When the 2019-20 girls basketball season got underway the Northwestern High School Tigers were on a roll.
The Tigers won eight of their first nine games and were feeling pretty good about themselves.
But then starters Brooke Ogren and Jayda Klobucher suffered injuries and the Tigers dropped two of their next three games (to Ashland and Superior).
“We were doing really well, were successful and had very few setbacks,” NHS senior Karsyn Jones said. “When Brooke got hurt it was kind of like a wake-up call to the rest of the team. I thought with her gone we all had to be more productive, and then when Jayda got hurt, now we have to do even more.”
Behind Jones’ leadership, and the eventual return of Ogren and Klobucher, the Tigers rattled off 10 straight wins, finished the regular season at 19-3, and won their first Heart O’ North Conference championship since the 1998-99 season.
Because of that leadership, and her tremendous play down the stretch, Jones has been selected as the 2020 Superior Telegram All-Area Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
“Karsyn is a great candidate for player of the year,” NHS coach Paul Eberhardt said. “She led our team in scoring on a very balanced team and is someone who has grown tremendously as a player over the past couple of years.”
Northwestern also won its first two playoff games, but its season eventually ended with a 53-39 loss to St. Croix Falls, a team that was 24-1 at the time.
Jones scored a team-high 41 points in three playoff games, including 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots in the loss to SCF.
“Missing Brooke and Jayda actually helped us because other players were forced to pick up their games,” Jones said. “I know it helped me because I was playing better than I was earlier in the season. When they came back we were a better team and really came together.”
Overall, Jones led the Tigers in scoring at 11.6 points a game. She also averaged 3.8 rebounds, 2.0 steals, and 1.7 assists per game.
She was named first-team all-Heart O’ North Conference and has been selected to play in the WBCA All-Star Game in June.
Jones was quick to give credit to her teammates for the Tigers’ success, especially the other five seniors — Klobucher, Ogren, Brecken Oswskey, Tayva Plasch and Kennedy Nelson.
“It was just like a really supportive team,” Jones said. “This was my favorite team that I’ve ever played with.”
The three-year varsity starter also thanked her parents, Ryan and Kelli Jones, and coaches Jack Nelson and Eberhardt.
“I would like to thank my parents for all of their support,” Jones said. “I also have to thank Coach Nelson, my traveling team coach, who pushed me to be better and have more overall court presence. The same with Coach Eberhardt, he’s the one who pushed me to believe in myself. He’s also the one who had the most impact on me, because he always believed in me and he was always there for me.”
Jones also thanked the fans and the community.
“We had a lot of support, not only from the people around our team, but also from other teams in our conference,” Jones said. “The support grew even more in the playoffs and that really helped, it made us want it more and want to win for them.”
Jones’ immediate future includes playing centerfield on a Tigers’ softball team that went 19-5 last season and tied for first place in the HON.
Then it’s off to college.
“I plan on going to college, but not sure quite where yet,” Jones said. “I still have a couple of options I’m looking at.”
2020 Telegram team
There was a youth movement on the 2020 Superior Telegram All-Area Girls Basketball Team.
This year’s team, which features three returning players from the 2019 team, includes six seniors and four freshmen.
The returning players are Northwestern’s Brooke Ogren, Superior’s Niya Wilson, and Solon Springs’ Kylli Rajala. All three are seniors.
New seniors on the squad are Northwestern’s Jones and Jayda Klobucher, and Superior’s Kaileigh Miller; and the four freshmen are Superior’s Emma Raye and Savannah Leopold, Northwestern’s Tieryn Plasch and Solon Springs’ Kyra Latvala.
Superior Telegram Girls Basketball Players of the Year
2020 — Karsyn Jones, Sr., Northwestern
2019 — Morgan Anderson, Sr., Solon Springs
2018 — Katie Lundeen, Sr., Northwestern
2017 — Katie Lundeen, Jr., Northwestern
2016 — Mackenzie Kmecik, Sr., Superior
2015 — Megan Gustafson, Sr., South Shore
2014 — Jessica Lindstrom, Sr., Superior
2013 — Jessica Lindstrom, Jr., Superior
2012 — Jessica Lindstrom, So., Superior
2011 — Jessica Lindstrom, Fr., and Hailey Kontny, Fr., Superior
2010 — Annie Block, Jr., Northwood
2009 — Ashlee Blegen, Sr., Northwood
2008 — Gretchen Grube, Sr., Northwestern
2007 — Lindsey Lindstrom, Sr., Superior
2006 — Lindsey Lindstrom, Jr., Superior
2005 — Lindsey Lindstrom, So., Superior
2004 — Jolene Anderson, Sr., South Shore
2003 — Nancy McConkey, Sr., Maranatha
2002 — Katie Moench, Sr., Maranatha