Boca’s Grace Marko, Rachel Levy: All-Area basketball co-players of year

Despite the state championship medals hanging around their necks, what happened in Lakeland still doesn’t feel real for Boca Raton seniors Rachel Levy and Grace Marko.

Only two weeks earlier, the Bobcats won the program’s first state title in a blur: an inbound pass from Marko, with Levy underneath the hoop, a buzzer-beating shot from sophomore second-team All-Area pick Audrey Ramsey and a dogpile near the bench all occurring in a matter of maybe 10 seconds.

“It still seems like a dream,” Marko said. “We think about Audrey’s play, her shot and that whole moment over and over. It just seems too good to be true sometimes.”

The two Boca Raton seniors led the way for the Bobcats’ title, leading the team on the court and off, and after becoming two of the best girls basketball players in Palm Beach County, they are the Post’s Large Schools Girls Basketball Co-Players of the Year.

Levy was the Post’s Player of the Year as a junior after Boca Raton fell to Vero Beach in double overtime in the state finals, and she said then that the Bobcats would “get the ring” her senior year.

The Harvard signee led Boca Raton with 14.5 points a game and seven rebounds a game, and she led the Bobcats in points in both the state semifinal against Orlando-Olympia (16 points) and the title game against Miami-Ferguson (13 points).

Marko, a Boston College signee like Small Schools Player of the Year Milan Morris, scored nine in the semifinal and 11 in the final, and she was second on the team in points (13 a game), third in rebounds (three a game) and second in assists (2.6 a game).

Levy and Marko’s numbers were actually lower this year than they were in the past. They each had two seasons where they averaged more points: Levy averaged 18.6 points her sophomore year and 16.7 as a junior, while Marko averaged 15 a game as a freshman and 13.7 as a junior.

But coach Nhu Nguyen attributes that to having a more balanced team. Four other players averaged more than five points a game, with Ramsey joining the two Players of the Year in double digits. Nguyen added that Levy and Marko did not always rack up points because the Bobcats had wrapped games up by the fourth quarter.

“They only play, out of the 32 minutes, I would say they only play 20 minutes, all season long,” he said. “So that’s contributing to their lower stats.

“Another key contributor is Hannah (Pratt) and Audrey became scorers for us, as well, so they’re actually sharing the ball more.”

Although their stat lines might not jump out, Levy and Marko’s impact and legacy at Boca Raton has not gone unnoticed.

“You wouldn’t really think, coming from a high school girls basketball team, you’d receive that, but we have a really good community base,” Levy said. “A lot of people know who we are and what we do, and it’s really cool to get their gratitude.”

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