Frankfort's VanTol, Glen Lake's Valkner earn All-State Second-Team honors from Michigan AP; Mio's McGregor named PotY

Apr. 1—MIO — Every text message offers a reminder. Every phone call brings a recollection.

Like most teens, Mia McGregor's phone is her friend. But hers is the kind of friend who is constantly poking and prodding and pushing her buttons. And the Mio girls basketball sensation wouldn't have it any other way.

"The screensaver on her phone is the scoreboard of us losing against Gaylord St. Mary," said Kristi McGregor, who doubles as Mia's mother and coach. "I said 'Why would you want something like that?' And she said 'I'm going to see this every day, several times a day.' That's going to drive her."

McGregor never seemed to lack for motivation this season while erupting on the high school scene. After scoring at an unprecedented rate — 41.2 points per game — the freshman phenom earned Michigan Associated Press Division 4 Player of the Year honors for the state of Michigan.

She headlines the All-State team that includes Lake Linden-Hubbell's Emily Jokela, Ishpeming's Jenna Maki, Pittsford's Ava Mallar, Bay City All Saints' Annaka Neetz, Sterling Heights Parkway Christian's Tamerah Peterson, Fowler's Katie Spicer, Kingston's Delaney St. George, Posen's Ella Szatkowski and Colon's Reese Williams.

Frankfort's Evelyn VanTol and Glen Lake's Eleanor Valkner were named to the All-State Second Team.

Ryan Reichel was named Coach of the Year after leading Ishpeming to its first state championship.

But McGregor was the story of the year. The daughter of two Mio hoops heroes — father Ty sparked the Thunderbolts to the state title in 1989 and mother Kristi helped Mio to a runner-up finish in 1993 — she counted down the days until she could don that uniform.

A 5-foot-9 point guard, who has toured the country playing high-level travel ball, McGregor announced her arrival with authority by scoring 47 points in her debut. She broke 50 in her third game.

Despite playing through a knee injury, she scored 866 points, second most in state history behind the 935 scored by Central Lake's Jasmine Hines in 2010. McGregor was limited to 17 points against Alcona, but eclipsed the 30-point mark in every other game, including a season-high 58-point performance. Her 41.2 average is believed to be a state record.

Suddenly, Mio — home to 21 1,000-point scorers, including the state's all-time boys basketball scoring leader Jay Smith — was must-see basketball once again.

"I was in awe at how many people from northern Michigan came to our games to watch her play," Kristi McGregor said. "We saw old friends, people we coached, people we played against.

"It seems like there are these old basketball gurus who are in every gym, and so many of them have come to watch her play. One guy said he drove two hours to see her. He said, 'I came when Jay Smith played. I came when Ty McGregor played. And when I saw she was Ty's daughter, I knew I was heading back to Mio.'"

Kristi McGregor said she submitted Mia's numbers to the MHSAA, and 14 items are being added to the record book for her ninth-grade season. McGregor led Mio to a 20-5 record and its first league championship in 20 years.