Mitchell's Young, Miller named to Class AA all-state first teamMITCHELL — Led by junior Kerri Young and sophomore Macy Miller, the Mitchell girls’ basketball team won 24 of 25 games en route to the Class AA state championship this season.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
MITCHELL — Led by junior Kerri Young and sophomore Macy Miller, the Mitchell girls’ basketball team won 24 of 25 games en route to the Class AA state championship this season.
Young and Miller were both named to the Class AA girls’ all-state first-team, announced Friday by the South Dakota Sportswriters Association.
The list is selected by the state's sportswriters and the South Dakota Coaches’ Association.
“Having Kerri and Macy together, and you're talking about two kids that play at a really high level,” said Mitchell coach Wes Morgan, who led the school to its first girls’ basketball title since 2003. “They wanted to come out and compete every night.”
Young — who was named the co-Class AA player of the year with Brandon Valley senior Heidi Hoff — landed first-team all-state honors for the second straight year. It's her third time making the all-state list.
Other players to make the first team were Hoff, Watertown's Tia Hemiller, Rapid City Stevens’ Margaret McCloud and Sioux Falls O'Gorman's Chandler Nielsen.
Miller, a 5-11 guard, and Young, a 6-foot forward, were the only teammates to get first-team nods.
The Kernels opened the season on a five-game win streak while Miller was sidelined from recovering from a knee injury she suffered during a summer basketball camp. Mitchell's lone loss was to Sioux Falls Lincoln, the game Miller finally returned to the court.
After the loss, the Kernels regrouped and won 19 straight games, including a 56-54 win over Sioux Falls Washington in the state championship. Miller and Young were named to the all-tournament team.
Miller averaged 15 points and 4.4 rebounds per game in her sophomore season.
“I thought Macy, when she finally got back, it changed everything at the guard position for us,” Morgan said. “She was not only another threat for us offensively, but it moved us to a better defensive team, because it made us quicker in the front court.”
Young, who is verbally committed to South Dakota State University, averaged 19 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game. She scored her 1,000th career point in Mitchell's sixth game of the year.
“She's just very consistent in what she does,” Morgan said. “She's going to get her teammates better, and she leads by example.”
The other four players who earned first-team honors will be playing collegiate basketball next year.
Hemiller, McCloud and Hoff are headed to the University of South Dakota, while Nielsen is headed to Au-gustana.
Hoff, a 5-foot-11 guard who was on the first-team all-state list last year, was named the state's Gatorade Player of the Year earlier this month.
She averaged 21 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.1 assists in helping the Lynx return to the state tournament one year after winning the Class AA title. This season, Brandon Valley was led to the state tournament by Hoff, who also was an all-tournament team selection and was given the Spirit of Su award.
“She's done it all for us,” Brandon Valley coach Mark Stadem said. “She's been a great leader and one of our hardest workers. She just was a very versatile player for us, and she could take over a game in multiple ways in either her scoring or her passing.”
McCloud, a 6-2 post, helped her team to a seventh-place finish at the state tournament, earning all-tournament team honors. She averaged 16.5 points and 14.5 rebounds per game and was picked for the all-state first-team for the second consecutive year.
“We've had to get real inventive the last couple of years just to get her the ball because everybody is so focused on her,” Rapid City Stevens coach Donovan DeBoer said. “Her ability to use two hands and go both directions is unmatched in the state. She is legit ambidextrous, where she doesn't have a dominant hand.”
Hemiller, a 5-7 guard, finished her career at Watertown as the third-leading scorer in school history with 1,143 points. She averaged 18.1 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals per game and is a repeat first-team all-state selection.
Watertown coach Pat McClemans said Hemiller started as a freshman during the Arrows’ state championship team in 2009 and her role on the team has increased each year.
“She has steadily had to do a lot of things for us the past three years,” McClemans said. “For her size, she's one of the better rebounders that I've ever coached. Athletically, she's very quick and she jumps very well. She caused a lot of problems with her athleticism, whether it was on the offensive or defensive end.”
Nielsen is another 5-foot-7 guard who made the first-team all-state list last year. She helped the Knights take sixth place at state and was an all-tournament team selection.
She finished her high school career with 1,039 points, second best in school history. As a senior, she aver-aged 15.9 points, 3 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game.
“Chandler had a tremendous career at O'Gorman,” Knights coach Kent Kolsrud said. “She wanted the ball in her hands when the game was on the line. She was a tremendous competitor who did not like to lose.”
The members of the second team were Chloe Cornemann, Yankton; Sarah Zirpel, Sioux Falls Washing-ton; Darby Hugunin and Cera Ledbetter, Sioux Falls Lincoln; Sami Knecht, Aberdeen; and Sydney Rone, Sioux Falls Roosevelt.