of North Allegheny (Wexford, Pa.)
was born competitive. That happens when you're the daughter of former NBA player Darren Morningstar. It also manifests when your older sisters, Meg and Piper, pave the way as champions at North Allegheny before becoming successful Division I athletes.
Paige Morningstar, a volleyball and basketball standout, said things as simple as a game of Monopoly over the holidays are a big deal at the Morningstar household.
"It can get real heated," Paige said. "If we can actually finish a game, we make the loser clean up."
But that drive forged a championship pedigree as Morningstar heads to the University of Louisville on a volleyball scholarship after winning five state titles, including two this season, for the Tigers.
"Growing up and having them all push me and in my head definitely helped me," she said. "That's why I'm the most decorated. I don't let them forget it."
Morningstar can add 2020-21 MaxPreps Female Athlete of the Year to her resume ... something sure to come up during the next Monopoly game. She won four volleyball championships and one basketball crown at North Allegheny, though it's likely the Tigers would've added another had COVID not scrapped the season in the quarterfinals.
In 2020-21, Morningstar posted 715 assists, 97 digs, 91 kills, 41 blocks and 30 aces for the 18-0 Tigers, while averaging 9.3 points per game and 5.7 boards for the 27-1 hoops team.
"She has a different demeanor than her dad or sisters," said North Allegheny volleyball coach Heidi Miller. "Her court savvy and sense of how to play high-level sports are there, but where Meg was vocal and feisty, Paige is laid back and a little more chill."
Chill or not, Miller said when it came to matters inside the lines that Paige Morningstar was all business.
"It's hard to win a state title in the largest classification," Miller said. "To do both (win basketball and volleyball titles) at a high level at a big school is tough. And to do it as a key player is impressive."
In the 2020 volleyball finals, Morningstar notched 30 assists, while she pouring in 16 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the hardwood title contest.
"She blocked the last point in the state championship match," Miller said. "She was someone you could count on to make the play."
Miller's squad went 88-1 over Morningstar's four years, the one blip coming in the 2019 Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League finals, a loss Miller said helped refocus the team and fuel the state title run.
"I'm still not happy about it," said Morningstar. "It woke us up. My goal this year was to go 4-for-4 (in volleyball state titles) and put the cherry on top."
But she admits the basketball title might've been a little sweeter.
"In volleyball, we were so good," she said. "No one really expected us to win and knowing it was my last basketball game made it special. Sad, but also very happy."
Among other athletes considered for the award:
Ally Batenhorst, Seven Lakes (Katy, Texas):
The 6-foot-4 Nebraska-bound hitter and first team MaxPreps All-America pick pounded 574 kills while adding 371
digs and 548 serve receives, 33 blocks and 32 aces as the Spartans went
25-1 and captured the Texas 6A title.
Maci Bergeron, Notre Dame (Crowley, La.):
The LSU commit and Louisiana Farm Bureau Insurance/LSWA Miss Softball batted .571 with 30 home runs, 78 RBI while striking out four times. She was 6-0 in the circle in 36.1 innings with a 0.38 ERA and 47 strikeouts.
Raven Johnson, Westlake (Atlanta)
: The MaxPreps National Player of the Year in girls basketball, she led the Lions to a 22-0 record that included a AAAAAA state title as well as a GEICO Nationals title and MaxPreps National Championship. On the court, Johnson averaged 15.6 points, 5.3 boards and six assists.
Lindsay Krause, Skutt Catholic (Omaha, Neb.)
: The first team MaxPreps All-America pick joins Batenhorst playing for the Cornhuskers. In 2020, the state Player of the Year led
the 35-1 Skyhawks to a Class B title with 432 kills while hitting
nearly 48 percent. She added 243 digs, 260 receives and 88 aces.
Bergen Reilly, O'Gorman (Sioux Falls, S.D.)
: Showed no signs of the sophomore slump, leading the 26-0 Knights with 400 kills, 260 digs and 131 assists. She helped the Knights' basketball team to a 17-7 mark and a third-place finish in the Class AA playoffs.
Past MaxPreps Female Athletes of the Year
2019-20 — Paige Bueckers, Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.)
2018-19 — Alissa Pili, Dimond (Anchorage, Alaska)
2017-18 — Alissa Pili, Dimond
2016-17 — Tara Davis, Agoura (Calif.)
2015-16 — Mikayla Pivec, Lynnwood (Bothell, Wash.)
2013-14 — Ariana Washington, Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.)
2012-13 — Missy Franklin, Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.)
2011-12 — Missy Franklin, Regis Jesuit
2010-11 — Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
2009-10 — Chiney Ogwumike, Cy-Fair (Cypress, Texas)
2008-09 — Jordan Hasay, Mission Prep (San Luis Obispo, Calif.)
2007-08 — Nneka Ogwumike, Cy-Fair (Cypress, Texas)