FORT SMITH -- The Northside Lady Bears faced many unknowns going into the season like returning to the 6A-West and replacing key players off teams that played in two-straight state championship games and winning one of them.
In stepped Karys Washington, a senior post player who answered the call.
"She was absolutely the key to our team and our program to stay at that level," Northside coach Rickey Smith said. "As a sophomore and a junior, she played on a state championship team and a state runner-up with great players. It wasn't that she wasn't ready, but there were really good players ahead of her. She didn't play a tremendous amount of minutes. Last summer, she just needed to be turned loose."
Washington proved to be a consistent force inside in leading the Lady Bears to a share of the 6A-West championship and into the state tournament.
She averaged 17.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per night and played the most minutes on the team, averaging 27 of 32 minutes per night.
"She matured on and off the court," Smith said. "She had a phenomenal season for us."
Washington headlined the basketball award winners as released by the Arkansas Activities Association this week. Washington earned both Class 6A All-State honors as well as being named to the Class 6A All-Tournament team.
Sophomore teammate Erianna Gooden was named All-State, averaging 15.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. She was also named to the All-Tournament team last year.
The Greenwood Lady Bulldogs and County Line Indians, who both won state championships last weekend, were also well represented.
Senior Mady Cartwright and Adriana Rusin along with junior Anna Trusty were named Class 5A All-State as well as the Class 5A All-Tournament team from Greenwood. Cartwright and Trusty were also All-State and All-Tournament last year. Cartwright was MVP of the championship game each of the last two years and All-State as a sophomore.
Senior Aundrae Milum and junior Cooper Watson were named both Class A All-State and Class A All-Tournament team while junior point guard Trent Johnston was named to the All-Tournament team for County Line, which finished 45-0. Milum was the MVP of the championship game. Milum and Watson were All-Tournament last year, too.
Northside's Denarion Whitmore was named to the Class 6A All-Tournament team after leading the Grizzlies in scoring with 367 points, rebounds with 203 and blocks with 24.
Charleston's Brandon Scott was named both Class 3A All-State and to the All-Tournament team. He averaged 31.8 points per game with 605 points in 19 games and scored 1,761 points in 93 career games. Scott was also All-State last year and as a sophomore.
Mulberry's Ashtyn Conley was named Class A All-State after averaging 9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.9 steals per game in helping Mulberry to a 20-14 record. In conference play, she averaged 10.9 points per game.
High-scoring junior Eli Slavens of Hackett averaged 22.1 points and 3.7 assists per game and was named Class 3A All-State.
Junior Kynslee Ward and freshman Kaylee Ward were named Class 2A All-State while senior Natalie Allison was named to the All-Tournament team after helping the Mansfield Lady Tigers to the state semifinals. Kynslee Ward averaged 11.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.5 steals per game. Kaylee Ward averaged 11.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game. Kynslee Ward was All-Tournament last year.
Van Buren senior Conner Myers was named to the Class 6A All-Tournament team while junior Glavine McDonald was named All-State. Myers averaged 9.4 points per game and led Van Buren with 7.4 rebounds per game and 40.5% from 3-point range. McDonald scored 12.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per outing.
Leigh Swint of Booneville was named Class 3A All-State for the second year in a row after averaging 14.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.4 steals and 3 assists per game this season.
C.J. Johnson of Booneville scored 19 points in the first-round state tournament loss for Booneville, including 17 in the first half, to being named to the All-Tournament team.
Jetson Wagner and Alex Hobbs were named Class 2A All-State in leading Lavaca to a 32-5 record. Hobbs was named to the All-Tournament team.
Ozark's Briley Burns finished her career as the school's all-time leading scorer and was named Class 4A All-State. She was All-State as a sophomore.
Lamar played for the Class 3A state championship and had senior Karley Williams named both All-State and All-Tournament while Kori Sanders was named All-State, and Shae Taylor was named All-Tournament. Sanders was also All-State last year. Taylor and Williams were All-Tournament last year.
County Line's Jayleigh Smith is All-State for the third-straight season.