Lady Bulldogs duo earn post-season honors

Stormy Jameson

Two members of the Lovell Lady Bulldogs basketball team received all-conference honors following the 2023-24 season, juniors Kenadee Rael and Libby Mickelson.
Earning all-conference recognition is a tough task in the 3A West, considering that only 16 athletes receive the honor out of the eight teams that make up the northwest and southwest quadrants.
“Getting two players selected on that list reflected well on the program and the year that the girls had both individually and as a team,” Lovell girls head coach Chris Edwards said.
Rael worked hard on both ends of the court and was the “floor general” on the year. 
As the point guard, Rael was tasked with handling the tough pressure from opposing defenders.
She led the team with 73 assists on the season and was also one of the leading scorers for the Lady Bulldogs.
One of the areas that Rael had the biggest impact on came at the
defensive end of the floor where she gathered 78 steals on the year
and deflected numerous passes each game.
“Her relentless effort on defense encouraged her teammates to play with the same intensity,” Edwards said. “She demonstrated great leadership skills by cheering for her teammates and motivating them to push through hard times.”
Mickelson led the Lady Bulldogs in scoring this season with 7.5 points per game and rebounding with 6.8 rebounds per game.
She was also second on the team with 59 steals.
“Libby is a versatile athlete who could play with her back to the hoop in the post or play on the perimeter to knock down shots or drive to the basket,” Edwards said.
Mickelson anchored the defense at the back end of Lovell’s zones and distracted a lot of shots with her long wingspan, he noted.
“She was an exceptional leader on and off the court for our team as she committed herself in the offseason to becoming a higher skilled basketball player,” Edwards continued.
Edwards also praised both players for their positivity and ability to be vocal leaders on the court and in the locker room.
Season wrap-up
The Lady Bulldogs had a season that consisted of bright moments and sometimes where things didn’t come together quite like they planned.
Competing in 3A leaves Lovell facing challenging opponents each night.
The Lady Bulldogs defense improved drastically over the final two months of the season as they dropped their opponents’ points per game by more than 15 points during that stretch.
“We adjusted to more of a half-court style defensive team instead of sticking to our full-court press, which seemed to fit our current roster better,” Edwards said.
One of the biggest challenges for the team was consistent scoring offensively.
“We would go through spurts where we couldn’t find ways to score, and that resulted in losing some close games down the stretch,” Edwards explained.
The Lovell coaches complimented the athletes in their program on their effort throughout the year and their willingness to do whatever was asked of them on the basketball court.
“Several times throughout the season I told them that I wouldn’t go into any scenario with any different group of players,” he said. “We love and appreciate each girl on this team, and we wouldn’t trade any of them for anyone else.”