ASHWAUBENON - The basketball season is over but not forgotten. Before we move onto spring sports it's time to look back at the girls basketball season and hand out awards.
Awards will be given out to Large Division (Divisions 1-2) and Small Division (Divisions 3-5) players and coaches as we wrap up the season.
So, here we go:
Large Division Girls Player of the Year
Allie LeClaire, Notre Dame: The Tritons junior led her team to the Division 2 state title and was the engine behind the Tritons' offense. LeClaire's ability to push the ball and find teammates for easy baskets was almost impossible to defend during the postseason. LeClaire, who also could shoot the 3-pointer, was held to five points in the state title game, but her ball handling was key against pressure. She was also a quality defensive player as she is the complete package.
Small Division Girls Player of the Year
Taylor Schmidt, Algoma: Schmidt had the knack of finding teammates open for easy baskets on passes that were sometimes amazing – see the state tournament. Her ball control and ability to play big in a big moment (buzzer-beater versus Kewaunee this season) is why the Wolves were able to win the Division 4 state tournament. Even when she didn't score a lot in the state tournament game, her ability to handle pressure allowed Algoma's offense to operate.
Large Division Girls Coach of the Year
Andrea Flease, New London: The first-year coach never was a head coach before and two years ago was playing college basketball. This year, she took over a team with a 42-game winning streak and almost led the Bulldogs to a third straight title before getting beat in a state semifinal. Flease only had one returning starter to work with this season and some figured New London wouldn't win the Bay. New London won 26 straight games, running its winning streak to 68 games, before losing its only game of the year at the state tournament. The rookie coached like a veteran.
Small Division Girls Coach of the Year
Lynn Geier, Kewaunee and Mark Zastrow, Algoma: How can you pick between the two? Their teams split during the regular season and both won state titles. Geier's team reflected its coach's toughness in the state title game, rallying from a 13-point deficit to win at the buzzer. Meanwhile, Zastrow's team rolled in the state tournament, winning each game by at least 16 points. The Wolves were primed for a state title and Zastrow made sure his players didn't miss out.
FOX11 All-Area Basketball Teams
Large Division Girls
- Morgan Anderson, Sr., De Pere: The Michigan Tech recruit averaged 13.2 ppg., 4.2 rpg. and 3.7 apg. and was named the FRCC's defensive player of the year. Also has grat court vision.
- Kayla Dawson, Sr., De Pere: The Grand Valley State (Mich.) recruit led De Pere with 13.9 ppg. and 6.6 rpg. as the Redbirds won their first 24 games this season. Dawson was effective inside and outside.
- Allie LeClaire, Jr., Notre Dame: The Green Bay recruit was named the FRCC player of the year and helped lead the Tritons to the D-2 state title. LeClaire averaged 15.3 ppg.
- Frankie Wurtz, Soph., Kimberly: Wurtz led the Papermakers to the FVA title and an upset of De Pere in a sectional semifinal where she scored 19 points. She's only going to get better, which is scary.
- Chelsea Nooker, Sr., Bay Port: The St. Cloud state recruit ranked in the top three in scoring (16.6 ppg.), rebounds (7.2 rpg.) and assists (4.6 apg.) in the FRCC. She could everything.
- Brenna Heise, Sr., New London: The Michigan Tech recruit was the lone returning starter on the Bulldogs and led her team to a third straight state tournament and 26 straight wins before losing in a state semifinal. Part of a 68-game winning streak, Heise averaged 16.3 ppg. and 7.4 rpg.
Player of the Year: LeClaire.
Coach of the Year: Andrea Flease, New London. The first-year coach never was a head coach before, lost four starters from last year's team and went on to win the first 26 games of the season, reaching the team's third straight state tournament before losing in a state semifinal.
Small Division Girls
- McKenna Larsen, Jr., Oconto Falls: Larsen led the Bay in scoring at 17.3 ppg. and eclipsed 1,000 career points. For as much as she scores, she's hardly selfish. Good team player.
- Taylor Schmidt, Sr., Algoma: The point guard was named the Packerland's player of the year for the second time in three seasons and led the Wolves to the D-4 state title. Averaged 12.3 ppg. and 4.1 apg.
- Kelsey Stangel, Sr., Kewaunee: Stangel scored 44 points in two games at the D3 state tournament, including 27 in the state title win over East Troy where she just took over. Averaged 13.6 ppg.
- Maddy Reed, Jr., Lourdes Academy: Reed, who cleared 1,000 points for her career, averaged 16.5 ppg., 9.3 rpg. and 3,.3 spg. as the Knights went 21-4 this season.
- Laken James, Jr., Oconto: James averaged 17.2 ppg., 8.2 rpg. and 4.3 apg. and she also surpassed 1,000 career points.
- Callie Walker, Sr., Berlin: The Eastern Valley
- player of the year averaged 17.2 ppg. and 12.6 rpg. and she scored more than 1,200 points in her career.
Player of the Year: Schmidt.
Coach of the Year: Mark Zastrow, Algoma; Lynn Geier, Kewaunee. Their teams split the season series between them and both won a state title. No way to pick one over the other so both share the award.
Before we say good-bye, the three best moments of the year:
1. Notre Dame, Kewaunee and Algoma win state titles. Three of the five state champs reside from our area. Yeah, lots of good basketball happening around here.
2. Winning streaks. New London won 68 games in a row before losing at the state tournament and De Pere won 44 straight games before losing in a sectional semifinal to Kimberly. Both teams had great runs and that can't be overlooked. It's hard to win that often.
3. Schmidt beats the buzzer, Kewaunee. After trailing by double digits in the fourth quarter, Schmidt hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer as Algoma won "War on the Shore, Part 1" against Kewaunee, 49-46.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay
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