Wagner freshman Ashlyn Koupal highlights Class A girls basketball all-state team
Skill and scoring highlight the 2023 Class A girls basketball all-state first team, which was announced Thursday and was selected by the South Dakota Basketball Coaches Association.
MITCHELL — Skill and scoring highlight the 2023 Class A girls basketball all-state first team, which was selected by the South Dakota Basketball Coaches Association and announced Thursday.
Five of the six players averaged at least 20 points per game and collectively helped their teams win more than 80% of their games. The team includes Hamlin senior forward Kami Wadsworth, St. Thomas More senior forward Reese Ross, Rapid City Christian senior guard Olivia Kieffer, Wagner freshman Ashlyn Koupal, Flandreau junior guard Claire Sheppard and Tea Area junior guard Katie Vasecka.
As a freshman, Koupal is a highlight name on the first team. The 6-foot-2 guard and forward for the Red Raiders averaged 22 points and nearly seven rebounds per game, while shooting 60% from the field and helping to power Wagner to the Class A state championship game. She scored in double-figures in 17 of the final 19 games of the season, including a 36-point effort against Mount Vernon/Plankinton on Jan. 24. Koupal already has a number of scholarship offers from the top Division I programs in the region.
Wadsworth, who was selected by the coaches as the Class A player of the year, was picked to the honor list for the third time, including the second consecutive season on the first team. She helped lead the Chargers to finish as the state’s lone undefeated girls basketball team, wrapping with a 25-0 season and the Class A title. Wadsworth scored 22 points and pulled down 6.3 rebounds per game and will play basketball and throw track and field at the University of Sioux Falls.
Ross scored 22.1 points per game and had eight rebounds per contest for the Cavaliers, who reached the SoDak 16 in 2023. Ross, who is a first-team pick for the second consecutive season, will play at the University of Utah next season.
Kieffer, a 5-foot-10 guard, finished the season with 25.9 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, plus 3.1 assists and four steals. She shot 47% from the field and 75% from the free-throw line for the season helping Rapid City Christian reach the Class A state tournament, the Comets’ first state appearance since 1996. Kieffer will attend the University of South Dakota to play college basketball. She finishes her career with 2,488 points, which was powered by 666 points in 2022-23, with 22 games of at least 20 points and nine games of at least 30 points, including 39 points against Hill City on Jan. 19.
Sheppard, a 6-foot-2 junior guard, sent the Fliers to the Class A state tournament with an upset win over St. Thomas More, leading to a sixth-place finish in Watertown. Sheppard went over 1,000 career points earlier this season and finished with 16.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.
Vasecka, a 6-foot-1 junior guard, scored 20.1 points and snared nearly eight rebounds per game in leading Tea Area to the SoDak 16, which included an upset of overall No. 2 seed Vermillion in the Region 4A tournament, in which Vasecka had 30 points. Both Sheppard and Vasecka are South Dakota State commits for the class of 2024 and were honored with all-state recognition for the third year in a row, with Vasecka on the first team all three years.
The second team is highlighted by Wagner senior forward Emma Yost and Mount Vernon/Plankinton junior guard Emilee Fox. Yost, a 5-foot-11 senior forward, was a major reason why Wagner was able to reach the state championship game, posting 15 points, 10.4 rebounds and nearly four assists per game. She intends to play basketball at Dakota Wesleyan.
Fox, a 5-foot-8 guard, averaged 14.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game for the Titans. It is the fourth consecutive season with all-state recognition for Fox, who is committed to South Dakota State.
In addition to Fox and Yost, the rest of the all-state second team includes Sioux Falls Christian senior forward Ellie Lems, Florence/Henry junior forward/center Caylin Kelly, Vermillion sophomore guard Brooke Jensen and Tea Area junior guard Mara Grant.
The third team featured Sisseton sophomore center Krista Langager, Red Cloud freshman Ashlan Carlow-Blount, Sioux Valley senior guard Landree Wilson, Hamlin freshman Addie Neuendorf, Custer senior guard Allyson Cass and Todd County sophomore guard/forward Julise Shaw.