As soon as the question was posed, Miner Webster had the answer. The key. The driving force behind one of the stalwarts to Gilbert Highland's second straight 5A Division I state title.
"Consistency," Webster said. "Morgan Wohltman has been so consistent. She's consistently improved each year and as a coach you know what you're going to get from her every night when you take the court."
Wohltman, a four-year varsity starter and in the top three of virtually every statistical category in the school's 16-year history, is this year's All-Tribune girls basketball player of the year.
Wohltman averaged a modest 15 points a game, four-plus rebounds and two steals a game. But she was the most important offensive player to the team. That was evident in her performance in the 5A-I title game win over Phoenix St. Mary's. Wohltman poured in 24 points, grabbed six rebounds and had five steals in the victory over the Knights. She also sank 4 of 9 shots from 3-point range, right at her mid-40's season-percentage from that distance.
"One thing that was hard to get through to her, especially the last two years, was that she needed to be selfish at times," Webster said. "She's prone to want to pass it more. But she came to realize we needed her to be our leader offensively, and make things happen."
Wohltman had only a couple-game stretch where her shooting touch was off, the latter part of January.
"I didn't worry too much," Wohltman, who is headed to Idaho State this fall, said. "I have times I go into a little slump, but I usually break out of it."
The accomplishments Wohltman will cherish most are the end results of the last two seasons.
"Winning back-to-back titles is special," Wohltman said. "We had the one loss this year, but it was good for us. ... We played good competition all year. We ended up beating Pinnacle and Tolleson, and Tolleson was the 5A-II champ, so we know we beat just about all the best teams."
2008-09 All-Tribune girls basketball team
|Morgan Wohltman||Highland||6-0||Sr.||Fiesta Region Player of Year, averaged 15 ppg|
|Davellyn Whyte||St. Mary’s||5-10||Sr.||Averaged 20.5 points a game, UA-bound|
|Amy Patton||McClintock||5-9||Sr.||28.7 ppg, 14.7 rpg for 4A-I runners-up|
|Kameron Knutson||Dobson||6-4||Jr.||15.9 ppg, 10.1 rpg for E.V. Region co-champs|
|Gabby Washington||Desert Ridge||5-8||So.||Pima Region player of year, 21.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg|
|Whitney Southerland||Gilbert||5-4||Jr.||Averaged 16.2 ppg and into 5A-I final four with inj. knee|
|Theresa Wirth||Seton||5-11||So.||Averaged 16.4 ppg, 8.7 rpg, East Sky player of year|
|Maylinn Smith||Mesquite||5-9||Jr.||Tough scorer inside or out, averaged 15.7 ppg|
|Aley Rohde||Pinnacle||6-3||So.||Led team to runner-up finish in 5A-II, 16.1 ppg and 9.2 rpg|
|Joy Burke||Marcos de Niza||6-4||Sr.||Injury-shortened season, averaged 23 ppg, 17 rpg|
Player of the Year: Morgan Wohltman, Highland
Coach of the Year: Scott Timmer, Valley Christian: Lost record-setter Amy Frost to graduation, but guided a bevy of sophomores and juniors to undefeated regular season and 40-foot buzzer-beater away from state title game.
Honorable mention: Arcadia: Mayan Zeitlin, G, Sr. Basha: Jaicea Gaston, F, Sr.; Kaela Oakes, G, Sr. Chandler: Je Zhe’Newton, F, Fr. Corona del Sol: Nicole Coggins, Sr., G; Kim Pestalozzi, G, Sr. Desert Vista: Bianka Balthazar, G, So.; Moriah Faulk, G, Sr.; Simone Westbrook, G, Fr. Dobson: Andrea Jones, G, Jr. Gilbert: Ausha Cole, G, Jr.; Justine Johnson, G, Jr. Hamilton: Katrina Otteson, G, Jr.; Lauren Evans, G, Fr. Highland: Malia Maggazzeni, F, Sr.; Chanel Thorley, Horizon: Jennfier Lee, G, Jr. Marcos de Niza: Joy Burke, P, Sr. McClintock: Stefanee Perez, G, Sr. Mesa: Lexi Brown, G, Sr. Mesquite: Kelsey Misseldine, G, Jr. Mountain Pointe: Katie Nemecek, G, Jr. Mountain View: Jennifer Schlott, G, Jr.; Erica Olsen, F, Sr.; Lia Kioa, G, Jr. Perry: Chelsea Brumby, G, Jr. Queen Creek: Jamie Kottcamp, F, Sr. Pinnacle: Victoria Sheaffer, G/F, Jr. Red Mountain: Erika Richards, G, Jr. Saguaro: Karah Hess, G, Jr. Seton Catholic: Katie Doerer, F, Sr. Tempe: Jade Wilson, F, Jr. Valley Christian: Kristen Johanssen, F, Jr.; Stacey Jones, F, So.; Ashton Wolf, G, So. Westwood: Teanna Boxly, G, Sr.
Memorable moments from the 2008-2009 season
In another hotly contested season in 5A Division I, Gilbert Highland successfully repeated as state champion, turning in an impressive 35-1 season and knocking off Phoenix St. Mary’s in the championship game, 51-48. Highland senior guard Morgan Wohltman scored 24 points, added six rebounds and five steals in the victory. Her second-half shooting in particular, and an overall 4-for-9 effort from 3-point range, helped make the difference for the Hawks, who rallied from five points down at halftime. It was the sixth state title for Highland’s program under coach Miner Webster.
Tempe McClintock fell a game short of winning its first state title in girls basketball, dropping a 49-45 decision to Tucson Canyon del Oro in the 4A Division I final. The Chargers’ Amy Patton capped a brilliant four-year career, scoring 24 points. McClintock got off to slow start, going 5-6 in its first 11 games. The Chargers won 16 of their final 18 games. Patton and fellow senior Stefanee Perez played their final games for McClintock, giving them long-awaited success in the sport.
A dream season for Chandler Valley Christian ended in a half-court nightmare. Despite a roster heavy on youth, the Trojans relied on defense, and it didn’t disappoint as V.C. went undefeated through the regular season and 2A region tournament, including wins against 4A and 3A schools. While a pair of Trojan starters were hampered by the flu, their 2A semifinals matchup against St. Johns seemed destined for overtime until St. Johns forward Danica Patterson — who tied the score with 13 seconds left — made a 40-footer at the buzzer for a 36-33 win to end the Trojans season. In a further cruel twist of fate, Patterson used to attend V.C. coach Scott Timmer’s basketball camps as a youth.
Chandler Seton Catholic coach Karen Self notched win No. 400 in her career in December when the Sentinels knocked off Scottsdale Notre Dame, 65-28. The Sentinels enjoyed another stellar season, going 26-4 and reaching the 4A-II quarterfinals where a heartbreaking loss to Flagstaff ended their championship hopes.