Bishop Miege star Peyton Verhulst repeats as DiRenna Award winner

McDonald's All-American becomes 5th 2-time winner
Peyton Verhulst wins DiRenna Award
Posted at 6:30 PM, Apr 16, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the second consecutive year, Bishop Miege senior Payton Verhulst has won the DiRenna Award, which is given annually to the best girls' basketball player in the Kansas City area.

"It's just nice to be along that list of all those great basketball players," Verhulst said with a grin. "Last year's (awards ceremony) was on Zoom, so (this year is) definitely a step up."

Verhulst is the fifth two-time winner in the award's history.

Other repeat girls DiRenna Award winners include: North Kansas City's Chandler Prater (2018, 2019), Olathe South's Natalie Knight (2010, 2011), Pembroke Hill's Erneshia Bailey (2003, 2004) and Blue Valley North's Tracy Lozier (1999, 2000).

Verhulst, a McDonald's All-American, averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds per game for the Stags, who won another Kansas Class 4 state championship this year.

Miege owns a Kansas record 22 state championships, including the last two in 2019 and 2021. There was no state championship in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Verhulst, an ESPN five-star prospect and the No. 12 player overall in the 2021 class, has signed with the University of Louisville.

She also considered Stanford, Connecticut, Notre Dame, Missouri, Oregon and Tennessee among others, according to ESPN.

Verhulst, who was the 2020 Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year, was a semifinalist for the 2021 Jersey Mike's Naismith High School Girls Player of the Year and played for the Under-16 USA Basketball National Team.

She also repeated as the Eastern Kansas League's Player of Year, won Wichita Eagle Player of the Year and was chosen all-state by the Eagle and Topeka Capital Journal.

The DiRenna Award, which was created by Dr. James DiRenna Sr., has been awarded annually since 1954 to the top boys' basketball player or players in the Kansas City area.

Originally, it was only awarded to the top male athlete in Kansas City, Missouri, but the award expanded to encompass the entire Kansas City region in the 1980s.

The girls' award was added in 1997.

Today, the DiRenna Award is presented by Dr. James DiRenna Jr. and the Greater Kansas City Basketball Coaches Association.