Howard finished the season with a double-double in the Ladycats' loss to Plains in the state tournament, posting a team-leading 15 points and 10 rebounds. Her youth and talent gives Santo great reason to have high hopes for the near future.
Garnering first-team all-district accolades were seniors Taylor Nemeth and Courtney Flanagan. Both were lethal shooters for the Ladycats that added another dimension to the Santo offense.
"Courtney was the shooter that kept teams from playing a zone defense on us," Raffaele said. "Taylor was the athlete that had a quick turnaround jumper that was hard to defend."
On the second team was junior Jaci Trotter, who shined in a comeback season after missing all of 2012-13 with an illness.
"Jaci came back this year like she never missed a beat," Raffaele said. "(She's a) very intelligent player."
Rounding out Santo's all-district class was junior Callie Wharton, who earned honorable mention.
"Callie is the player I could use to offset other teams' big posts," Raffaele said. "She improved all year long and will only get better with more training."
Although she did not make all-district because of spending much of the season on junior varsity, Raffaele pointed to Lilly Motley as an essential cog in the Ladycats' success.
"Lilly filled in as backup point guard when I lost my back up," he said. "I threw her into the frying pan during the playoffs and she did an outstanding job."
With virtually 90 percent of Santo's roster earning all-district recognition of some kind on top of the historic trip to Austin, it's hard to scoff at what was a truly special season for the Ladycats. Raffaele said none of these goals could have been achieved without the hard work and dedication of his team.
"People will never understand the hard work and adversity this team went through to succeed," he said. "It always looks easy from the outside."