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Oklahoma City metro features star-studded freshman girls basketball class

Choctaw's Ana Llanusa, Norman's Bethany Franks, Edmond Santa Fe's Jo'Nah Johnson and Classen SAS' Taylor Roberts are all quickly becoming stars.
by Jacob Unruh Published: January 26, 2014

There are freshmen across the state making an impact on basketball courts nearly every year.

This season, there are freshmen making more than just a small impact for some girls basketball teams across the Oklahoma City metro.

And the focus centers on four girls: Choctaw's Ana Llanusa, Norman's Bethany Franks, Edmond Santa Fe's Jo'Nah Johnson and Classen SAS' Taylor Roberts.

All four are quickly becoming stars. It's a great sign for the sport, and it's great to watch this season.

“It's an interesting group,” Choctaw coach Ryan Maloney said. “It'll be fun to see where this freshman class goes because, yeah, there's some players out there.”

Maloney gets a front-row seat to watching Llanusa each game. The freshman guard has burst onto the scene this season with authority, becoming the jewel of the class in some eyes.

She's averaging nearly 18 points per game, a scary total for a player just learning what she can do at the Class 6A level, and is already garnering interest from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Duke and Tulsa.

“I've learned teamwork and learned a new jumpshot and just working together,” said the soft-spoken Llanusa, who led the Yellowjackets to the John Nobles Invitational title game while averaging 18.3 points per game.

But what makes this group so special?

Maloney said most of the girls play on the same AAU team during the summer, preparing them and improving their skills together.

“They've been playing basketball forever,” he said. “When they step into 6A girls basketball, they've kind of been in this situation before.”

Llanusa has especially been impressive, though she is hardly the only freshman making an impression.

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by Jacob Unruh
Jacob Unruh is a graduate of Northeastern State University. He was born in Cherokee and raised near Vera where he attended Caney Valley High School.During his tenure at NSU, Unruh wrote for The Northeastern (NSU's student newspaper), the...
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