But what set her apart was when she lifted her team to another level, including her performances in two victories over Morristown West and the sectional win over Oak Ridge that pushed the Lady Trailblazers to the Class AAA state tournament for the first time in school history.
For her efforts, Culbertson was chosen Wednesday as the girls basketball player of the year for the Johnson City Press/Times-News All-Northeast Tennessee team. She became the first player from Daniel Boone to win the girls honor since Rachel Glass in 1995.
Player of the Year
Macie Culbertson, Daniel Boone, 5-11, Sr.
Coach of the Year
Travis Mains, Daniel Boone
Shyanne Tuelle, Hampton, 5-10, Sr.
Courtney Whitson, Dobyns-Bennett, 6-0, Jr.
Abbey Crawford, Sullivan Central, 6-1, So.
Halie Padgett, Unicoi County, 5-11, Sr.
Myah Parlier, Unaka, 6-0, Jr.
Sydney Pearce, Daniel Boone, 6-4, Sr.
Alasia Smith, Science Hill, 5-10, So.
Peyton Sams, Sullivan Central, 5-6, So.
Trinity Vines, Cloudland, 5-11, Jr.
Lexi Garland, Unaka, 5-4, Sr.
Defensive player of the year
Taylor Sanders, Sullivan Central, 5-6, Sr.
Most promising underclassman
Jeila Greenlee, Science Hill, 5-6, Fr.
Culbertson was joined on the first team by last year’s player of the year, Hampton’s Shyanne Tuelle. Rounding out the first team were Dobyns-Bennett’s Courtney Whitson, Sullivan Central’s Abbey Crawford, Unicoi County’s Halie Padgett and Unaka’s Myah Parlier.
Leading the way on the second team were Science Hill’s Alasia Smith and Daniel Boone’s Sydney Pearce. Also earning spots were Sullivan Central’s Peyton Sams, Cloudland’s Trinity Vines, and Unaka’s Lexi Garland.
Taking the defensive player of the year honor was Sullivan Central’s Taylor Sanders while Science Hill’s Jeila Greenlee was selected as the most promising underclassman.
As for coach of the year, it was as tight of a battle as it could be. Daniel Boone’s Travis Mains edged out Unaka’s Kenneth Chambers based on two nemesis-dispatching wins: Morristown West in the regional semifinals and Oak Ridge in the sectional. It was the second straight coach of the year honor for Mains.
Averaging 15 points per game, the 5-foot-11 senior guard was always in the scoring mix for Boone. But she also led her team in rebounding (6.0 per game), assists (4.1) and steals (3.5).
If there was any doubt about her player of the year status, the Belmont University signee eliminated it with 25 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals and 10-of-10 shooting from the free-throw line while leading the Lady Trailblazers past Oak Ridge in a Class AAA sectional contest.
She was the Big Seven Conference player of the year, and the Region 1-AAA tournament most valuable player.
It was a tough season for the Lady Bulldogs, but there was no drop-off in the performances of Tuelle.
The 5-10 senior led Northeast Tennessee with 19.5 points per game while also grabbing 6.5 rebounds, nailing over 60 3-pointers, and averaging 2.6 steals per game.
D-B pounded its way to the Region 1-AAA semifinals, and Whitson was a big part of that charge.
The 6-foot junior averaged a double-double with 14.6 points and 10.0 boards per contest. She has over 1,500 points in her career and passed the 1,000-rebound mark this season.
A dominant force in the paint, Crawford got better and better as the season went along and helped Central get within a few points of a sectional berth.
A 6-1 sophomore, Crawford averaged 17 points, seven rebounds and shot 80 percent from the free throw line.
The 5-11 senior was tough from start to finish, helping Unicoi win 20 games.
She averaged 17 points and eight rebounds per game and was chosen as the Three Rivers Conference player of the year.
A force down low, Parlier took her game to another level in the postseason. The 6-0 junior helped the Lady Rangers reach the Class A state semifinals.
She averaged 15 points and a Northeast Tennessee-best 11 rebounds per game.
Boone had a little bit of everything to confound opponents, and that included the 6-4 senior in the paint.
Pearce averaged 11 points and six rebounds per game, but probably her biggest asset was blocking three shots per game while altering many more.
Science Hill was nipping at Boone’s heels all season, and Smith was arguably the biggest reason for it.
The 5-10 sophomore did it all with 14 points, seven rebounds, and 3.3 steals per game along with some of the best defense in the area.
The 5-6 sophomore was the ignition for Central’s offense.
Leading from her point guard position, Sams averaged 10 points, 4.5 assists and 2.3 steals per game.
Cloudland got within a few points of the Class A state tournament, and the 5-11 junior post was a big part of it.
Vines averaged 12 points and seven rebounds per game.
Teams that reach the state tournament almost always have at least one superb guard. Garland fit that role for the Lady Rangers.
The 5-4 senior averaged 13 points and four assists per game.
Hustle was the name of the game for the area’s top defensive ace.
The 5-6 senior used effort to average eight rebounds and 2.4 steals per game, and also totaled 10.5 points a contest.
Science Hill’s future is bright as Greenlee should only get better. The 5-6 freshman guard has the potential to develop into a star for the Lady Hilltoppers.