Southmont's DeLorean Mason led the state in steals (6.2) during the regular season as she was a force for the Mounties on both sides of the ball.
Not many basketball players enjoy playing defense. Southmont’s DeLorean Mason isn’t like most girls basketball players. The Mountie junior came into her own this past season and led the Mounties to an 11-11 record despite losing plenty of key seniors from a year ago. Coming into this season with the loss of Dori Frederick, Belle Miller, and Hanna Nichols, Mason knew that a lot would be asked of her. She was certainly up for the challenge as she ended her junior season tallying 13.7 points per game, 3.7 rebounds, and most notably and impressively 6.2 steals per game which during the regular season, no one in the state had more per game.
Coming into the season, Southmont coach Dan Burkman saw the potential that Mason had. While it may have not happened right away to begin the season, once she got going, there wasn’t much that anyone could do from stopping her.
“I think the biggest growth for DeLo from last year to this year has been her confidence,” Burkman said. “From the end of her sophomore year to where she is now, her confidence just grew tremendously. When you play with the confidence that she plays with, I think it allowed her to play a little looser and she was really able to unleash her full potential when she was playing that way.”
When you combine Mason’s play on the court on both ends, along with the leadership she provided for the Mounties this season, Mason has rightfully earned the title of the 2022-23 Journal Review Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
Down the stretch of the regular season and even in their final game of the year in the sectional, Mason took her play to another level. In the final 10 games of the season Mason averaged 16.2 points per game including a career high 25 points against Covington on Jan. 24.
As previously mentioned her embarrassing play atop the Mounties 2-3 and 1-3-1 zone defenses might life a living nightmare for most teams trying to figure out a way to break it. Three different times this season Mason had 10 or more steals including 11 in the county championship win over Crawfordsville. Mason shattered the single season steals record this past season for the Mounties that had been held since 1986 as she ended with 136 total steals.
“Unlike most I just really like playing defense,” Mason said. “For me it’s fun because I like using my speed and athleticism. When I saw that I had a chance to lead the state in steals, that gave me a lot of motivation. Coach put something on twitter and I saw that and then I knew that it was something that I could accomplish. I set high standards for myself and I feel like I put in a lot of work over the summer to get to where I am.”
Burkman, who holds his players to a high standard, knew that Mason could reach the level that he had set out for her.
“I really thought she could end playing as well as she did,” Burkman noted. “I’ve really been pushing her towards having this kind of season for the last two years. I saw the work ethic that she had and how she’s progressed as a player. I had pretty high expectations for her and I’d say she met all of them. DeLo just has knack for the ball and knows where it’s going to go. One of the best things about her is that she plays 100% all the time. I don’t think I ever see her take a play off. When you put all of that together and give her the freedom to take chances you get a pretty special player. “
For her career Mason has tallied 206 steals. In her senior season, she’ll demolish that record as the career mark is set at 216. Every high school athlete wants their senior season to be their very best and Mason knows there are some things that she can still improve on to make sure her final year is even better than this season as she looks to leave her name in the Mountie history books.
“Continuing to have the confidence that I had this year will be big,” she said. “I still have to get better at shooting because that’s an area where I struggled this year. Hopefully my name can be up there on the wall with the other records. I feel like because of the work that I’ve put in I deserve I belong up there.”
With another summer of training and this summer Mason will play for the Indiana Sirens travel team. Burkman sees the sky as the limit for what his standout junior can accomplish in her final season as a Mountie.
“She’s heading into this summer with all of the confidence in the world in her game,” he said. “She’ll be able to build that even further with her travel ball team and I expect her to even be better in a lot of areas next year. Not sure if I can expect an increase in the steals but her shooting percentages and things like that should take a climb.”
Mason will once again be the leader of the Mounties and with the work that she will put in, it’s safe to say she’ll be giving opposing teams even more fits next season.
2022-23 GBB ALL-AREA TEAMS
1st Team All-Area
DeLorean Mason - SM
Chloe Jenkins - SM
Piper Ramey - NM
Taylor Abston - CHS
Hannah Prickett - FC
2nd Team All-Area
Brailey Hoagland - FC
Chelsea Veatch - SM
Elyse Widmer - CHS
Riley Gardner - CHS
Macee Norman - NM