INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — For the 70th straight year The DiRenna Awards crowned the best boys' and girls' basketball players in the Greater Kansas City area Thursday night.
In 2023, both winners hailed from the Show-Me State.
Staley point guard Kyan Evans was the winner on the boys' side. Evans led Staley to a 30-2 record and a state championship in Missouri Class 6. He holds career records for points and assists at Staley. Evans will play at Colorado State next season.
"It means a lot," said Evans, who was a DiRenna Award finalist last season as a junior. "Just grateful for my parents, teammates, coaches, everybody."
Grain Valley guard/forward Grace Slaughter was also a DiRenna Award finalist last season and the season before that. This season — her senior year — she broke through and won. Slaughter averaged almost 28 points per game this season and scored over 25-hundred points in her career for the Eagles.
"It's such a prestigious honor and I'm super thankful to everyone," said Slaughter. "There is so much talent here. And to be recognized with this group of people is super special."
Slaughter beat out fellow finalists Jaliya Davis of Blue Valley North, S'Mya Nichols of Shawnee Mission West, Mariyah Noel of Bonner Springs and Jadyn Wooten of Blue Valley.
Evans won over his teammate Kayden Fish, Blue Valley Northwest's Grant Stubblefield, Plattsburg's Isaia Howard and Lawrence's Zaxton King.
Staley's Chris Neff and Blue Valley Northwest's Aaron Ihm won the Eddie Ryan Coach of the Year Awards for boys' teams on the Missouri and Kansas sides, respectively.
It was Elyseia Dunn and Jeff Dickson who won it on the girls' side. Dunn coaches in Missouri at Raytown. Dickson coaches in Kansas at Lawrence.
Hickman Mill's Kimberly Scoggin-Bush, Paseo's Quinton Day and O'Hara's Marcus Walker were the newest members to the Greater Kansas City Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.
Lewis Smith won the Walt Tylicki Award, which goes to the top assistant coach in KC high school hoops.
And longtime coach, teacher, athletic director, administrator and official Darwin Rold won the Tom Colwell Lifetime Achievement Award.