2016 All-Area Girls Basketball Team
Mia Wassink5-9 senior forwardEdgerton Making the jump from second team to first team on the All-Area squad, Wassink dominated on two levels during the 2015-16 girls basketball campaign by averaging 19 points and 12-plus rebounds per game. She fin...
5-9 senior forward
Making the jump from second team to first team on the All-Area squad, Wassink dominated on two levels during the 2015-16 girls basketball campaign by averaging 19 points and 12-plus rebounds per game. She finished third in the Red Rock Conference in points while leading the conference in rebounding (13.2 per game) and hitting a third-best 54.3 percent of her field goal attempts.
“Mia has been an unbelievable teammate and leader in the four years we have had her,” said her coach, Andrew Fleischman. “I cannot think of one game, practice or even drill that Mia did not give 100 percent effort in. Her attitude and effort are infectious and she has done a ton to support her teammates, making her an awesome leader.”
Not only is Wassink blessed with natural abilities, but her attitude has helped make everyone around her better. Her abilities near the basket are enhanced by the fact that she can use either hand and go over either shoulder. She has worked hard to perfect her variety of post moves, which made her very difficult to defend.
Likewise, Wassink’s rebounding skills were increased by pure desire. Plays with a tenacity. A force defensively in the middle of the Flying Dutchmen zone.
5-2 junior guard
Little in stature, big in performance, Skyberg was the primary reason Pipestone Area produced a 23-5 record and reached the Section 3AA South finals during the 2015-16 girls basketball campaign. The junior point guard not only handled the basketball with poise, but she was an outstanding passer and scorer who saw the whole court. Smart, a hard worker, she anticipated well.
Skyberg even rebounded well, despite her size, as evidenced by the 11 rebounds (along with 13 points) she came up with in a Section 3AA South semifinal win over Minneota. She scored 28 points in the sub-section opener against Jackson County Central.
“Rachel is a tireless worker, dedicated to improving all aspects of her game. She is a great example of a team player - unselfish, helpful and complimentary to younger athletes,” said her coach, Jay Johnson. “She is a fierce competitor, demanding of herself and others around her. Her work ethic and lightheartedness have helped the team achieve much success this season.”
She led the Arrows in scoring for the second straight year, accumulating 413 points. She grabbed 170 total rebounds and averaged 4.2 assists and 3.3 steals per game. Voted most valuable player and team captain.
5-9 junior forward
No team went as far as the Southwest Minnesota Christian Eagles in 2015-16, and Chantel Groen was a major reason why. The Section 3A champions possessed a consistent scorer inside in Groen, who has been described by her coach, Denise Nerem, as “the quickest power forward in this part of the state.”
Groen’s quickness around the basket was virtually unstoppable in leading the Eagles to a 27-2 record and a state tournament berth. She averaged 14.4 points per game, 6.2 rebounds per game and connected on an incredible 65 percent of her field goal attempts. And she also came up with three assists per outing.
“She uses her speed to go to the rim so well, it’s just hard to know which way she’s gonna go,” said Nerem.
Groen played little on varsity in her sophomore season, but by the time the 2015-16 season arrived Nerem knew she had something special. “We saw that asset - that speed,” said the coach. And they also saw good passing ability and good hands. Groen proved very helpful in breaking the press.
When teammate Ann Pater was unable to play in the Eagles’ state tournament game against Maranatha Christian Academy due to a health issue, Groen responded with a 30-point effort.
5-4 sophomore guard
A two-year starter who has been playing varsity since the eighth grade, it’s hard to overstate the key role Kaylee Kirk played in leading the Panthers to a 25-4 record and the Section 3AA South championship in 2016.
“She’s got such an impact on the game on the defensive end, with the havoc she causes,” said T-M-B head coach Derek Ashbaugh.
The unquestioned floor general of the Panthers, Kirk averaged 14.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 4.5 steals per game in her sophomore year while hitting 71 percent of her free throws. A player of constant energy, she was a force on both ends of the floor. She scored, she provided opportunities for her teammates, and with her quickness on defense she was a regular disrupter. Tenacity was her calling card. Definitely one of the top guards in southwest Minnesota.
With Kirk in the game, rival offensive players were unable to feel comfortable. The T-M-B floor leader read passing lanes with the best of them, anticipated in advance and used her quickness and good hands to make steals. Offensively, she was an excellent penetrator who was able to get into the lane consistently where she shot or passed off for assists.
5-7 senior guard
Mountain Lake Area
The top scorer in the Red Rock Conference, Stoesz drew raves from opposing coaches for her athleticism and her devotion to duty. “She single-handedly carried that team,” said Fulda head coach Gregg Slaathaug.
Stoesz averaged 22.4 points per game against conference opposition, nearly four points better than her nearest rival. She led Mountain Lake Area in steals for the past two seasons and had more than 100 as a senior. The Wolverines’ 15-9 record exceeded expectations, and Stoesz took the lead.
She scored 1,100 points in three varsity years.
“Her consistency has been impressive in never really having an off game even when every team knew she was our go-to player,” said MLA head coach Wayne Klassen. “She always stayed positive even when we would get behind in a game, then often she would lead us to get back into the game. She would never shy away from taking the big shot or wanting the ball in her hands at the key point in the game.”
She led the Wolverines in steals for the past two seasons and was one of the team leaders in defensive rebounds.
Stoesz plans to continue her basketball career at St. Mary’s University in Winona.
To learn about the Daily Globe All-Area second and third teams, and honorable mention candidates, see the April 2 print edition of the Daily Globe.