2011 West Central Tribune All-Area Girls Basketball Team
New London-Spicer landed two players on the first team on the 2011 All-Area Girls Basketball team, including the first freshman ever to be selected among the top five players.
Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart's Karlee Ilgen repeated as a first-team choice. She is the only repeat choice on any of the three teams.
New London-Spicer had three selections in all. Willmar, Hancock, Yellow Medicine East and Benson had two players each named. Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart, BOLD, Dawson-Boyd, MACCRAY had one apiece.
The first team is Ilgen, a 5-foot-10 senior forward; Abbey Knisely, a 6-foot-3 senior center from New London-Spicer; Taylor Thunstedt, a 5-7 freshman guard from New London-Spicer; Illissa Koehl, a 5-7 senior guard from Hancock; and Emily Auch, a 5-10 senior forward from Benson.
Second-team selections are Kayli Gimse, a 5-11 senior center from Willmar; Kendra Schmidgall, a 6-2 junior center from Hancock; Angie Scheffler, a 5-11 junior forward from Yellow Medicine East; Kendra Lindblad, a 5-9 senior guard from Dawson-Boyd; and Brittany Dahlk, a 5-11 senior center from BOLD.
And named to the third team is Teagan Molden, a 6-1 junior forward from MACCRAY; Shantel Kelly, a 5-10 senior forward from Willmar; Karsee Knutson, a 5-8 senior guard from New London-Spicer; Emma Peterson, a 5-8 sophomore guard from Benson; and Emily Baker, a 6-0 junior center from Yellow Medicine East.
The All-Area team is selected by the sports editor after coaches were asked to nominate players. Also assisting with the selections were several coaches from outside the coverage area that played area teams, numerous area players and various print media personnel.
6-3 senior center
Knisely was named to the Coaches Association All-State team after averaging 10.7 points, 8.4 rebounds and an area-best 4.6 blocks per game. She was a force both offensively and defensively, helping the Wildcats go 25-3 this season and reach the sub-section championship. She shot 43 percent from the field. The two-year starter had 748 career points, 578 career rebounds and 313 career blocks.
5-7 freshman guard
Thunstedt is the first freshman area girls' basketball player ever to be selected to the first team. In her first year as a starter, she ran the Wildcats' offense like a seasoned veteran and led the area in three-pointers with 92, making 42 percent of them. She also was potent at driving to the basket and finished the season averaging 17.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 3.0 steals. She shot a robust 57 percent from the field.
5-10 senior forward
Auch, the West Central South Conference Most Valuable Player, led the area in scoring this season with an 18.5 average. She had the ability to score from the outside, on drives to the basket or by posting up, making 44 percent of her shots. She also was an excellent rebounder as evidenced by her 9.5 average as Benson went 20-8 this season. Auch also averaged 2.8 assists and 2.9 steals per game. She finished her career with 958 points and 459 rebounds in only two years as a starter.
5-10 senior forward
Ilgen was a vital part of the Mustangs' sudden rise after several dismal seasons. She helped the team gain a state appearance last year and a 20-6 finish this season. The Mustangs fell by only two points to Class A state runner-up Nicollet. Ilgen was selected to the Coaches Association All-State team after averaging 18.0 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.1 steals and 2.0 blocks per game. She is No. 5 on the area's all-time scoring list with 1,863 points and just missed on becoming only the fourth area girls to ever record 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career with 990 rebounds.
5-7 senior guard
Koehl was selected the Pheasant Conference Most Valuable Player and her playmaking and scoring abilities helped Hancock place fourth in the state Class A tournament. Koehl averaged 15.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.0 steals per game this season. She shot 43.5 percent from the field and 71 percent from three-throw line as the Owls finished with a 27-4 record. Koehl capped her career with 859 points.
5-11 senior center
Gimse is a physical post player with the ability to step out and shoot the three-pointer. She averaged 12.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.2 steals, 1.5 blocks and 1.4 assists per game for Willmar. The lone Class AAA school in the area posted a 14-10 record, including three losses to state tournament teams. Gimse made 32 three-pointers. She had 498 points and 226 rebounds in her career.
5-10 junior forward
Schmidgall was a force inside this season for Hancock, averaging 15.0 points and 5.3 rebounds. But the 6-foot-2 forward was also an excellent shooter from the outside as evidenced by her 39 three-pointers this season. And she was one of the area's top free-throw shooters at 84.4 percent. Schmidgall was named to the Class A all-tournament team as the Owls finished fourth. She currently has 956 points and 472 rebounds in her career.
5-9 senior guard
Lindblad went over the 1,000-point mark this season and paced the Blackjacks in scoring with a 14.9 average this season. Despite her team finishing fourth in the conference, Lindblad was named co-Most Valuable Player in the Camden North. She shot 45 percent from the field and was third in the area with 63 three-pointers. She hit eight treys in a game twice this season. Lindblad also averaged 3.7 assists, 2.8 steals and 2.1 rebounds per game. She finished her career with 1,025 points.
Yellow Medicine East
5-11 junior forward
Scheffler was a standout this season with the ability to play inside and outside. She also helped bring the ball up the court on the press. She often defended the opposing team's top player whether it was a post player or a guard. Scheffler helped the Sting win the West Central South Conference title, averaging a team-high 14.6 points points-per-game this season, while also averaging 8.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.7 steals as YME went 20-7. She currently has 643 points and 373 rebounds in her career.
5-11 senior center
Dahlk narrowly missed becoming only the fourth area player to ever record 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career. She finished with 948 points and 947 rebounds despite defenses almost always geared to shut her down. Dahlk posted 17 double-doubles this season out of 26 games and finished in double figures in both scoring average (11.6) and rebounds (11.8) for the second straight season.
5-10 senior forward
Kelly was one of the most improved players for the Cardinals this season, stepping up in her first year as a starter to share the team lead with a 12.5 scoring average. Able to score down low or out on top, Kelly helped the Cardinals finish 14-10, including a win over Class AA state runner-up Minnehaha Academy. Kelly also averaged 4.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
6-1 junior forward
Molden was selected the co-Most Valuble in the Camden North Conference as the Wolverines finished in a three-way tie for the title. The versatile forward led the team in several categories, including scoring (13.0 points-per-game), steals (2.4), blocked shots (2.2) and three pointers made (21). She was second on the team in assists (2.3), steals (2.4) and also averaged 6.0 rebounds. She currently has 666 career points for the Wolverines.
Yellow Medicine East
6-0 junior center
Baker was an inside presence for the Sting, helping the team win the West Central South Conference title and reach the Section 3AA championship. She averaged 9.0 points while shooting 44 percent from the field and led the team with 10.6 rebounds per game. She also was among the area leaders with 80 blocked shots (3.0 per game) and also averaged 2.6 steals and 2.0 assists per game.
5-8 sophomore guard
Peterson, in her first year as a starter for the Braves, ran the offense masterfully and had the ability to create her own shots off the dribble. Peterson scored 15 points-per-game, while also averaging 2.3 assists per game. She also was among the area's top three-point shooters, hitting 53. And she had a team-high 97 steals (3.5 per game). She currently has scored 525 career points.
5-8 senior guard
Knutson has numbers that don't reflect her value to the Wildcats' team this season. An outstanding defensive player, Knutson pulled down 18 rebounds against Sauk Centre in the sub-section championship. For the season, she averaged 8.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.3 steals. And she made 54 three-pointers and shot 67.4 percent from the free-throw line in her first year as a starter.