2011 TH ALL-AREA GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAM
In so many ways, it was a historical season of high school girls basketball in the TH’s tri-state coverage area.
Ironically, the best finishes were accomplished by the two River Ridges: River Ridge/Scales Mound (in Illinois) and River Ridge (in Wisconsin) both finished as state runners-up. Both teams were making the first state tournament appearances in their programs’ histories.
They weren’t alone in making headlines, however.
Bellevue Marquette won a state tournament game for the first time in program history. Prairie du Chien got back to state after a 20-year absence, led there by a first-year coach, Paula Shedivy, who played on the Blackhawks’ 1991 Wisconsin Division 2 state championship team.
Here are a couple more quick historical notes of interest from the season before we get to the all-area team:
— Four area teams qualified for their state tournaments, tied for the most ever. Four teams also made it in 2009 (Cascade, Dubuque Wahlert, Cuba City, Potosi) and 1985 (Bellevue, Dubuque Senior, Western Dubuque, Cuba City).
— At least one team from each of the three area states qualified for the state tournament. That has only happened one other time, in 1991 (Dubuque Senior, Cuba City, Warren).
And now, on to the team.
FIRST TEAM NO-BRAINERS
While compiling these honor teams is always a challenge, I thought the first team pretty much took care of itself this year. All five players either earned all-state honors or led their teams to state tournament berths.
The only spot in the top five I feel is even up for debate is River Ridge’s Megan White. But I felt White earned a first team spot by the way she played not only all season, but in particular during the playoffs as the Timberwolves beat so many highly ranked teams to reach the state championship game.
TWO GIANT LEAPS
Paige Daugherty (Bellevue Marquette) and Morgan Banasik (Prairie du Chien) went from honorable mention in 2010 to the first team in 2011.
ANOTHER CUBA CITY STREAK ENDS
For the first time since 2000, there is not a Cuba City player on the first four teams. It would take an awful lot of research to confirm this — maybe some slow summer day I’ll have the time — but I have to believe that is the longest such streak outside of the city for any of our all-area teams.
FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
One thing that stood out to me was the number of underclassmen on this year’s teams. Each of the first three teams has three underclassmen. That bodes well for the next couple of seasons.
2012 PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Last year in this blog post I said the 2011 POY race would likely come down to River Ridge/Scales Mound’s Whitney Kieffer and Dubuque Wahlert’s Claire Till. I can’t really say at this point whether that turned out to be true, only because I don’t really know who I would say finished second — Kieffer took hold of this year’s POY honor very early in the season and never really let go. She was never seriously threatened for the honor.
Looking ahead to 2012, three names stand out to me as the early favorites: Till, Fennimore’s Breland Prochaska and Southwestern’s Katelyn Hoppman. As always, however, you never know who will come out of the woodwork, like Daugherty and Banasik this year.
See you next season.