Hornaday breaking new ground as All-Area Newcomer of the Year

The Diamondback guard dazzled in her freshman season. 

EDINBURG — The 2017-18 season was already a banner year for Sharyland Pioneer girls basketball, and the Diamondbacks finished a game out of fourth place in District 31-5A.

A reason for optimism around the program is point guard Audry Hornaday, who burst onto the scene during her freshman season. The 5-foot-8 Hornaday proved her worth in more ways than one, leading her team in points (10.0) and ranking second in rebounds (5.3) while finishing in the top 10 in assists (5.3) and steals (3.9) per game amongst players competing in the Upper Valley. Hornaday’s marks earned her the honor as The Monitor’s All-Area Newcomer of the Year.

“I can’t explain to you how honored and blessed I am to receive this award,” Hornaday said. “This isn’t something that everyone gets when they play ball, and as a freshman, I’m appreciative to be chosen.”

Hornaday’s freshman year has brought the Diamondbacks program notability not previously seen in its short existence. She shared District 31-5A’s Newcomer of the Year award with Mission Veterans’ Kaylee Flores and Laredo Nixon’s Alyssa Mata, but Hornaday was the only freshman. Being under the radar doesn’t faze Hornaday.

“I don’t focus on that stuff,” Hornaday said. “I just do what I do on the court. I’ve received some congratulations from people, but nothing that’s taken me too high. It’s been pretty smooth throughout.”

Perhaps the most eye-opening of Hornaday’s honors after the season came from the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches. The TABC released its Class 5A Region 4 team, which features the best players from an area that includes the Rio Grande Valley, Corpus Christi, San Antonio and Austin.

Eighteen of the 20 players on the list were either juniors or sophomores. Hornaday was the lone freshman to make the team.

“I’ve seen a lot of basketball coming from San Antonio, so I know the caliber of athletes they are. Audry fits right in with them,” Sharyland Pioneer coach Nicole Villarreal said. “Her future is going to be extremely bright. She has an awesome work ethic. I can’t teach that or coach that, because it comes from within. She’s not going to settle. I know she wants to be one of the best and she wants to play at the next level when her high school career is done. She’s going to continue to work extremely hard to accomplish this goal.”

Hornaday winning The Monitor’s All-Area Newcomer of the Year award marks the first time any Sharyland Pioneer girls basketball player has earned an All-Area award. But she is confident the Diamondbacks will be a formidable threat sooner rather than later.

“We’re losing a lot of our seniors, but this coming season, we’re going to have some new faces,” Hornaday said. “We’re going to be all-around better players. A lot of the girls coming back I know are working hard this offseason to become better scorers, defenders and smarter with in-game situations.”