add a bushel of accolades to an already memorable, Regional Championship year.
Fresh off of their first appearance in the state tournament in 57 years, the third-ranked Santo Ladycats (24-9) placed eight girls on the All-District 11-1A-II team, four of whom earned top honors. All five of Santo's phenomenal seniors made an appearance on the list.
Seniors Breeana Raffaele and Payton Billue were named the district's Co-Most Valuable Players while fellow senior Madison Lasater earned the title of Defensive Player of the Year and sophomore post Chasen Howard captured Newcomer of the Year.
In addition her all-district honors, Breeana Raffaele was also named to the Class 1A-Division I All-State Tournament team.
Declining to provide individual statistics for the season, head coach Tony Raffaele said that each player's contribution to the Ladycats' year went far beyond mere numbers.
"The stats of all the kids would not give anyone a picture of the true contribution of each young lady," he said. "The only stat our team was focused on was to win as a team, no matter who got the credit.
Raffaele went on to describe the significant impact each award-winner had on this team.
"Payton Billue is like my third daughter," he said. "She was the backbone that carried this team at times. Breeana Raffaele was the floor general that could make good basketball decisions.
"Madison Lasater could play any position and defend anyone. Chasen Howard is a very good basketball player that bought into what I was doing as a coach. She will only get better under our system and could be one of the best players I have coached in a long time."