OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- The Association of Division III Independents has named 5 Maranatha basketball players to the All-Independent teams, highlighted by a Player of the Year honor for Kelsey Johnson.
|Jonathan Book||1st Team||1st Career All-Independent selection|
|Lexi Bueltel||1st Team||2nd Team All-Independent in 2016-17|
|Kelsey Johnson||1st Team, Player of the Year||1st Player of the Year honor for the program|
|David Lerma||2nd Team||1st Career All-Independent selection|
|Micah Shepard||1st Team||1st Career All-Independent selection|
Jonathan Book saw his season come to a disappointing end, as the junior guard had to watch the NCCAA National Tournament from the bench because of an injury. Still, the guard's impact was obvious, as he was at the hub of everything for the Sabercats this season. The quick junior was 1 of just 3 players in the AD3I to break the 100-assists mark for the year.
Lexi Bueltel wrapped up her 4-year career as a standout leader on and off the court for MBU. Bueltel averaged 15.5 points per game while shooting 41.3 percent from the floor. The senior finished her career in the top 10 in Maranatha program history in both points and rebounds, as she logged 1,133 points and 669 boards.* Last year, Bueltel earned AD3I 2nd Team All-Independent honors.
Kelsey Johnson's season was noteworthy from start to finish. The sophomore recorded double-digit points in every game except one, and even then, Johnson notched 9 points and 10 rebounds. Johnson was the only player in the entire AD3I to rank in the top 10 in every category of positive statistics, and she finished at the top of the charts in assists (96) and minutes played (789). This was Johnson's first year being named to the All-Independent selections.
This was also the first Player of the Year honor in the AD3I for the Women's Basketball program since MBU joined the AD3I for the 2013-14 season.
David Lerma finished in the AD3I top 5 in points, assists, steals, and 3-pointers. Lerma's 61 steals led the Association in that category as well. The transfer proved to be a reliable option all season for the Sabercats, finishing second behind Shepard in points per game with 12.3. Lerma was named to the AD3I 2nd Team.
Micah Shepard is the final newcomer to the AD3I teams. Shepard recorded a career-high 38 points in MBU's 105-97 overtime defeat of North Central back in November, and he recorded double-digits in 20 games this year. In the NCCAA North Regional Tournament a couple of weekends ago, Shepard logged 32 points through the first two games to lead the Sabercats to their first regional title since 2003. Shepard finished the season with a career-high 15.2 points per game and finished a standout 4-year career with 1,152 points.
*because of technological limitations, rebounding records only date back to 2000.