Rise Up Sports Co-Players of the Week:
Nadine Johnson and Grace Bale
Pineville’s Nadine Johnson and Taylor County’s Grace Bale actually ended up tied for the most votes at the end of the Week 4 poll, so there are actually 2 Player of the Week recipients for this week. Read more about these Players of the Week below!
Johnson was nominated not only for her skills on the court, but also for her skills off of the court. In fact, she actually received 2 nominations and they read, “Great attitude. Never quits!” and “She’s a leader who never gives up and is always uplifting to everyone around her. She has a 4.0 GPA with honors and college courses. A role model on and off the court who is driven and humble.” They also mentioned her impressive stats so far this season which can’t be ignored. In fact, the junior point guard is averaging a double-double 12 games into the season at 22.9 PPG and 10.2 RPG. Her 22.9 points per game currently ranks as the 4th best across the state.
Johnson is an excellent floor general who can really fill up a stat sheet. The lefty is super quick with and without the ball in her hands. She can grab a rebound and beat everyone else down the floor for easy buckets in transition. She also has a good pull-up jumper and she can get her shot off quickly, including directly off of the dribble. Johnson can get into the passing lanes for steals and she is a playmaker for her teammates. Despite being a PG, she actually ranks 14th on the state’s leaderboards for rebounds this season. Johnson has scored over 1000 points and has grabbed nearly 500 rebounds.
Bale was nominated for her phenomenal play in week 4. The sophomore guard scored 17 points and had 4 steals in a 57-36 win over Letcher County Central, and then she followed that up with 27 points and 5 steals in a 59-55 win over John Hardin. She also went 12/12 from the free throw line in that game. They also mentioned how Bale is averaging 16.8 PPG on the season and “has helped her team to a 7-2 record and a 2nd place position in the 5th region RPI.” Bale’s team has since played an additional game, but the stats for that game have not yet been entered into the system, so she didn’t meet the KHSAA 10 game minimum for the state’s leaderboards when they were updated this morning, but if she had, her 16.8 points per game average would put her at 31st and her 81.2% free throw average would be the 12th best in the state.
Bale is a multi-level scorer. The lefty can really shoot the ball and with deep range. She is also a strong driver and she’s tough to stop because of her ability to finish in many different ways. Bale can knock down mid-range shots, floaters, or get all the way to the rim. She draws fouls and can obviously knock down free throws at a high percentage. Bale has good handles and a good feel for the game. She can come up with multiple steals and she makes strong passes to her teammates. She still has over 2.5 years of high school to go, but she’s already scored nearly 600 points and has significantly raised her average from her freshman year already.
Congratulations to the Rise Up Sports Blog Co-Players of the Week for Week 4, Nadine Johnson and Grace Bale!!