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Bultsma, Koepsell, Cox lead Class A girls all-state picks

Three area Class A girls basketball standouts were selected as first-team all-state players by the South Dakota Basketball Coaches Association for their efforts during the 2015-16 season.

Three area Class A girls basketball standouts were selected as first-team all-state players by the South Dakota Basketball Coaches Association for their efforts during the 2015-16 season.

Megan Bultsma of Mount Vernon/Plankinton, Morgan Koepsell of McCook Central/Montrose and Allison Cox of Winner led the first team. The group also includes Ciara Duffy of St. Thomas More, McKenzie Mennenga of Elk Point-Jefferson and Haley Rithmiller of Webster Area.

Bultsma, Duffy and Mennenga were repeat first-team selections.

Bultsma, a 6-foot-3 senior, led the Titans to a 19-1 regular season before they were knocked off by West Central in the Region 5A title game. She averaged 17 points a game, shooting a blistering 73 percent from the field.

"Megan is a great leader and teammate who has been a dominant player defensively for a couple years, but this season she took a big step forward offensively," MVP head coach Bill Marquardt said. "Every opponent based their defensive scheme on stopping her, and Meg saw double and triple teams nightly. She didn't force things and shot an amazing 73 percent from the field and improved to 65 percent from the foul line."

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Just a sophomore, the 6-foot-1 Koepsell had a big year, scoring 21.4 points a game, shooting 57 percent from the field. She helped lead the Fighting Cougars to an 18-4 record, as they too were defeated by West Central in the Region 5 tournament.

"Morgan has worked very hard to become the basketball player that she is, and it is great for her to be recognized with other great players from around the state on the All-State team," MCM head coach Doug Durfee said.

Cox led the Warriors to upsets of West Central and Webster Area in the state tournament before they fell to St. Thomas More in the title game.

The 5-foot-8 senior guard was a consistent all-around player who averaged 15.8 points per game, shooting 46 percent from the field.

"Allison is a very well-rounded and versatile player. She is able to play all five positions on the floor, whether it be playing point guard to break the press or taking advantage of mismatches in the post," Winner head coach Larry Aaker said. "One of her strongest qualities is rebounding on both ends of the floor."

Duffy knows a little about being an all-state player and a lot about winning. A selection to the Class A all-state soccer team, the St. Thomas More senior was named to her second straight girls basketball first-team all-state squad after leading the Cavaliers to their third-straight state title and fourth in the last five years.

"She was able to grow up in the program with a lot of great players around her," STM head coach Brandon Kandolin said. "Certainly with the family background and siblings who have achieved that level, she understood how hard it was to get there and the work that it takes to get there. Her senior year was no exception. She was a great leader and a great role model."

Duffy will join Caitlin at the University of South Dakota next season. In a program that seems to always feature one or two Division I players, Duffy led the way again this season in most offensive categories: scoring at 19.1 points a game, rebounding at 6.3, and steals at 2.7 per contest. She shot 49 percent from the field, hitting 49 3-pointers.

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St. Thomas More downed Winner 49-32 earlier in the month to cap a 23-2 season. In Duffy's four years, the Cavaliers were 91-7.

Mennenga, a 5-foot-8 senior guard, averaged 18.2 points a game as Elk Point-Jefferson returned to the state tournament, where the Huskies finished in fifth place. She shot 39 percent from the field and hit 55 3-pointers for the season.

Elk Point-Jefferson head coach Gary Nebelsick said that Mennenga was one of the best basketball players he has had the opportunity to coach.

"The most impressive thing to me is how hard she has worked the past two years to become a complete player," Nebelsick said. "She has always been a great shooter, but she worked hard to become a very good defender, and to also make the players around her better, which made us a very good team."

Rithmiller, a 5-foot-10 junior forward, was a strong all-around player and excelled offensively, leading the Bearcats in scoring at 23 points a game. Webster Area was one the state's top teams throughout the season, finishing fourth at the state tournament.

Webster Area head coach Jared Vergeldt said he has never coached a player with a more competitive spirit.

"She hates to lose. She wants to compete at everything she does," Vergeldt said. "Her overall athleticism is what propels her. She has such incredible reaction time. She is off the floor before others even load up. She is fast and strong. Haley deserves credit for her scoring prowess, but she doesn't get enough credit for her defense. She can be a lockdown defender at anytime."

On the second team, Wagner's Ali Kuca and Mount Vernon/Plankinton's Makaela Karst each were selections to the squad. Kuca, who will play collegiately at Mount Marty, averaged 18.6 points per game, pulled down nine rebounds per contest and churned out five assists a game for the Red Raiders. Karst will play college basketball at Dakota Wesleyan and finished her senior season averaging 11 points per game, shooting 51 percent on field goal attempts and grabbing five rebounds per contest.

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Class A All-State Girls Basketball Team

Selected by S.D. Basketball Coaches Association

FIRST TEAM

Ciara Duffy, St. Thomas More, 6-1, Sr., forward

Megan Bultsma, Mount Vernon/Plankinton, 6-3, Sr., center

Morgan Koepsell, McCook Central/Montrose, 6-1, Soph., forward/center

McKenzie Mennenga, Elk Point-Jefferson, 5-8, Sr., guard

Haley Rithmiller, Webster Area, 5-10, Jr., forward

Allison Cox, Winner, 5-8, Sr., guard

SECOND TEAM

Kaylee Granum, Sioux Valley, 5-6, Sr., guard

Shaylene Richard, Pine Ridge, 5-5, Sr., guard

Ali Kuca, Wagner, 5-9, Sr., guard/forward

Mikaela Stofferahn, Dell Rapids, 5-10, Sr., forward

Lexi Wadsworth, Hamlin, 5-10, Soph., forward

Makaela Karst, Mount Vernon/Plankinton, 6-0, Sr., forward

THIRD TEAM

Dru Gylten, St. Thomas More, 5-10, Jr., guard

Janae Kolden, Clark-Willow Lake, 5-9, Frosh., guard

Molly Koisti, Hamlin, 5-8, Sr., guard

Karlee McKinney, Tea Area, 5-7, Jr., guard

McKenzie Stone, West Central, 5-9, Sr., guard

Stevie Lone Dog, Todd County, 6-0, Sr., center

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