Amry Shelby has been the leading scorer the past four years at Wayne State.
Jordan Spencer is just starting to make her mark for the Wildcats.
Those two are honorary captains of The World-Herald's All-Nebraska Division II basketball team. Players were nominated by coaches.
Shelby, a 5-foot-11 shooting guard from Marion, Iowa, led Wayne State to a 17-12 record, the Wildcats' best showing since 1999-2000, the last year that Creighton coach Greg McDermott led the program.
The first-team All-Northern Sun selection averaged a team-best 14.6 points a game, but coach Paul Combs said Shelby made his mark on defense.
“He was one of the best defenders we had each year in the program,” he said.
Shelby was a difficult matchup, able to shoot the 3 or his patented pull-up jump shot. He ranked 12th in the Northern Sun in scoring and second in Division II in free-throw percentage at 93.5 percent, making 87 of 93. He also ranked sixth in the NSIC in steals per game (1.59) and 12th in minutes per game (32.04).
“He always played under control — two hands on the ball, two feet on the ground,” Combs said. “He was a patient player and a good teammate, but he still was able to score, at times at will.”
Shelby had breakout games at Sioux Falls, where he scored 32 points, and at Lincoln, where he had 36. But the game Combs will remember was on senior night, when Shelby hit a jumper at the buzzer to beat Upper Iowa.
“It was a storybook ending for his career,” Combs said.
Shelby finished third on Wayne State's all-time list in scoring (1,582), fourth in free throws made (381), fifth in steals (142) and eighth in assists (236).
Spencer, a 5-10 forward from Millard West, also had some game-winning exploits in her first season for the Wildcats. She sat out last season, learning the ropes from Northern Sun player of the year Ashley Arlen after transferring from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
“She had a great year. She was our team MVP,'' coach Chris Kielsmeier said. “She's just scratching the surface of what she can be.”
Spencer averaged 15.5 points for 17-10 Wayne, which was rebuilding after replacing four starters from last year's Elite Eight team.
With only 12 players — and no seniors — Spencer averaged 31 minutes a game.
Spencer also was difficult to defend — not only was she explosive facing up from 15 feet in, but she developed her game with her back to the basket. Kielsmeier said he'd like her to be more consistent with her jumper and develop a 3-point game after shooting none.
Still, he was surprised at how well she played for the Wildcats after sitting out a year. She took over in a game against Minnesota-Crookston, scoring 27 points and hitting the winner with 1.5 seconds left to earn a 59-57 win. In a 69-65 victory over St. Cloud, she hit two free throws with 8 seconds left to put Wayne ahead and she then made a key defensive stop.
“She really bought in to what our program was all about,” Kielsmeier said. “Her work ethic was outstanding. She wanted to have a good year and she worked hard to make herself have a good year.”
Next year, Spencer will play with younger sister Jaylan, who is transferring from Northeast Community College in Norfolk. She's on the first-team All-Nebraska junior college team.
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