By Scott Thoma, West Central Tribune
Bree Holleman of Hancock, who became the area's all-time girls basketball scoring leader this season, earned her third straight All-Area first team selection.
Willmar had three players chosen; Hannah Smith and Alex Lippert to the first team and Jena Thompson to the third team. The Cardinals, the only Class AAA team in the area, earned a berth in the state tournament and finished 23-5.
MACCRAY and New London-Spicer each had two players selected. The Wolverines landed Jenna Tebben on the second team and Alicia Koenen on the third team. Justine Dammermann and Karli Wendlandt of the Wildcats were both third-team picks.
Joining Holleman, Smith and Lippert on the first team is: Karlee Ilgen of Buffalo Lake-Hector and Micaela Erickson of Lac qui Parle Valley.
Named to the second team are: Tebben, Miranda Hopp of Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, Abby Fragodt of Benson, Kristen Lee of Dawson-Boyd and Beka Schwendemann of Montevideo.
Jessica Fischer of Redwood Valley joins Thompson, Dammermann, Wendlandt and Koenen on the third team.
The area consists of 21 school districts. The All-Area team is selected by the sports editor after consulting with area coaches and several area players, all who are asked to name their top opposing players from the area.
Smith, Erickson, Fragodt, Wendlandt and Dammermann were all selected for the second straight year. Fragodt was on the first team last year. Dammermann and Erickson were on the second team last year. Smith and Wendlandt were third-team choices a year ago.
Ilgen is only the second player from Buffalo Lake-Hector chosen to the All-Area first team in the 23 years since the program paired. She helped the Mustangs to their best-finish ever with 26 wins (15 was the previous high) and their first state tournament appearance.
Lac qui Parle Valley
5-10 senior guard
Erickson was so well regarded by opposing coaches that she was named the West Central South Conference Most Valuable Player despite the Eagles finishing fifth in the conference with an 8-8 record. But Erickson led the team into the Section 3AA championship before the Eagles succumbed to Pipestone. For the season, Erickson averaged 19.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 3.1 steals per game. She also was among the area leaders in three-pointers with 48, while shooting a robust 37 percent from beyond the arc. She finished her career with a school-record 1,601 points (14th all-time in the area) to go along with 829 rebounds, 282 assists and 278 steals.
5-9 senior guard
Holleman finished her five-year career as the area's all-time girls scoring leader with 2,305 points, including a school-record 305 three-pointers. She led the area in scoring for the second straight year with a 20.9 average. And she also led the area this season with 75 three-pointers (also a school record) for the Owls (22-4). Scoring wasn't the only thing Holleman was proficient at. The Miss Basketball nominee also averaged 5.4 assists this season and holds the school record with 639 career assists. And she chipped in with 4.2 rebounds and 2.8 steals this season.
5-10 junior forward
Ilgen was a major factor to the Mustangs' breakout season. Often double-teamed, the powerful and versatile forward averaged 15.7 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.4 blocks per game this season. She helped BLH win a school-record 26 games (15 was the previous mark) and reach the Class A state tournament before losing to eventual state runner-up Goodhue in the quarterfinals. Ilgen shot 43.1 percent from the field and 73 percent from the free-throw line. For her career, the four-year starter scor-ed 1,374 points and had 705 rebounds.
6-4 senior post
Utilizing her height and athleticism, Lippert held a block party at almost every game this season for the Cardinals. She had 11 blocks in the section championship and finished the season with 125 blocks in 28 games (4.5 per game). She also tied Smith for the Cardinals' lead in scoring this season with a 12.9 average and led in rebounds with 8.6 per game, helping the Cardinals reach the Class AAA state tournament before bowing to eventual state champion Benilde-St. Margaret's. Lippert shot 55 percent from the field and averaged 3.1 assists per game. For her career, the two-year starter scored 586 points and blocked 205 shots.
5-7 senior forward
Smith, also a first team All-Area volleyball selection, saved some of her best basketball games of the season for the playoffs, helping Willmar finish second in the Central Lakes Conference, win the Section 2AAA champion-ship and advance to the state tournament. For the season, Smith averaged 12.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.5 steals as the Cardinals finished 23-5. She also connected on 37 three-pointers and was one of the top free-throw shooters in the area at 80 percent. She wrapped up her career with 713 points.
5-11 senior post
Fragodt is just the third girls basketball player ever in the area to record 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds, finishing with 1,498 points and 1,325 rebounds. A four-year starter, Fragodt led the Braves in nearly every offensive and defensive category this season. She averaged a double-double for the second straight year with 12.9 points and 11.3 rebounds. And she also averaged 3.3 assists, 2.4 steals and 1.9 blocks per game, all team highs. She also shot 47 percent from the field and 70 percent from the line as Benson went 21-7.
5-11 senior post
Hopp was a standout all season for the Falcons, who won the West Central South Conference title and finished the season 20-4. ACGC also defeated Sauk Centre in the West Central championship game. A four-year starter, Hopp averaged 12.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game this season. She shot 47 percent from the floor. Also an excellent defensive player, Hopp made 2.8 steals per game and often shut down opposing players. She finished with 735 career points.
5-11 senior forward
Lee became just the fourth Dawson-Boyd girl to amass 1,000-or-more points in a career this season, finishing a stellar three-year career with 1,152 points. Besides averaging 12.7 points-per-game this season, Lee contributed 5.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.0 steals per game as the Blackjacks finished 13-11. Lee was fourth in the area with 50 three-pointers and was outstanding at the free-throw line, cashing 85 percent of her attempts. She made 159 three-pointers in her career.
6-0 senior forward
Schwendemann started for the Thunder Hawks for four years and is one of the more versatile players in the area, starting out as a post her freshman year and also seeing time at point guard the past two seasons because of her ability to drive and her ability to hit from the outside. She averaged 12.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.6 steals this season despite being double-teamed on many nights. She shot 42.1 percent from the field and often defended the opposing team's top player. She finished her career with 1,125 points.
5-11 senior post
Tebben was named the Most Valuable Player in the Camden North Conference, helping the Wolverines capture the crown with a 13-2 record. Tebben's strong post moves and ability to box out often helped her win the battles underneath. She averaged 11.2 points per game this season as the Wolverines posted a 22-5 record, including six wins over schools a class above them. Tebben, who was also named to the Tribune All-Area volleyball team, chipped in 6.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.1 steals. She ended her career with 803 points.
5-7 senior guard
Dammermann started three seasons for the Wildcats and finished her career with 864 points. She was the area leader in three-pointers last season and teams respected her outside shooting ability more this season, defending her on the perimeter more this season, though she still was able to make 49 treys. Dammermann also was one of the area leaders in assists, finishing with 147 (5.2 per game) and also averaged 2.0 steals per game. And she shot 79.4 percent from the free-throw line. She also earned All-Area honors in volleyball.
5-5 junior guard
Fischer becomes All-Area in her third sport after being named in softball last spring and in volleyball this past fall. Quick and elusive, opposing players had difficulty guarding her or driving past her. She led the Cardinals this season in scoring with a 14.2 average and, despite being only 5-foot-5, also led the team in rebounding with 104. She made 31 three-pointers and averaged a team-best 4.3 assists, while also leading the squad with 51 steals. She currently has 726 career points and 310 career assists.
5-8 senior guard
Koenen has been one of the area's top outside shooters, having been among the three-point leaders each of her three years as a starter. She had a streak of 40 straight games with at least one three-pointer in her career and finished this year with 48, while shooting 33 percent behind the arc. She averaged 11.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.4 steals this season as MACCRAY went 22-5 and won the Camden North conference title. Koenen shot 76 percent at the free-throw line for the Wolverines. She had 675 points in her career.
6-0 senior forward
A three-year starter, Thompson was a consistent contributor to the Cardinals' successful state-qualifying team this season. A stellar passer, Thompson paced the Cardinals with 116 assists (4.1 per game). Utilizing her strength and aggressiveness, Thompson also averaged 10.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game this season as the Cardinals finished with a 25-3 record. She also made 53 percent of her shots. Thompson finished her career with 865 points.
5-10 senior forward
Wendlandt just missed getting 1,000 points in her career, finishing with 950. The three-year starter helped the Wildcats tie for the West Central North Conference title and finish with a 25-3 overall record. Wendlandt averaged 9.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game and shot an impressive 47 percent from the field, while also making 67 percent of her free throws. Wendlandt also chipped in 2.1 steals and 1.6 assists per game this season. She also earned All-Area honors in volleyball.