Girls basketball: Northwest all-area team
Jada Blackwell Schaumburg
Only a sophomore, Blackwell played an instrumental role in Schaumburg's second straight winning season under coach Ashley Berggren. The 5-foot-10 guard-forward averaged 12.1 points and had a career-high 25 against Palatine. Blackwell also grabbed 4.8 rebounds per game while handing out 22 assists this season and making 16 steals. "Jada is one of the most versatile players in the area," said Berggren, about her second-year varsity player. "She has great touch around the basket and can knock down 3 point shots from anywhere around the perimeter. She poses an extremely hard matchup for other teams due to her versatility."
Brittany Collins Maine West
One of the top players in the Central Suburban North, the Illinois Coaches Basketball Association second team all-stater has already scored 1,395 points (the school record is 1,648 by Megan Edwards) in her three-year varsity career, with 906 rebounds. This season, she led the Warriors with 18.4 points and 13.2 rebounds. "Her tenacity and ability make her a special player," said Maine West coach Derril Kipp of the junior forward. "She goes after every rebound and shot close to 50 percent from the field." Kipp said Collins has developed more of an outside shot, making her offense all that more dangerous. Collins also averaged 2 blocked shots, 3 assists and 2 steals per game. "A lot of colleges are interested in her," Kipp said. "Despite being 6-foot-2, she's also a ballhandler for us."
Diamond Boyd Elk Grove
Boyd was a gem for four years, collecting nearly 1,100 points while averaging 16.5 points her fourth and final season on the varsity. She also averaged 7.5 rebounds and 3.8 steals. "Diamond had the responsibility of shouldering a large part of the offensive load this season and did a great job of accepting this challenge," said Grens first-year coach Kathie Swanson of the 5-10 senior forward. "She knew the opposition would zero in on stopping her but still found ways to score." Swanson said it was a great pleasure to coach Boyd. "Her length and athleticism made her a valuable defender, as she led our team in rebounding and steals," Swanson added. "She was a major difference-maker on the court. She has a bright future and will be greatly missed next season."
Erin Fabbri St. Viator
It was the first season for Christina Jost as St. Viator's coach and she got to witness a second season in which Fabbri was an all-area selection. The Lions' 5-foot-8 junior guard was the heart of the team, averaging a team-high 15.2 points (455 points in 30 games) while shooting 49 percent from the field. She also averaged team-highs in 4.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.9 steals. "There's not a more deserving kid than Erin," Jost said. "Her stats speak volumes but she does so much more than that. She does so many things that do not show up on the stat sheet through her leadership not just within our team, but the entire program. Her hard-nosed play and never-quit attitude are infectious."
Alexis Glasgow Rolling Meadows
An Associated Press first team all-state selection, Glasgow had another terrific season and during it made her verbal commitment to Northwestern. The 5-foot-10 junior guard (17.0 ppg) had games of 16 points (semifinal) and 24 points (title) in the final four of the Class 4A state tourney. She led Meadows this season with 93 3-pointers while also grabbing 128 rebounds. "Alexis is one of the best scorers in the state," said Mustangs coach Ryan Kirkorsky. "She has guts and she wants to take big shots in big games. Even more impressive is that she improved all the other facets of her game -- she has become a better ballhandler, rebounder and defender. I'm excited to see what Alexis has in store for next season."
Haley Gorecki Fremd
Already being looked at by Division I coaches, Gorecki looked like one of the top players in the area all season, despite missing 13 games with an ankle injury. The two-time all-area selection has over 30 scholarship offers and she is only a sophomore. Averaging 17.6 points, she scored a career-high 30 against Hoffman this season. Gorecki also amassed 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals per game. "Haley is one of the top sophomores in the state," said Fremd coach Dave Yates of the 5-10 all-state guard. "She impacts the game in so many ways. She can beat you shooting the jump shot, attacking the rim, and is one of the most gifted passers I have ever coached."
Morgan Harris Hersey
Harris was on the go for the Huskies from start to finish and led the team with her 12.6 ppg, 2.6 steals, 36 3-point baskets and 75.4 free throw shooting percentage. "Morgan was our go-to scorer, who worked equally hard on both ends of the court," said Hersey coach Mary Fendley of the 5-6 junior guard who averaged 2.5 assists. Harris also set a school record with 12-of-12 free throws in one game (vs. Warren) and ended the season making 25 free throws in a row. "Morgan brought an undeniable energy to our team," Fendley added. "Her love for basketball combined with her competitiveness make her a joy to coach."
Amanda Kelly Schaumburg
On the first day of February, she scored her 1000th career point. But Kelly (17.0 points per game this season) was doing much more than just scoring in her four-year varsity career. She found teammates with assists and helped spark the defense with steals. "Amanda sees the floor extremely well and has the ability to change the momentum of the game," said Saxons coach Ashley Berggren of the 5-foot-7 senior guard. Kelly averaged 4 assists this season and also made 2.5 steals. She tossed in a career-high 34 points against Plainfield East. "Her competitiveness, determination, and drive to improve her game has paid off both with individual recognition and team success," Berggren added. "She set the standard for both work ethic and positive attitude throughout the season."
Jackie Kemph Rolling Meadows
The two-time Mid-Suburban League Player of the Year and Illinois Basketball Coaches Association first team all-stater was electrifying to watch with her uncanny drives to the basket which helped lead to a team-high 640 points in her junior season. The 5-foot-6 point guard (19.6 ppg) could also be counted on for 7.4 assists per game with her outstanding awareness on the floor. Kemph's blazing speed allowed her to finish many fast breaks and create relentless pressure at the front of the Mustangs' defense. Still weighing Division I offers, Kemph is the 2013 Daily Herald all-area honorary captain as she helped lead Meadows to its best season in school history with 30 wins and a second-place state trophy.
Angie Kirchoff Barrington
Only a junior, Kirchoff helped lead the Fillies in more ways than just her 9.2 scoring average. "Angie worked extremely hard for us," said Barrington coach Babbi Barreiro. "She is an extremely versatile player who is not afraid of putting it all out there for the good of her team," The 5-10 guard also shot 76 percent from the free throw line. "What I like most about Angie is her heart and passion for the game and for her team," Barreiro added. "I am looking forward to her returning next year with even more confidence and being an bigger leader for our team. She continues to be a pleasure to coach and showed her versatility by playing the 1, 2 and 3 positions this season."
Deanna Kuzmanic Wheeling
Only a sophomore and already a two-time all-area selection, Kuzmanic received all-state recognition after a season in which she averaged 13.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists. "Deanna was the offensive leader of our team this season," said Wheeling coach Julissa Hernandez of the 5-9 guard. "When she was not putting points on the board herself, she was looking for ways to ensure her teammates were scoring." Kuzmanic shot 38 percent from the field and 78 percent from the free throw line. "Deanna's intense game play was definitely contagious to those on the court with her," Hernandez added.
Katie Lomas Conant
Lomas enjoyed a breakout season for the Cougars as she went from a role player as a freshman to leading the team with a 10.0 scoring average in league play. "Katie causes matchup problems for other teams," said Cougars coach Dan Travers of the 5-foot-10 sophomore guard-forward. "If you put a big post on her, Katie has the ability to beat her off the dribble. If you put a guard or small perimeter player on her, she can post her up in the lane." Lomas is also a varsity soccer and volleyball player. "One of Katie's greatest strengths is her competitiveness," Travers said. "She plays the game at such a high level of intensity. Katie amazingly also finds time to be a member of the sophomore class student council and earned a 3.5 GPA on a 4.00 scale."
Ashley McConnell Fremd
With 1,564 points, 94 wins and four Mid-Suburban West championships, McConnell enjoyed one of the finest careers of anyone to wear the Fremd uniform. "Ashley followed up a stellar junior year with an even bigger and better senior year," said Fremd coach Dave Yates of the two-time MSL West Player of the Year. "I have never coached a player who has stepped up and played at an elite level in so many big games in her career." McConnell, the Daily Herald all-area captain in 2012, scored 33, 35 and 38 points in a six-game span in late December. For the season, she averaged 18.8 points (52 percent from the field) and made 68 3-pointers. "Despite the talent and accolades, she is one of most humble kids in the school," Yates said of the 5-10 senior guard who averaged 3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2 steals per game. "She has been the cornerstone to our last four MSL West championships and impacts the game in so many ways beyond scoring."
Kelly Naughton Elk Grove
There was no question who was in charge of the Grens' offense. "Kelly did a great job of handling the ball and setting the tempo on offense," said Elk Grove coach Kathie Swanson, whose point guard averaged 8 points and a team-high 4 assists. "We relied on her to show composure in pressure situations and she always came through." Naughton, a 5-foot-6 senior guard who will play for Division I Jacksonville State next season, was the team's floor leader on both sides of the court. "Kelly was someone we relied on to be a leader," Swanson said. "We often had her defend the other team's best scorer and she consistently held them well below their scoring average. This helped lead to a lot of our success this season. It was a great pleasure to coach Kelly. Her commitment and love for the game will be missed next season."
Bailey North Buffalo Grove
A four-year starter for the Bison, North finished her career with 1030 points and nearly 600 rebounds. The 6-foot senior center averaged 10.6 points and 7.1 rebounds in her senior season. She shot 79 percent from the free throw line. "She had an unbelievable career," said first-year BG coach Steve Koldziej. "To be honest, I can only imagine how she would have performed for four seasons if she wasn't hurt as much as she was (missed games early this season with a stress fracture). She's a great kid and has her best basketball ahead of her." North, who scored a season-hig a stres fracture) h 20 points with 10-of-12 free throws against St. Charles North, will play for the University of Wisconsin-Parkside next season.
Nia Pappas Palatine
Pappas, an Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis recruit, has been a mainstay at guard for Palatine the last four seasons. Despite missing six games with an ankle injury this winter, Pappas averaged 10.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2 steals. "Nia started at point guard all four years," said Pirates coach Leslie Schock, who has also been the Pirates' coach for four years. "It is hard for me to imagine coaching Palatine basketball without her. She has been a leader by example through her work ethic and love of the game." Pappas tossed in a career-high 30 points against Highland Park and ended her career with more than 1,100 points.
Alexa Resch Barrington
Resch took her game seriously, and it showed on the court. "She played every game with emotion and heart," said Barrington coach Babbi Barreiro. "I think she has done a great job working with a somewhat young team, and in trying to be a leader for us." Resch was the Fillies' second-leading scorer with 8 points and 7 rebounds, and shot 72 percent from the free throw line. "Alexa had a very solid year for us," Barreiro said of the 5-10 senior forward who scored a career-high 30 points with 8 rebounds against Schaumburg. "Defensively she has always been a force for offensive players to try to battle against, and that has been the most special part of her game. She is not afraid of playing physical and we will definitely miss her next season."
Becca Stoczynski Hoffman Estates
Stoczynski, who could play a guard or forward position, was nonstop on the court. "We asked her to do a lot of things this year," said Hawks coach Mike Nocella of the 6-foot senior who started three years on the varsity. "She can post up, drive to the hoop, and the second half of the season realized she could hit 3s consistently (11-for-23 for the season)." In the Mid-Suburban League, Stoczynski had 306 points, 227 rebounds, 67 assists, 51 steals and 25 blocked shots. She also shot 76 percent at the free throw line, 48 percent from 3-point range and 47 percent from the field. "Becca was a real workhorse for us," Nocella added. "She would do anything asked of her."
Jenny Vliet Rolling Meadows
Vliet was a double threat. Despite being 6-foot-2, not only she could hurt opponents inside but from long range, too, connecting for 47 3-pointers. She had three big ones in Meadows' final two games in Normal where the Mustangs took second place in the Class 4A state finals. The versatile junior guard-forward averaged 10 points this season while grabbing a team-high 283 rebounds along with 55 assists. "Jenny is a coaches' dream," said Meadows coach Ryan Kirkorsky. "She was the glue to our team. She can do everything on the floor. She's our best defensive player, our best rebounder and one of the best shooters in the state. And what sets her part is that her only goal is to win."
Casey Weyhrich Hersey
At 5-foot-5, she may have been smaller than most of her opponents, but Weyhrich always found a way to be big in the eyes of her coach and teammates. "She was our primary ballhandler who consistently was asked to guard our opponents' top player, despite often being outsized," said Hersey coach Mary Fendley of her senior guard. "Casey's willingness to do whatever we needed made her the ultimate team player." Weyhrich led the Huskies with 2.9 assists per game and was second with 7.6 ppg and with 25 3-pointers. "Her leadership skills facilitated a wonderful team chemistry," Fendley added. "Casey's work-ethic, attitude, and kindness added so many of the intangibles that any team needs to be successful."
McKenzie Wiedemann Palatine
Despite missing more than a handful of games with a knee injury, Wiedemann made a major impact on the Pirates' winning season. The senior guard had averaged 10.9 points, 2.6 assists, 2.1 steals and 2.1 rebounds. The three-year starter produced her career-high of 25 points against West rivals Hoffman Estates and Barrington. "She is a ferocious competitor and has an unbelievable desire to win," said Pirates coach Leslie Schock. "McKenzie was a great vocal leader on and off the court."
Bernie Williams Fremd
The all-conference, tri-captain of the Vikings always seemed to come through with a clutch play when the Vikings needed it. At 5-foot-9, Williams (7 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals per game) may have been one of the smaller forwards in the league, but she always managed to use her positioning and athletic skills to compete against the taller posts. "Bernie plays with an energy and passion that is contagious," said Fremd coach Dave Yates. "Her love of the game and leadership were a big reason for our success the past two seasons. She is one of those players who does all the little things that don't make the newspaper stats, like taking charges and chasing down offensive rebounds." Yates said Williams' game evolved to a point where he could play her at any position on the floor. "She gave everything she had every day in practice," he said. "Bernie set the tone for our team as far as the work ethic required to be a champion."
Taylor Will Prospect
Will's last name is so fitting. Because this talented 5-foot-10 sophomore guard-forward has plenty of will and determination as she hustles non stop up and down the court. Will led the Knights with 14.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 410 points in her second all-area varsity campaign. She also averaged 2.2 assists, 1.6 steals and shot 44 percent from the field. "Taylor is mentally locked in and ready to go every single game," said Prospect first-year coach Ashley Graham. "She plays with extreme pride in her game and in herself. Taylor is a workhorse on the offensive end. She carried us and we asked her to do just about everything for us. She is also a very talented defensive players, She is one of most athletic kids not only in the conference but the area. She is just a tremendous athlete, and she's only a sophomore. Her future is bright for sure."
Destinee Young Hoffman Estates
One of the most talented posts in the area, Young will continue her career at Old Dominion after scoring 1,383 points in high school (third most in school history). The 6-foot senior played in seven holiday tournaments and made the all-tournament team each time. She led the Mid-Suburban League with 109 rebounds (282 overall) and she was first in scoring with 196 points (453 overall). Young also had 75 assists and 47 steals for the season. "She is the complete player every coach dreams of having," said Hoffman Estates coach Mike Nocella. "Our conference had more than 10 Division I players this year and Destinee was consistently double and triple-teamed. Nobody could handle her one on one." Young also had a Hoffman career record of 203 blocked shots. Her 935 rebounds were second in school history. In her last game, she collected 33 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists against Zion-Benton. "The fact she got 7 assists indicates she is a team player as well as a scorer," Nocella said.
Player School Pos. Yr.
Jada Blackwell Schaumburg G So.
Diamond Boyd Elk Grove F Sr.
Brittany Collins Maine West F Jr.
Erin Fabbri St. Viator G Jr.
Alexis Glasgow Rolling Meadows G Jr.
Haley Gorecki Fremd G So.
Morgan Harris Hersey G Jr.
Amanda Kelly Schaumburg G Sr.
Jackie Kemph Rolling Meadows G Jr.
Angie Kirchoff Barrington G Jr.
Deanna Kuzmanic Wheeling G So.
Katie Lomas Conant G-F So.
Ashley McConnell Fremd G Sr.
Kelly Naughton Elk Grove G Sr.
Bailey North Buffalo Grove C Sr.
Nia Pappas Palatine G Sr.
Alexa Resch Barrington F Sr.
Becca Stoczynski Hoffman Estates G-F Sr.
Jenny Vliet Rolling Meadows G-F Jr.
Casey Weyhrich Hersey G Sr.
McKenzie Wiedemann Palatine G Sr.
Taylor Will Prospect G So.
Bernie Williams Fremd G-F Sr.
Destinee Young Hoffman Estates G-F Sr.
Carly Brossard (Schaumburg), Meg Cerniglia (Hersey), Justyna Chojnowski (Leyden), Catherine Ernst (Fremd), Victoria Galizia (Leyden), Shelbi Hernandez (Christian Liberty), Erica Hill (Hersey) Shante Hill (Hoffman Estates), Bryanna Hopkins (Barrington), Jennie Horstmann (St. Viator), Julie Jambrone (Buffalo Grove), Morgan Keller (Rolling Meadows) Marilyn Lortz (Fremd), Brie Majkowski (Wheeling), Monica Masini (Palatine), Erin Mayer (Palatine), Sarah Mazurek (Conant), Michele Molini (Prospect), Ashley Montanez (Rolling Meadows), Jess Moriarty (Christian Liberty), Alexia Prosperi (Maine West), Amanda Salzman (Buffalo Grove), Catherine Sherwood (Prospect), Melissa Solorio (Elk Grove), Megan Sullivan (Christian Liberty), Riley Williams (Schaumburg)
All-area selections and team capsules by John Leusch
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