MBC champion Somerset place four on girls basketball all-conference team
The All-Middle Border Conference girls basketball team for the 2016-17 season is packed with honorees from the three local teams.
Somerset, which won its second straight MBC title, had the most people honored. Four Spartans were selected for the team and Somerset coach Cory Lindenberg was named as Coach of the Year. St. Croix Central gained three all-conference slots after its second-place finish and New Richmond had two girls named to this season’s team.
The Somerset senior quartet of Tori Martell, Haley Bassett, Kaitlyn Struemke and Abbie Rivard all were named to the All-MBC team and it’s not the first time for any of them. Martell was named as the MBC’s Player of the Year, the fourth time she’s been named to the all-conference team. Bassett was also named to the first team, just as she was last year. Struemke was a second team choice and Rivard was an honorable mention selection.
This was the third time Martell was an All-MBC first teamer, after being a second team choice as a freshman. Martell will rank as one of the top players in Somerset basketball history, setting a career scoring record with 1,965 points. In all four seasons, she scored more than 400 points, topped by 580 points in her senior season.
“She’s one of the most impressive players I’ve ever seen,” said Lindenberg. “The biggest step she took this year was as a leader of her teammates.”
Bassett was one of the best defensive players in the area, with the ability to shut down opponents who played on the perimeter or in the post. Between scoring, rebounding, passing and defense, she was always able to impact the game in several ways.
Struemke was named to the team for the third time. She was second team each of the past two seasons and an honorable mention choice as a sophomore. Struemke and Bassett worked in unison in the paint for the Spartans, making it nearly impossible to stop two girls with their scoring ability.
Rivard is an honorable mention selection for the third straight season. Rivard scored more than 700 points in her career as one of the best outside shooting threats in the area.
“Where she improved this year was her ability to rebound and defend,” Lindenberg said.
Lindenberg was modest about his coaching award, saying it was a product of having “great players and a great assistant coach.”
St. Croix Central
Central placed junior Mia Krogseng and sophomore Claire Frankiewicz on the All-MBC first team, with senior Mikenna LaVenture getting honorable mention recognition.
Krogseng ranked second in the conference in scoring and she has already surpassed the 1,000-point mark in her career. Central coach Luke Fritsche said Krogseng worked hard to become better this season in the defensive and rebounding aspects of her game.
Frankiewicz developed into a strong second scoring option, ranking second in scoring and rebounding for the Panthers. Fritsche said Krogseng and Frankiewicz developed a strong chemistry and were able to work in roles that complemented each other.
“They learned to work well together, especially when teams play zones. They’re both good passers,” Fritsche said.
LaVenture became indispensable for the Panthers with her work at point guard and on defense. By taking over as the primary ball handler, she freed up Krogseng to be more of a scoring threat.
“She had a tremendous year as one of our leaders by example. She was a catalyst for the other girls’ scoring,” Fritsche said.
The Panther team awards have been issued for the season. At the varsity level, LaVenture received the Panther Pride Award, Katheryn Holter won the Miss Hustle Award and Abby Edelman was named Most Improved. For the junior varsity, the Panther Pride Award went to Claire Moll, Brittani Hunter was named Miss Hustle and Catherine Cottrell was named Most Improved. On the C team, Katrina McMartin won the Panther Pride Award, Alex Deno was named Miss Hustle and Margo Chuloy was named Most Improved.
This was the first time in several seasons where the Tigers placed more than one girl on the All-MBC team. It’s another sign that things are heading in the right direction for the Tigers.
Freshman Jessica Hagman was named to the All-MBC second team and junior Lorin Bauer was an honorable mention choice.
Hagman is the only freshman to make the all-conference team, a hint a the impact she had.
“She exceeded expectations, for sure,” said Tiger coach Ryan Schradle. “We didn’t expect her to lead us in every statistical category and she was among the top five in the conference in almost every category.”
Hagman led the Tigers with 14.6 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.
Bauer was the Tigers’ second leading scorer, developing into one of the best outside shooting threats in the conference.
The Tigers have issued their team awards. Hagman received the awards for most rebounds and most assists. Katie Hermansen was named the Most Improved Player. Senior Mallory Kelly received a pair of awards, The Most Valuable Teammate and the Tiger Coaches Award.