York County's Janay Rissmiller, Linda Brown earn all-state girls' basketball honors

York Suburban's Rissmiller and Christian School of York's Brown were third-team selections in Class 5A and 1A, respectively.

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch

York Suburban girls’ basketball coach Jess Weaver has coached a lot of talented girls throughout her time leading the Trojan program.

Janay Rissmiller certainly is among the best of the bunch. Rissmiller is an athletic guard that can shoot, drive and score from anywhere on the court. The junior also plays with a tenacity on defense that brings a smile to Weaver’s face on gamedays.

After a season in which Rissmiller led the Trojans to the District 3 Class 5A finals for the first time in program history, the York Suburban standout was named the Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State Third Team Monday. Rissmiller averaged 14.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 4.1 steals per game this past season.

York Suburban's Janay Rissmiller (4) against Greencastle-Antrim's Haley Noblit (1) girls basketball district 3 class 5a final in Hershey on Thursday, March 2, 2023.

While Rissmiller was the only York-Adams League player to earn a nod on the all-state teams, she wasn’t the only York-area player to make the list. Linda Brown, a senior for the Christian School of York, also earned a third-team berth on the Class A team after leading the Defenders to a 23-6 record and a spot in the PIAA second round.

Trojan workhorse: No one was more thrilled for Rissmiller than Weaver, who said it made her day after learning Rissmiller was named to the all-state team.

“It’s a tremendous honor for Janay,” Weaver said. “And very well-earned and well-deserved this year. While she had a great supporting cast who played well all season, Janay was certainly the engine behind it all.”

York Suburban went 15-7 in the regular season and finished third in York-Adams Division II. After falling to Central York in the league tournament, the Trojans opened districts with a home win over Shippensburg to secure a berth in states. Then they earned road wins over Manheim Central and Northern York to reach the district final, where they lost to top-seeded Greencastle-Antrim.

A shorthanded squad without senior Alyssa Dougherty fell to Mars in the first round of the PIAA Class 5A draw. Rissmiller led the Trojans' charge after a slow start in that contest, pacing all scorers with 20 points.

York Suburban's Janay Rissmiller (4) against Mars' Carmella McDole (35) in the PIAA girls basketball playoffs in Spring Garden on March 11, 2023.

“Janay did a little bit of everything for us,” Weaver said. “She was a leader on the court, which was an area that I really challenged her in this season and she really rose to the occasion. She scored and distributed the ball offensively.”

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A first team all-star in York-Adams Division II, Rissmiller is just 205 points shy of 1,000 for her career, but Weaver absolutely raves about what her talented junior does on the defensive end of the court.

“Janay is one of the best defenders in the state,” Weaver said. “She defended the opposing team’s best player every night and almost always held them below their scoring average.”

Sometimes there is a danger for younger players to regress somewhat after earning an accolade like this, but Weaver has no doubts that this honor will only serve as motivation for Rissmiller to improve next season as a senior.

“I think she’ll be excited,” Weaver said, “but I think it’s only going to propel her to work even hard this offseason. It wouldn’t shock me if her goal was moving up to either second-team or first-team next season.”

Christian School of York’s Linda Brown, back, lines up her shot while Mount Calvary Christian’s Rachel Thomas defends during PIAA District III, Class 1-A girls’ basketball semifinal action at Christian School of York in Manchester Township, Friday, Feb. 24, 2023. Mount Calvary would win the game 39-29. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Small-school standout: Playing for a school at the PIAA’s lowest classification — as well as in a private conference as opposed to the public-school league — probably hasn’t helped draw attention to a player like Brown, but everyone on the Christian School of York schedule this year certainly knew about the Defenders' star senior.

Brown led CSY with 14.0 points per game to go along with 9.0 rebounds per contest. Brown finished her career with 1,066 career points, a mark that was hindered by an ACL injury as well as the loss of games during the pandemic season in 2021.

“Opponents would often double and triple-team Linda whenever she touched the ball,” Defenders coach Michael Graybill said. “Her ability to succeed despite that has been an acknowledgement of all the hard work and effort that she has put into her game.”

While Brown’s talent and attributes on the court certainly warrant all-state recognition, Graybill gushed about an intangible of Brown’s that isn’t found in a scoresheet.

Christian School of York’s Linda Brown, left, pushes past Mount Calvary Christian’s Rachel Thomas during PIAA District III, Class 1-A girls’ basketball semifinal action at Christian School of York in Manchester Township, Friday, Feb. 24, 2023. Mount Calvary would win the game 39-29. Dawn J. Sagert photo

“She always puts the team first,” Graybill said. “So I’m sure that she’ll look at this as a team recognition as much as it being an individual honor. She’s a very selfless player and she enjoys passing and getting an open teammate a shot over shooting it herself.”

Graybill believes Brown’s nod on the all-state team is a first in CSY program history.

“I know that we had an all-state volleyball player for us that played basketball,” Graybill said, “but I don’t think we’ve ever had one for basketball. So that’s pretty cool.”