Wagner's Brecke named first-team all-state in Class AWATERTOWN — Defense was again the driving force in Sisseton’s fourth state Class A girls’ basketball championship since 2000, but the Redmen still needed someone to provide the offense.
By: By Roger Merriam, Watertown Public Opinion, The Daily Republic
WATERTOWN — Defense was again the driving force in Sisseton’s fourth state Class A girls’ basketball championship since 2000, but the Redmen still needed someone to provide the offense.
Much of the team’s offensive spark came from 5-foot-10-inch senior post player Amber Huntington, who spearheads the 2010-11 Class A all-state girls’ basketball team — selected by the South Dakota High School Basketball Coaches Association and the South Dakota Sportswriters Association.
Huntington is joined on the first team by Caitlin Duffy of St. Thomas More, Jaicee Ulmer of Canton, Devon Brecke of Wagner and Lexy Hofer of West Central. Huntington and Ulmer were each second-team selections a year ago and Hofer moved up from the third team.
Other area players to be honored were Winner’s Sharee Galbraith and Parkston’s Marie Malloy, who each were named to the third team.
“Amber was the player who usually got the team started offensively in big games and also was the player we looked to when a basket was needed,” Sisseton head coach Cal Schubert said.
Huntington averaged 14.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game for the 24-2 Redmen. She shot 50 percent from the floor. The three-year starter finished her career with 1,140 points and 510 rebounds.
“She had the ability to play both inside and outside,” Schubert said. “She started at the post the last two years and this year she started on the wing.”
Brecke, a 5-9 junior guard, is the second underclassmen on the first team. She was a second-team honoree as a sophomore.
The three-year starter sparked Wagner to a 16-4 season by tallying 20.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game this season. She shot 64 percent from the field.
“Devon is a very unselfish player who wanted what was best for the team,” said Wagner head coach Mike Koupal. “She not only could score, but also did a great job of distributing the basketball and is a great defender. She pretty much does it all.”
Versatile is also a good term to describe Duffy, a 5-10 junior forward who led St. Thomas More to an unbeaten regular season. The Cavaliers saw their perfect season end with a 46-45 overtime loss to Sisseton in the semifinals of the state tournament and finished fourth.
Duffy missed her sophomore season with a fracture in her back, but returned with a vengeance this winter — averaging 18.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 3.7 steals per game.
Duffy was also very accurate, shooting 56 percent from the field, 55 percent from 3-point range and 82.5 percent from the free-throw line.
“Caitlin is an incredibly skilled player who can handle the ball and get to the hole as well as shoot from the outside,” St. Thomas More head coach Brandon Kandolin said. “She is a natural leader who is committed to improving herself and helping her teammates.”
Duffy, who began starting for the Cavaliers as an eighth grader, is already the school’s career scoring leader with 987 points.
The same title in Canton is held by the 5-8 Ulmer, who finished her career with 1,846 points. A five-year starter and six-year member of the varsity squad, Ulmer also is tied for the most rebounds (613) and leads in assists (420) and steals (494) on her school’s career charts.
This winter, the University of Sioux Falls recruit produced 21.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, four assists and five steals per game for the 11-11 C-Hawks.
“Jaicee was a vital aspect to our girls program for many years and has shown the younger girls that hard work and determination help you become what she is leaving here as — a great basketball player,” said Canton head coach Andrew Steffensen.
Hofer also has been a key player for her squad the past few seasons.
Hofer, a 5-9 guard-forward, also wrapped up her high school career this winter. A three-year starter, she finished with 1,083 points, 408 rebounds and 125 3-pointers for the Trojans.
The Dakota Wesleyan University recruit notched 21.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game this winter for West Central, which compiled a 13-8 record.
“Lexy is an explosive player with a great combination of speed and strength. She is a great 3-point shooter from the perimeter and can also take the ball to the rim and finish,” said West Central head coach Joe Caffrey. “She was a great leader whose hard work and ability also made her our best all-around defender.”
Ten other players were named to the second and third teams including two players from Clark-Willow Lake, which finished third in the state Class A tournament.
The Cyclones’ senior guard Ashley Gruenwald is on the second team along with seniors Erin Rabenberg of Mobridge-Pollock, Alison Klostergaard of Beresford and Christa Paul of Madison and sophomore Jolonna Sazue of Crow Creek. Sazue was a second-team selection and Gruenwald a third-team selection last winter.
Sophomore Chynna Stevens of Clark-Willow Lake made the third team along with seniors Lindsey Johnson of Harrisburg and Galbraith and juniors Cassidy Gebhart of Elkton-Lake Benton and Malloy. Malloy made the first team as a sophomore.
Class A all-state girls’ basketball team
Selected by the S.D. Basketball Coaches Association and the S.D. Sportswriters Association
Amber Huntington, Sisseton, 5-10 senior post (14.7 points per game, 4.5 rebounds per game)
Caitlin Duffy, St. Thomas More, 5-10 junior forward (18.9 ppg., 5.8 rpg.)
Jaicee Ulmer, Canton, 5-8 senior guard (21.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg., 4 assists per game, 5 steals per game)
Devon Brecke, Wagner, 5-9 junior guard (20.1 ppg., 5.2 rpg., 4.3 apg.)
Lexy Hofer, West Central, 5-9 senior guard-forward (21.4 ppg., 4.5 rpg.)
Ashley Gruenwald, Clark-Willow Lake, 5-6 senior guard (14.9 ppg, 4.7 apg.)
Jolonna Sazue, Crow Creek, 5-6 sophomore guard (24.8 ppg., 4.0 rpg., 3.6 apg., 4.0 spg.)
Erin Rabenberg, Mobridge-Pollock, 5-8 senior guard (17.5 ppg., 3.8 rpg., 2.6 apg., 3.0 spg.)
Alison Klostergaard, Beresford, 6-0 senior post (15.6 ppg., 5.3 rpg., 2.7 apg., 3.7 spg.)
Christa Paul, Madison, 6-4 senior center (15.9 ppg., 10.3 rpg., 52 blocked shots)
Lindsey Johnson, Harrisburg, 6-2 senior forward (14.0 ppg., 6.4 rpg.)
Cassidy Gebhart, Elkton-Lake Benton, 5-5 junior guard (16.2 ppg., 4.2 apg., 5.8 spg.)
Marie Malloy, Parkston, 5-6 junior guard (15 ppg., 7.0 rpg., 4.3 apg., 4.5 spg.)
Chynna Stevens, Clark-Willow Lake, 5-10 sophomore forward (13.6 ppg., 11.6 rpg.)
Sharee Galbraith, Winner, 6-1 senior forward (17.3 ppg., 11 rpg., 44 blocks).