PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: 2013 Daily Globe All-Area Girls' Basketball
Paige Erickson, Senior, W-WG
Even though she knew her high school career couldn't last forever, Westbrook-Walnut Grove's Paige Erickson still felt strange stepping out onto the court for the Chargers during her senior season.
"It was a really fun year, but it felt weird knowing it was my last year here," Erickson said. "It went by really fast. I knew that since it was my last season, it was all or nothing. So, if it was going to be my last year, I wanted to put everything on the line."
Erickson tallied up 469 points and averaged 19.5 points per game this season on her way to 1,218 career points.
"Our team was really young this year, so that forced me to play a lot of different positions," Erickson said. "It was hard to play so many different positions throughout the season."
Over her career, Erickson took time to improve her game and become a better all-around player.
"I worked on my free throws because I knew I would need to be reliable at the free-throw line," Erickson said. "I also knew I would need to work on driving to the hoop more and shooting the ball well from anywhere on the floor."
As a senior and four-year player, many of Erickson's younger teammates looked to her for guidance and advice as much as they could.
"It was crazy to be a leader and have all my teammates watching everything I did," Erickson said. "They would ask me questions, and I would have to have the answers."
With Erickson moving on, Chargers coach Sheryl Woelber knows it will be hard to replace a player of Erickson's caliber.
"Paige has been an outstanding leader this season as well as during her career at W-WG," Woelber said. "She loves the game of basketball and she has helped make all of her teammates better players because of her hard work, athletic ability and leadership."
Kaitlin Wohnoutka, Senior, LHS
In her final season with the Luverne Cardinals, Kaitlin Wohnoutka not only led her team in points with 437 in 26 games but had career numbers in several other categories.
"I think this was one of my best years I've had on the team," Wohnoutka said. "I've gotten better every year, and this was definitely one of the best I've had at the high school level."
Wohnoutka attributes the improvements she's seen over her three years as a starter for the Cardinals not only to her own determination and hard work, but to the coaches she has played under.
"I've worked with different coaches every year to try and improve as a whole in order to become a better-rounded player," Wohnoutka said. "Each coach gave me different inputs on my game, and I think that has really helped me grow as a player."
After playing 870 minutes this season, it is no surprise that Wohnoutka led Luverne in almost every statistic imaginable. She made a team-best 153 shots, including 43 3-pointers.
"I am usually one of the faster girls on the court, so I was able to get a lot of steals this year," Wohnoutka said. "I also got a lot more layups than I have in the past. Instead of stopping before I got to the lane, I would go through the other player for the layup."
Due to an early injury to teammate Megan Peterson, Wohnoutka was forced to handle the ball more than she would have otherwise. Despite having to handle extra pressure, Luverne coach Corey Nelson feels Wohnoutka did an outstanding job.
"She did a lot for us throughout the year and hardly came off the court all season," Nelson said. "She is a great role model for the rest of the team and really dedicated herself to improving her game. I could always count on her to give everything she had."
Amber Pater, Senior, SWC
When Southwest Christian's Amber Pater first stepped onto the basketball court as a starter her sophomore year, defense was her specialty.
Three seasons later, Pater has developed an offensive game, which has made her into a more well-balanced, dual threat for the Eagles.
"I've improved a lot since I first started," Pater said. "Back then, I was a much more one-sided player and I had a way different mindset than I do now. I was best at defense, but now, I can play on both ends of the court as a senior."
Pater finished her senior season first in the RRC in field-goal percentage (49 percent) and averaged 17.2 points a game for Southwest Christian for 465 points on the season.
"I definitely could not have done all of this by myself," Pater said. "My teammates have been so great throughout the years I've been on the team. If not for them, I wouldn't have been able to accomplish all that I did in my career."
Not only was Pater a RRC All-Conference player in her senior season, but she was also named an All-State Honorable Mention along with receiving All-State Academics honors.
"Amber is the most naturally talented athlete I've ever coached," Eagles coach Denise Nerem said. "She is a very capable player that was a great leader for us on the floor. I believe she could score one on one against almost anyone in the area. ... I believe in her that much, and I think she is just that talented."
Along with being a leader on the court for SWC, Pater also knew that, as a senior, she needed to lead off the court as well.
"It makes a difference to be a senior," Pater said. "I realized I had to step up and be a leader for my teammates, and I hope I was able to teach them that you need to work hard for each other."
Ana Boever, Sophomore, WHS
After missing most of last season due to a torn ACL, no one would have blamed the Worthington Trojans' Ana Boever for taking it easy her sophomore season as she worked her way back from the injury.
Not only did Boever not take things easy, she was one of the Trojans' best players this season as they made a run to the Section 3AA championship game.
"I worked so hard this off season to be ready for my sophomore year," Boever said. "I feel like I did extremely well for just coming back from a pretty big injury. I'm glad I could help the team succeed like we did."
Boever led Worthington in steals (90), rebounds (198), 3-point shooting percentage (33 percent) and total points (371) while averaging 14.8 points and eight rebounds per game.
"I've always been good from the 3-point line and at getting steals," Boever said. "And I have really improved my all-around shooting because I am practicing my shooting all the time. I was also able to get more blocks this year, which was nice."
With the help of Boever's consistent play, the Trojans compiled a 21-6 record this season while going on three winning streaks of five or more games.
"She is one of those players that is always there when you need her," Trojan coach Eric Lindner said. "She played well consistently all year long. She was there from Game 1 to Game 27. And she always seemed to perform well in the big games."
With two more years of high school basketball ahead of her, Boever knows she still has room to grow her game and improve upon her weaknesses.
"I fell happy and grateful for to be able to do what I do," Boever said. "I do have a few more years to progress as a player and to be the best I can be."
Jordin Kopplow, Senior, AHS
In her fourth year with Adrian, senior forward Jordin Kopplow finally got her opportunity to start for the Dragons.
She took full advantage of her chance, leading the Red Rock Conference in steals, assists and rebounds, despite being five-feet, seven-inches tall.
"This year, I switched to the post, which meant I had to process plays differently than I had before," Kopplow said. "I worked really hard in practice to make the adjustment, and over the year I got better and quicker."
The key to Kopplow's success at rebounding was her speed and determination. She also used those things to help the Dragons lead the conference in defense.
"Averaging 11.2 rebounds a game tells us what kind of hustling-effort Kopplow plays with," Adrian coach Randy Strand said. "It is a hustle that starts with the opening tip and ends only at the final horn. Kopplow was also a force on defense, often matched up against taller players, she would use her quickness to out-play her opponents."
Not only did Kopplow lead Adrian in steals, assists and rebounds, but she was able to put together two triple-doubles this season.
"I feel pretty happy with myself on how my senior season went," Kopplow said. "But I couldn't hove done it without my coaches and my teammates."
As a leader, Kopplow did her best to not only lead by example but keep her teammates motivated on and off the court.
"I try to be as positive as I can be," Kopplow said. "I tell everyone to keep their heads up even if things aren't going our way."
Kopplow will look back on her senior year as one of the best she had at Adrian.
"This year was my favorite for sure," Kopplow said. "We all got along really well, I will miss being here."
All-Area Second Team
Courtney Place, Sophomore, SWU
In her sophomore season with the Southwestern United Wildcats, Courtney Place led the Red Rock Conference in points with 530, averaging 21.2 points per game.
Place played all five positions for the Wildcats throughout the season, but she had primarily played the 1, 2 and 3 guard positions throughout her career.
Over her sophomore season, Place made 138 of 259 (53 percent) shots from inside the arc. She could also knock down shots from behind the 3-point line, where she shot 35 percent on the year.
Despite being in just her third season with SWU, Place passed the 1,000-point mark this year. She ended the season with 1,024 points. She also shot more free-throws (128) than any other player in the RRC.
Janessa Peters, Senior, MLA
As a senior, Mountain Lake Area's Janessa Peters was fourth in scoring in the Red Rock Conference with 237 points for an average of 18.2 points per game.
Peters was second in the conference with 146 rebounds (11.2 per game), and trailed only Adrian's Jordin Kopplow, who averaged 11.9 rebounds in 16 Red Rock Conference matches.
Shooting 79.1 percent from the free-throw line, Peters landed fourth on the Red Rock Conference list with 53 made shots on 67 attempts during RRC games.
Peters ended the Red Rock Conference season with 93 made shots on 191 attempts (48.7 percent), which was good enough to put her in fourth place in the conference.
Paige Gravenhof, Junior, WHS
Paige Gravenhof averaged 13.2 points per game to help the Worthington Trojans compile a 21-6 overall record this season. She also led the team in assists (107) as well as 2-point field-goal percentage (45 percent).
Gravenhof was able to grab 128 rebounds while playing alongside K.C. Riley, Ana Boever, Lydia Kemper, Abbie Landgaard and Becca Linder in the Trojans' 27 games this season.
With 81 steals under her belt this season, Gravenhof created many opportunities for her teammates to convert the turnovers into points at the other end of the court.
Gravenhof was also able to shoot the long ball, averaging 30 percent from behind the arc during her junior year with Worthington.
The Trojans lose just three seniors from this season's squad, which means Gravenhof and her fellow juniors will be relied on to lead the team as it makes another push for a section title next year.
Brittney Hermeling, Senior, Fulda
Brittney Hermeling led the Fulda Raiders to a 19-9 overall record and a 12-4 conference record in her final season of high school basketball.
Hermeling was a sparkplug for the Raiders, using her tenacity to compile a team-high 65 steals and dish out 98 assists to her teammates.
As a 38.2 percent field-goal shooter, Hermeling knocked down 52 3-pointers in her senior campaign for a 32.7 percent average from behind the arc.
Along with her shooting prowess, Hermeling was also strong defensively for Fulda, collecting 108 defensive rebounds while averaging 10.2 points per game on the other end of the gym.
Hanna Van Dyke, Senior, SWC
Using her speed and agility, Southwest Christian's Hanna Van Dyke helped the Eagles to a perfect season in the Red Rock Conference and a 22-5 overall record for the 2012-2013 campaign.
Van Dyke averaged 8.4 points per game, and held her own in the paint, where she pulled down five rebounds per contest. After four solid years, Van Dyke has worked her way onto the Eagles all-time career scoring and rebounding list.
With a 78.2 percent average from the charity stripe in her senior year, Van Dyke led the Red Rock Conference in free-throw percentage to go along with her 34.5 percent average from beyond the 3-point line.
In the section tournament, Van Dyke set a SWC school record for most steals in a game with 12 against Adrian.
All-Area Third Team
Gina Hauge, Senior, Windom
In her final year as a Windom Eagle, Gina Hauge did not miss a single game for the Eagles.
Through 27 games, Hauge amassed 340 points for an average of 12.6 points per game.
Hauge made 137 2-pointers on the season, while grabbing 229 rebounds for an 8.5 rebound-per-game average.
Rachel Kontz, Senior, Adrian
A three-year starter for the Adrian Dragons, Rachel Kontz helped the girls' basketball team compile a 60-19 record over the past three seasons.
Kontz was third in the Red Rock Conference in steals with 2.9 per game and eighth in assists with an average of 3.4 .
As an All-Conference First Team player, Kontz picked up nine points a game for the Dragons while pulling down an average of 5.1 rebounds per night.
Kaylee Burmeister, Sophomore, JCC
A shooting guard in her second season as a starter for the Jackson County Central Huskies, Kaylee Burmeister averaged 11.2 points per game.
Using her strength and jumping abilities Burmeister grabbed 7.4 rebounds a game this season for the Huskies.
Burmeister also averaged 2.8 steals and two assists per game while shooting 75 percent from the free-throw line.
Bridget Kramer, Senior, Ellsworth
In her final year of high school basketball, Ellsworth's Bridget Kramer racked up 223 total points (13.9 points per game) in Red Rock Conference play.
Kramer shot 32.2 percent from the 3-point line while draining 77 shots on 231 attempts for the Panthers.
With an average of 4.8 assists per game, Kramer trailed just Adrian's Jordin Kopplow in the RRC in assists per game.
Rachel Cheadle, Senior, Fulda
As a senior, Fulda's Rachel Cheadle pulled down 257 rebounds in 28 games for the Raiders this season.
Cheadle averaged 13.3 points from the floor and shot 53.1 percent from inside the arc.
Leading the team in points with 346, Cheadle made 137 shots on 258 attempts without taking a single 3-point shot all season.
Courtney Vaske, Adrian
Sariah Cheadle, Fulda
Kelsey Hanefeld, Windom
Lydia Brandt, JCC
Lydia Kemper, WHS
Jenna Ness, MCC
McKayla Schilling, LHS
Elizabeth Thier, Adrian