The 2014 Tribune Girls All-Area Basketball Team
Fans who never had a chance to watch Taylor Thunstedt play basketball missed quite a show.
Fans who never had a chance to watch Taylor Thunstedt play basketball missed quite a show.
In the past four years, the New London-Spicer senior guard made an overwhelming case for herself as the best ever to play in the area.
Thunstedt played for the most decorated area team in the last 40 years (15 state tournament appearances, two state championships, seven runner-up or third-place finishes, 20-plus wins in 27 seasons).
Many strong, talented players keep a machine like that humming, and Thunstedt was the best of them all.
Consider the resume: Thunstedt not only became the Tribune-area’s top all-time scorer (2,766 career points) but she eclipsed the previous mark by more than 400 points. To break that record, some future star will need to average 700 points a season – roughly 25 points per game – beginning as a freshman.
Thunstedt set school records for 3-pointers made (430) and steals (482), but she was hardly a score-at-all-costs gunner. Her 512 career assists rank third at NLS, behind such accomplished alums as Tonia Nelson and Amber Hanson.
During Thunstedt’s four years, the Wildcats compiled a 92-23 record and this year played in the Class AA Minnesota State Girls Basketball Tournament.
“We’ve never had anybody who was that dominant as an offensive player,” said NLS head coach Mike Dreier, whose 816 wins are the most in state history. “She could score in so many ways. She’s going to be hard to replace.”
With Thunstedt heading off to play at North Dakota State, Dreier admits it will be a strange feeling not being able to pencil in 25 points and 5 assists as a given every game.
“It’s going to be a difficult challenge, no doubt about it,” said Dreier, who completed his 36th year as Wildcats coach. “She might be the high point of whatever I’ve got left in me, I don’t know.”
Thunstedt is the unquestioned MVP of the Tribune’s 2014 All-Area Team, but in any other span of time BOLD’s Carly Sigurdson would sit atop the mountain.
The Warriors senior became just the fourth Tribune-area player to surpass 2,000 career points and BOLD won 69 games the last four years and claimed the Section 3AA championship in Sigurdson’s junior year. She makes the All-Area first team a third-straight season.
What Thunstedt and Sigurdson have meant to their teams over the years, so it goes with Justine Lee and Dawson-Boyd. The Blackjacks’ junior guard is a 1,000-point scorer and was the Camden North Conference MVP last year. She’s a three-time all-conference selection and the Blackjacks are 56-19 overall and they are 37-11 in the conference during those years.
Willmar’s Courtney Magnuson, one of the more athletic guards in the Central Lakes Conference, moved up to the first team as a junior after averaging almost 13 points and 5 rebounds for a Cardinals team that won nine conference games and placed fourth behind teams that were a combined 41-6 in the CLC.
Montevideo’s Ashley Hoehne cracked the All-Area first team as a senior for a Thunder Hawks team that finished 18-6 overall and posted an impressive 14-2 record in the West Central North Conference, a game back of Section 6AA runner-up Sauk Centre. Hoehne surpassed 1,000 career points and ends her prep career as the T-Hawks’ fifth all-time leading scorer.
The best ever in West Central Minnesota, which is saying something coming from the Wildcats’ superb program. She averaged 26.6 points per game while also averaging 5.5 assists, 4.4 steals and 3.8 rebounds per game. Her 427 3-pointers are a school record, as are her 2,766 career points and 478 steals. She also is third all-time at NLS with 512 assists. The Wildcats were 92-23 in her four years as a regular. This is her fourth All-Area first-team selection.
There’s not much Sigurdson couldn’t do — and didn’t accomplish — on the court. She is the Warriors’ all-time leading scorer with 2,093 points and she is just one of four Tribune-area players to top 2,000 points. She holds the single-game school record for points (45), 3-pointers made (6) and free throws made (11). Sigurdson averaged 28 points per game this season, along with 4.2 rebounds, 4.1 steals and 3.7 assists. She’s a three-time All-Area first-teamer, a two-time West Central Conference MVP and three-time all-conference pick. “Carly had an unbelievable career at BOLD,” said head coach Brian Kingery. “She has an unique ability to slither through traffic and finish. She is a pure scorer. She can beat you on the drive and hit shots from deep. On the defensive end, Carly has a knack for the ball, which leads to many buckets.”
Magnuson averaged 12.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.1 steals this season to earn All-Central Lakes Conference and team MVP honors. “Courtney is such an explosive player,” said head coach Dustin Carlson. “Most teams knew very well coming into a game that she can take anyone off the dribble and she finishes strong around the basket. As the year went on, she showed her ability to shoot from the outside is equally impressive.”
Hoehne earned the West Central Conference’s MVP award with her solid play this season. Hoehne averaged 15.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2 steals per game while shooting 50 percent from the field. Hoehne surpassed 1,000 career points and is the fifth-leading career scorer in Montevideo history. “Ashley is an outstanding basketball player,” said Thunder Hawks head coach DeDe Epema. “She has an excellent shot and has nice post moves. She runs the floor well.”
Lee was a superb all-around player, leading the 19-5 Blackjacks averaging 21.6 points, almost 5 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 4.6 steals per game. Lee surpassed 1,000 career points as a junior and was named to the All-Camden Conference team for a third straight year. She was the Camden Conference’s North MVP last year. “Obviously, she is a great scorer of the basketball not only from the perimeter, but she has the ability to get to the basket and finish,” said head coach Doug Wold.
Lac qui Parle Valley
Connor was the Eagles’ most improved player, finishing the season averaging 14.4 points, 8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. Those numbers upped her career stats to 10 points and 6 rebounds per game. Connor was named to the All-Camden Conference team. “Kaitlin is a true gym rat who doesn’t believe in an off season,” said head coach Ryan Giles.
Fosso averaged 10.6 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. Those numbers and her defensive skills earned her a spot on the All-Central Lakes Conference team. “Kalley is such an impact player,” said head coach Dustin Carlson. “She defends tough post players or top shooters from the outside. On offense, she provided stability with the ball and a deadly outside shot. Her strength allowed her to rebound with taller girls competing against her every game.”
Lac qui Parle Valley
A two-time all-conference selection, Freetly averaged almost 13 points, 7.3 rebounds, almost 4 assists and 2.5 steals per game. “Alaysia is a great on-the-ball defender with quick instincts, which generates steals and deflections,” said head coach Ryan Giles. She enters next season with 662 career points, 356 rebounds, 167 assists and 134 steals.
Geister was a strong presence in the lane this season for a Wildcats team than finished 24-6 and earned a spot in the Class AA Minnesota State Girls Basketball Tournament. Geister averaged 7.7 rebounds and 6.9 rebounds as a prime target for passes from guard Taylor Thunstedt or cleaning up on the boards on the offensive and defensive ends.
Holland was a four-year varsity player who averaged 13.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.2 steals per game for the 16-win Tigers. She finished her career with 985 career points and was named the team’s MVP this season. She was an All-West Central Conference selection this year and was a two-time all-conference honorable mention. “She was tough to defend off the drive and rebounded well for a guard,” said Tigers head coach Dale Henrich.
Despite missing 10 games with a broken hand, Kubesh still averaged 13.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.2 steals, 3.2 assists and 1.5 blocks per game. She’s a three-time All-West Central Conference pick and a two-time all-conference honorable mention. Kubesh surpassed 1,000 career points and she owns the BOLD record with four blocks in a game. “Baylie has been a great leader for the Warriors the past three years,” said head coach Brian Kingery. “She is a very versatile player, she can score inside and outside. Baylie is a pass-first player, and can change a game with her jaw dropping passes.”
Kuhlmann complemented Justine Lee well, averaging 14.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.1 steals per game. Kuhlmann’s well-rounded prep performances are evident in her being Section 3A’s Triple A award winner. “Her athleticism would cause some problems for the defense because she was able to take you off the dribble as well,” head coach Doug Wold said. “She really worked hard this year on becoming a great defender, as well.”
Martins averaged 5.5 points, 2.9 rebounds from her point guard position, 3.4 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Martins earned All-Central Lakes Conferene honorable mention and was named the Cardinals’ top defensive player. “Jordan does way more than what stats can provide,” said head coach Dustin Carlson. “She handles the ball against pressure, plays incredible defense tirelessly throughout the game against the opposing team’s best guard, and her willingness to dive on the floor for loose balls is second to none.”
Melsha controlled the paint for the Mustangs, averaging 14.8 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. She scored 370 points this season and finished her career with 803 points, 792 rebounds and 417 blocked shots. Melsha was named All-Tomahawk Conference and team MVP. “Michelle is a very strong post player and gave other teams everything they could handle in the middle,” said head coach James Bertsch.
Norlin averaged 16.4 points and 11.5 rebounds per game as one of the Dragons’ most improved players this season. In 23 games, Norlin had 15 double-doubles. “Hannah is one of the best posts I have coached,” said Dragons head coach Bill Huhner, noting that Norlin scored 30 points and had 20 rebounds against West Central Conference champ Sauk Center. “She’s capable of shooting with both hands around the basket and she has grown tremendously this year as an offensive player”
Phillips helped lead the Lakers into the second round of the Section 6AA-South playoffs. She averaged 12.6 points per game and she also averaged 2.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 2.9 steals this season. She scored in double figures in 17 of 28 games and topped 20 points three times.
Yellow Medicine East
Sand averaged 14.6 points, 11.8 rebounds, 5.1 steals and 2.2 assists per game, and she set the team single-season record for steals (122) and her 282 rebounds were four shy of the school record. She was named team MVP and All-West Central Conference. “She reminded me of Andre Dawson, who won the National League MVP in 1987 for the last-place Chicago Cubs,” said head coach Randy Haakenson. “She couldn’t lead us to a winning season, although we were competitive for most of our games.”
Schaefer averaged 15.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.5 steals this season – she totaled four double-doubles — and became just the second Bulldogs junior to top 1,000 career points. She earned All-West Central Conference honors. “I couldn’t have had a better person to be our captain in my first year as a head coach,” said head coach Ben Moser. “She knows there are no limits if she keeps working on her game.”
Scott was named to the All-Camden Conference team and was CMCS’ co-MVP with Karisa Wubben. Scott was a potent player in the paint, averaging 13.2 points, 12.6 rebounds, almost 3 assists and 2.3 blocks per game. “Lexi was a vital force on our team, especially under the hoop,” said head coach Jessica Wedel. “She scores a lot of points down low but some of her biggest strengths are rebounding and passing.”
Setterberg is a repeat All-Area honorable mention for the Wildcats. A reliable scorer and rebounder, Setterberg averaged 6.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. At 5-foot-11, Setterberg was a tough player to defend when she stepped out to shoot midrange jump shots.
Steege averaged 14.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 3.8 steals per game. Steege was named to the All-Pheasant Conference team a second straight year and was picked as the Owls’ team MVP. “Lexi had a great season,” said Owls’ head coach Darin Zimmerman. “She improved statistically in every category from her freshman year. More importantly, she does many things that do not show up in a box score.”
Standberg plays “all-out the entire game,” said Saints head coach Brady DeBaere. Strandberg averaged 13.1 points, almost 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3.6 steals per game. Strandberg’s efforts earned her a spot on the All-Camden Conference team. “Maddi has the ability, and did, take over games when needed,” DeBaere said.
Swanson does all the little things that don’t show up in a stat line, said coach Kristina Anderson. Swanson averaged almost 8 points per game while averaging 2.8 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game. She was the Jaguars’ defensive stopper, taking on an opponent’s best player each game, Anderson said.
Renville County West
Treml averaged 13 points per game and also totaled 27 assists, 124 rebounds and 79 steals. She was a two-time All-Camden Conference selection and a two-time Jaguars MVP. Treml scored almost 550 points her junior and senior seasons. “Sadie became a very difficult player to guard,” said head coach Dale Negen. “She often was relied upon to provide the majority of the scoring and she could play inside or out depending on the defensive or offensive matchup.”
VanderVoort ran the show for the Mustangs, averaging 9.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game this season. Twice she was chosen as the Mustangs’ top defensive player. She finished her career with 599 points, 119 assists and 139 steals, despite missing six games this season due to injury. “She was able to let younger guards handle the ball more this year and become more of a shooting guard at times for us,” said head coach James Bertsch.
The Jaguars most consistent player led the team averaging 9.8 points per game and she was third averaging 5.4 rebounds.
She ends her career as BBE’s 7th all-time scorer and rebounder with 683 points and 382 boards. She’s the team’s top free throw shooter, hitting 77 percent. Weller was a first team All-Central Minnesota Conference pick.
Wubben averaged 9.8 points, 2.2 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 steals for the 12-9 Bluejays this season. “Karisa is a kid that you never wanted to take off the floor because of how hard she works and her leadership qualities,” said head coach Jessica Wedel. Wubben was named the Bluejays’ co-MVP with Lexi Scott and was named All-Camden Conference two straight years.
Zwart averaged 9.3 points and 2.6 rebounds per game this season. “Abby is a tenacious player,” said Bluejays head coach Jessica Wedel. “She gives 100 percent to everything that she does and isn’t afraid to push everyone around her to be the best that they can be.”