Class A girls' basketball all-state team: Malloy, Brecke get first-team selectionsTwo years after a back injury forced her to miss her entire sophomore season, Caitlin Duffy stormed back to become one of the state’s most prolific players.
By: JEREMY HOECK, Yankton Press & Dakotan
Two years after a back injury forced her to miss her entire sophomore season, Caitlin Duffy stormed back to become one of the state’s most prolific players.
Not only did she develop into a Division I recruit, the senior helped St. Thomas More to its first girls’ state basketball championship this season.
For those efforts, Duffy has been named to the Class A girls’ all-state first team, released today by the South Dakota Sportswriters Association.
Joining Duffy on the first team are Parkston senior Marie Malloy, Elkton-Lake Benton senior Cassidy Gebhart, Wagner senior Devon Brecke and Clark-Willow Lake junior Chynna Stevens.
A Colorado State University recruit, Duffy averaged 19.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.3 steals per game as a senior — saving some of her best performances for the State Class A Tournament in Spearfish.
“She has an amazing desire to play the game and always get better,” coach Brandon Kandolin said. “She put in a tremendous amount of time to get where she’s at.”
Though she eventually became a hot commodity on the college recruiting scene, Duffy was always quick to point out her real ambition, which was helping the Cavaliers to their first girls’ state basketball championship.
“Last summer, when she was on the AAU tour, that’s when all of a sudden she started getting calls from schools,” Kandolin said. “She was excited about it, but she was always telling me that her number one goal was winning state.”
Guided by Malloy, the Parkston Trojans came up short of that same goal — losing in the final to St. Thomas More.
Malloy, a University of Sioux Falls recruit, averaged 22.6 points, 5 assists and 4 steals per game. Yet, one of her most surprising numbers is averaging nine rebounds a game — all that for a 5-foot-6 guard.
“You’re never going to find a harder worker then Marie,” coach Rob Van Laecken said. “What she gives you the first minute of the game, you’ll get the last minute. Nothing changes. She’s going 110 percent the entire time.”
Malloy, an all-state player for the third straight year (she was first team as a sophomore), was a starter for the Trojans since her eighth grade year. Since that first action, she utilized her speed, Van Laecken said.
“I’ve been doing this a long time, and she’s by far the quickest guard I’ve ever coached,” he said. “When she has the ball in her hands, not many people can stop her.”
The Spirt of Su winner, Malloy suffered a knee injury in the first minute of the state championship. Sure, it was devastating, but Van Laecken said she immediately became the team’s most vocal cheerleader.
“You just can’t say enough about her,” he said.
A speedy guard known for consistently blowing past opposing teams, Gebhart averaged 16.2 points and 4.2 assists per game. For good measure, she recorded 122 total steals in leading the Lady Elks to third place at the state tournament.
“When we moved her off the point guard spot and into the (off guard), it gave her more opportunities to do what she does best,” coach Steve Krause said. “It really made a big difference for her; it just fit her game better.”
Even at 5-foot-5, Gebhart didn’t let that size disparity stop her, Krause said. Factors like that should help Gebhart at the next level — she will play at the University of Sioux Falls.
“She’s not afraid to go down and post up sometimes,” Krause said. “Her size really didn’t impact what she does; she was as aggressive as anyone out there.”
Brecke, headed to Northern State in the fall, averaged 24.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists to become the school’s second all-time leading scorer. Her free-throw percentage of 81.8 was also first among the all-state selections.
“She’s probably one of the most versatile players in the state. She can play any of the five spots,” coach Michael Koupal said. “People wanted to put a smaller girl on her, and she’d post them up, and she could take a post off the dribble.
“I’d have to think it was pretty hard to defend her.”
Wagner, unbeaten through the regular season, was upset by Parkston in the district final, on a 3-pointer at the buzzer. As Koupal said, one of the most disappointed was Brecke.
“She’s a great competitor, so naturally, she wasn’t too happy with that finish,” Koupal said. “We never looked ahead all season, but that’s why they play the games.”
Stevens, the only non-senior among the first-team selections, averaged 18.1 points and 9.2 rebounds for the Cyclones — who finished seventh at state.
“She’s very important to what we do, but she draws so much attention that it opens up other girls for us,” coach Wade Stobbs said. “She did all the little things to help us.”
Clark-Willow Lake will graduate only one senior, so next year could be an even more productive year for Stevens, her coach said.
“If we can get her to be more consistent, watch out,” Stobbs said. “There were a few games where she just literally took over, so you know the potential’s there.”
Duffy and Brecke are repeat first-team selections from a year ago, while Malloy, Gebhart and Stevens all vaulted from third-team honors in 2011.
Named to the all-state second team are seniors Alison Klostergaard (Beresford), Alexis Watts (Miller) and Jordyn Kirk (Sisseton), as well as juniors Morgan Forsch (Baltic) and Jolonna Sazue (Crow Creek).
Members of the third team include seniors Raquel Sutera (Bon Homme), Lane Halligan (Todd County) and Kelly Amundson (Vermillion). Tri-Valley junior Allison Cross was honored as was Elk Point-Jefferson sophomore Keely Bertram.
S.D. Class A Girls All-State
Caitlin Duffy, St. Thomas More, 5-10, Sr. (19.5 points per game, 6.8 rebounds per game, 3.8 assists per game)
Devon Brecke, Wagner, 5-9, Sr. (24.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.9 apg)
Marie Malloy, Parkston, 5-6, Sr. (22.6 ppg, 9 rpg, 5 apg
Cassidy Gebhart, Elkton-Lake Benton, 5-5, Sr. (16.2 ppg, 4.2 apg, 122 total steals)
Chynna Stevens, Clark-Willow Lake, 6-0, Jr. (18.1 ppg, 9.2 rpg)
Alison Klostergaard, Beresford, 6-0, Sr. (15.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.4 apg)
Morgan Forsch, Baltic, 5-9, Jr. (20.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 4.4 steals per game
Alexis Watts, Miller, 6-0, Sr. (13.7 ppg, 9 rpg)
Jordyn Kirk, Sisseton, 5-9, Sr. (15.5 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 3.1 spg)
Jolonna Sazue, Crow Creek, 5-6, Jr. (25.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 4.7 apg)
Raquel Sutera, Bon Homme, 5-11, Sr. (18 ppg, 10 rpg, 3.5 apg)
Allison Cross, Tri-Valley, 6-1, Jr. (12.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg)
Keely Bertram, Elk Point-Jefferson, 5-9, So. (18.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg)
Lane Halligan, Todd County, 5-7, Sr. (20.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 5.5 spg)
Kelly Amundson, Vermillion, 5-10, Sr. (15 ppg, 8 rpg)