Underclassmen dominate 2013 Superior Telegram All-Area Basketball teamJoining Player of the Year Jessica Lindstrom on the 2013 Superior Telegram All-Area Girls Basketball Team are three seniors, two juniors and three sophomores. Member of this year’s team are listed below in alphabetical order.
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
Joining Player of the Year Jessica Lindstrom on the 2013 Superior Telegram All-Area Girls Basketball Team are three seniors, two juniors and three sophomores. Member of this year’s team are listed below in alphabetical order.
Also nominated were senior Katie Hansen of Northwestern; Solon Springs juniors Shayla Bornholdt, Alicia Jensen and Tylor Kruse; and senior Valerie Garay.
The Northwood Evergreens began the 2012-13 season without their star point guard.
Sarah Benson missed the first weeks of play while recovering from knee surgery, but her return energized the Evergreens and helped them advance to the sectional semifinals.
“She is one of the most well-rounded players in the area,” said Jason Schultz, head coach of the Evergreens. “She can beat you in so many ways.”
In her senior season with the Evergreens, Benson averaged 9.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game. She also led the team defensively, averaging 3.7 steals and 1.9 blocks per game.
“Her size at her position makes her a very difficult match up,” Schultz said. “She also has one the highest basketball IQs of anyone I have coached.”
Benson will continue to play basketball after graduation at Division 2 Upper Iowa. She was named to the Central Lakeland Conference All-Conference Team this season.
The Solon Springs Eagles have scrapped through the past three seasons with one of the youngest basketball teams in the state.
Autumn Blaylock has been through it all, and now as a junior, the years of experience are beginning to pay off.
“This girl is great,” said Eagles coach Kate Klinzing. “She can dribble out of any mess, play any position and has blossomed into her leadership role.”
Blaylock led the Eagles in scoring this season with 9.8 points per game. She shot 33 percent from 3-point range — also a team high — and made 66 percent of her free throws.
“She was also third in team rebounds, which is surprising for being a point guard or shooting guard,” Klinzing said.
Blaylock finished the year with 63 rebounds, an average of three per game. She also averaged 1.5 steals and 1.4 assists per game.
Blaylock was named to the Indianhead Conference West Division second team.
Throughout the season, Spartan head coach Phil Roe looked to Abby Clemons for leadership.
“Abby Clemons was my main captain,” Roe said. “(She was) the one who spoke in the captain’s circle every game.
Clemons played her best during Superior’s run to the state tournament, and after the team’s sectional victories over Chippewa Falls and Oshkosh North, Roe had a new name for his senior captain: Ms. Clutch.
“She hit 4-of-5 threes in the Oshkosh North game, and she scored in double figures during the Chippewa Falls game,” Roe said. “In both games, in which North and Chippewa took their first leads of the game in the fourth quarter, Abby came back in the next possession and swished a three. She not only scored those huge baskets, but more importantly, she took their fans out of the game and instantly silenced them.”
Clemons more than doubled her scoring average during the sectional tournament. For the season, she averaged 5.8 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. She also had 51 assists and 34 steals.
“On any other area team Abby Clemons would be a night in and night out double figure scorer, but she chose to sacrifice some of her shots to benefit the entire team,” Roe said.
On defense, Clemons matched up well against taller players and played a physical game for Superior under the basket. She was also unafraid to step up and take a charge.
“She took more charges than any other player I have ever coached, and that includes the five years I coached on the boys side,” Roe said.
“Abby’s work ethic and leadership skills are going to be missed next year.”
Alyssa Correll was the shooter at the arc who couldn’t be ignored this season.
Opponents who left the sophomore guard open quickly learned the error of their ways.
“Alyssa was our team’s sharpshooter from the outside this year,” Roe said. “She shot an amazing 44 percent from 3-point range, dazzled the crowd with her teardrop float shots and had some huge step trough/pump fakes which always kept the defense off balance.”
Correll was Superior’s third-leading scorer, averaging 10.9 points per game, and led the team in 3-pointers made and 3-point percentage. She finished the season with 42 assists and 32 steals.
Correll also thrived in pressure situations this season. Her 3-point shooting helped Superior breeze through the regional tournament, and in the sectional finals she iced the game with a pair of free throws.
“Alyssa’s composure, demeanor and drive are what set her apart from most players,” Roe said.
“Alyssa was also the most improved player defensively on my team from the start of the season to finish. At the end of the season she had some huge blocks and steals which helped us during our playoff run.”
Correll was named to the Lake Superior Conference All-Conference second team.
With a younger team this year, Northwestern needed its seasoned players to help guide the team.
Senior Aliex Friend gladly accepted that role.
“Aliex is a great leader and was one of our captains this year,” said Northwestern coach Molly Fletcher. “She works hard and really helped the team this year.”
Friend led Northwestern in scoring with 119 points, averaging 8.5 per game, and pulled down 41 rebounds. She also added 19 assists for the Tigers and was an honorable mention selection on this year’s Heart O’ North All-Conference team.
Since her freshman season, Kontny has teamed with Lindstrom to provide a one-two punch for the Spartans.
This year the duo carried Superior to its first state tournament berth since 1995, with Kontny directing the offense at point guard.
“As a junior captain Hailey led the Spartans on both ends of the court not only offensively with her amazing dribbling, passing and scoring skills, but she turned into a shutdown bulldog defender,” Roe said. “Hailey took some huge charges and if there was a stat for hitting the floor diving, Hailey would lead the team.”
Kontny averaged 15.8 points per game for Superior and led the team in assists with 4.8 per game. She scored her 1,000th career point this season to become just the fourth Spartan girl — and the first guard — to reach that milestone. Her 432 points scored during her junior season put her career total at 1,156 points.
Kontny also averaged 4.1 rebounds per game and came up with 80 steals (3.1 per game).
In the regular season, Kontny showed her strength as a clutch shooter. She hit a buzzer-beater at Chippewa Falls early in the season to give Superior a 61-59 win, and later in the year she came up with some key baskets and assists in the final minutes to lead the Spartans over D.C. Everest.
“Hailey is a matchup nightmare for coaches because she is so explosive with her speed, and she can beat you in so many ways: inside-outside, mid-range or drawing the defense in and then kicking it to the open player with one of her laser passes,” Roe said.
“It was fun to see Hailey greatly improve this season in many aspects of her game, and she became an elite point guard.”
Kontny was named to the LSC All-Conference first team. She was also on honorable mention selection on the Associated Press All-State Team and the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association All-State Team.
Though only a sophomore, Amanda Ogren took over a key role for Northwestern this season.
“Amanda stepped up and contributed a lot to the team,” Fletcher said.
“She took on the role of point guard and did a great job.”
Ogren scored 101 points this season (7.8 per game) and grabbed 59 rebounds. She also added 11 assists.
Ogren was an honorable mention selection on this year’s HON All-Conference team.
In just her second year with the Evergreens, McKayla Waggoner has become one of the players to watch in northern Wisconsin.
She led Northwood in scoring this season with 16.1 points per game and also averaged 2.2 assists per game while playing in the low post.
“McKayla has become a very consistent and explosive scorer for our team over the past two years,” Schultz said. “In the WIAA tournament she averaged almost 23 points per game for us. She also has become one the best defenders in the area.”
The sophomore averaged a team-leading four steals per game and pulled down 5.7 rebounds per game. She was named to Central Lakeland All-Conference Team and was honorable mention on the WBCA All-State Team. “She’s one of the most gifted all-around players I’ve coached and we expect her to come back next year and lead our team,” Schultz said. “She has the potential to do great things as a part of our program.”