Girls basketball: Lake County all-area team
Jessica Burke Stevenson
The 25-win Patriots allowed just 36.5 points per game, and leading the way was the 5-foot-9 senior guard. A four-year varsity player, Burke averaged 6.4 points, 2 assists and 2.8 rebounds for the North Suburban Conference champs. "Jessica had a breakout year and drew a lot of attention from D-III/NAIA schools this year," coach Ashley Graham said. "What does not show up in Jessica's stats is that night in and night out she guarded the other team's best player. She would battle inside or guard outside. She embraced the fact that she had to limit or stop opponents in order for us to be successful. Most importantly, Jessica treated everyone the right way and was a wonderful teammate. She has such a steady and consistent personality, and that transferred to the basketball court. She will be sorely missed in every area of our program."
Kayla Caudle Vernon Hills
The Cougars have a great history of freshmen coming in and making an immediate impact on the varsity level. The athletic 5-foot-11 forward is the latest. Caudle showed she can do it all in averaging 11.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.5 blocks per game, as Vernon Hills won 16 games. She poured in a season-high 22 points against Providence. "Kayla was varsity-ready from day one of the season," coach Paul Brettner said. "There was not a single moment when she practiced or played like a freshman. She works hard to improve and is team-oriented. I think she will continue at this high level and will do some special things in the next three years."
Kaylen Dickson Warren
The highly skilled 5-foot-10 sophomore can fill up the stat sheet at a rapid pace, because that's how she plays. "Kaylen has a motor that doesn't stop," coach John Stanczykiewicz said. "She's a high-energy player." Dickson played on varsity as a freshman but didn't start. She enjoyed a breakout campaign this winter, averaging 12.8 points and a team-leading 6.8 rebounds per game. "She can be one of the most exciting players on the floor to watch," Stanczykiewicz said. "Kaylen has a game. She can make 3s, she's an outside threat, she can get the ball to the basket in traffic, and she plays bigger than 5-10. That's the exciting part of her game."
Ellie Haviland Lakes
Haviland was serious about having a great senior season. "I was really impressed with her off-season commitment to improve her game," coach Brian Phelan said. Once the season started, the three-year varsity guard didn't disappoint. She led the Eagles in scoring (12.1 ppg) and steals (2.5 spg), and was second in rebounds (5.4 rpg) and assists (2.5 apg). She had a pair of 24-point efforts. "These accomplishments are a direct result of her hard work this off-season," Phelan said. "She has been a great role model for all girls in our program. Ellie played each game as she practiced. Every day on the court, she gave it her all. I feel blessed I had the opportunity to coach her this past season." Phelan called Haviland's senior year "special," as the Eagles won hardware for the first time (third-place finish in the Northern Illinois Holiday Classic), finished second in the North Suburban Prairie, handed Antioch one of its just 6 losses and won a school-record 18 games. Added Phelan about Haviland: "What a great way to go out."
Jordyn Hughes Warren
Her versatility -- she saw action at shooting guard, small forward and even point guard this season -- extends beyond the basketball court. The 5-foot-9 sophomore can play any role and will do so willingly. "She makes everyone on the floor around her better," coach John Stanczykiewicz said. "And the scary part is there's still plenty of room for improvement in her game. ... She's just a great kid to coach. She's a good person. She's a great teammate. She's a good student. She's a positive role model." A repeat all-area selection, Hughes led the 17-win Blue Devils in scoring (13.7 ppg) and assists (2.6 apg), and was second in rebounding (6.1 rpg). "Jordyn is one of the top competitors I've ever had the chance to coach," Stanczykiewicz said. "She doesn't care who gets the credit. She's a total team player."
Claire Keefe Libertyville
About the only thing missing from the 6-foot junior's game her first two seasons on varsity was consistency at the offensive end. That wasn't an issue this season. She produced three 20-point efforts (season-high 23 vs. Kenwood) and wound up averaging 13 points along with 7 rebounds per game, as the Wildcats won 15 games. "Claire took another step forward this year by becoming a finisher around the basket," coach Greg Pedersen said. "Her midrange game is now strong as well. She's a tough, physical rebounder and post presence. What goes unnoticed about Claire is that she led our team in assists (55). She commands a lot of attention, and she's still able to score or find the right open teammate."
Amanda Larson Grayslake Central
The junior poured in 25 points in the Rams' third game of the season, and it was clear she was a different player than last season, when she averaged 2 points per game coming off the varsity bench. The 5-foot-9 guard wound up averaging 11.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.4 steals per game, as the Rams nearly doubled their win total from last season, jumping from 8 to 15 victories. "Amanda really elevated her game this season," coach Steve Ikenn said. "She has developed into a scorer who can shoot from three-point range or beat you off the dribble and take you to the hoop. It's rare for a player in her first year as a starter to become the go-to player for a team, but that is exactly what Amanda did." Larson's season also included back-to-back efforts of 21 and 22 points in late January. "Amanda is unbelievably competitive, and she hates to lose," Ikenn said. "That trait, coupled with her athletic ability, bodes well for her to have an even better senior season."
Sidney Lovitsch Grayslake North
A varsity starter since her freshman year, the athletic junior guard continues to make strides. The repeat all-area selection averaged 14.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.8 steals and 2 assists per game in helping the Knights win 16 games. She poured in a career-high 39 points in a win over Crystal Lake Central and surpassed 1,000 career points late in the season. "Sidney is a real competitor that gives a huge effort on both ends of the floor each night," coach Rob Nicoletti said. "Her game helps our team in so many different areas."
Abby Pirron Lake Zurich
As her game improved, so did her team. The senior guard concluded her four-year varsity career by averaging just over 10 points per game to along with 2.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists. The Bears won just five games three years ago but increased their victory total to eight the following year and to 13 last season, before winning 18 times this season. The sweet-shooting Pirron finished with 938 career points. "Abby really came into her own this year both as a player and a leader on the team," coach Chris Bennett said. "She was more confident in her shooting, applied her knowledge of the game, and really helped to mentor our younger players. ... She helped lead us back to where LZ basketball wants to be."
Amy Reiser Antioch
She averaged 18.5 points in Antioch's first eight games, pouring in a career-high-tying 26 points against Niles North, and the Sequoits were 14-0 when a back injury forced her to miss the team's next 11 games. The Sequoits suffered 4 losses when she was out. When she returned, even at less than full strength, the Sequoits were better. They finished 26-6 overall, going 18-2 with Reiser on the court. "She plays very smart and she helps people out all the time in practice," coach Tim Borries said. "If she would have stayed healthy, she would have had a huger year. She was scoring, cutting to the basket, reading the defense great." A three-year varsity regular and co-captain of the Daily Herald Lake County All-Area team last year, the 5-foot-8 junior guard averaged 13.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.3 steals and 1.9 steals per game. She will enter her senior season with 947 career points.
Ashley Reiser Antioch
The girl with a double -- a twin sister, anyway -- piled up the double-doubles. The 5-foot-5 junior point guard produced 10 double-doubles this season, three of which were for totaling double-digit rebounds to go along with double-digit points in a game. For the season, she averaged 15.2 points, 7.4 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 3.1 steals per contest for the Sequoits, who went 12-0 in the North Suburban Prairie. She drained 75 3-pointers, many of which were pullup shots from the top of the key. "When she just plays and gets out in the open court, she's dynamic," coach Tim Borries said of his three-year varsity point guard. The captain of the Daily Herald Lake County All-Area team, after sharing the award with her sister Amy last year, she will enter her senior season with 1,111 career points.
Ashley Richardson Stevenson
Her amazing performance against Zion-Benton, when she scored 20 of her career-high 28 points after halftime in rallying Stevenson to a mid-December victory, left Patriots coach Ashley Graham nearly speechless. The junior point guard amazed all season. She averaged 14 points, 2.1 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game. She shot 87 percent from the stripe, 41 percent from two-point range and 38 percent from beyond the arc. A varsity starter since her freshman year, she is a repeat all-area choice and three-time all-conference selection. "Ashley led us in every offensive category and is a very special talent," Graham said. "What makes her so special is her ability to be the floor general and get everyone involved, while also being a go-to scorer. I feel so fortunate that I have one more year with her. The sky is the limit for her because of the work she puts in every single day. She is the first one to get to practice and goes game speed in everything she does. The highest compliment I can pay her is that she's one of the truest competitors that I have coached. I know that her teammates and our coaching staff would go to battle with her any day."
Jasmine Sangster Grant
New coach. New system. Same ol' Jasmine Sangster. The 5-foot-6 senior guard continued to score, dazzle and make plays for the Bulldogs in her fourth varsity season. A repeat all-area player and three-time all-conference selection, she averaged 13.6 points, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game. She shot 71 percent from the foul line and poured in a career-high 29 points against East Aurora. She scored 24 points in an overtime loss to North Suburban Prairie-champ Antioch. "Jasmine had the responsibility of being our team's facilitator and offensive leader this season," first-year coach Kathie Swanson said. "This is a role that she relished and excelled at. There were points in some games in which we struggled to score. Despite this, she found timely moments to attack the basket or hit a key outside shot. That ability was greatly valued and will be missed next year. She has a promising future ahead of her, and we wish her all the best."
Klaire Steffens Stevenson
Despite her 6-foot frame, the sophomore had always played guard. With the Patriots height-challenged this season, however, she was asked to play in the post. She responded by averaging 7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game. Displaying a solid midrange jumper, she shot 53 percent from the floor in her second varsity season and scored in double digits 11 times. "I cannot say enough about Klaire," coach Ashley Graham said of the versatile forward. "Klaire's stats speak for themselves, but her importance and impact on our team cannot be measured in just her stat line. She has all the intangibles and truly is a 'glue kid.' She is an exceptional teammate, great leader and an all-around wonderful kid. She is constantly talking on defense and was our best help-side defender. She has a tremendous upside because of her versatility as a post and guard and her willingness to do whatever it takes to be successful. I am thankful she is only a sophomore."
Corrina Vaughan Wauconda
As a state-qualifying shot and discus thrower and defensive specialist in volleyball, the 5-foot-6 senior clearly has athleticism and grit. She carried it over to the basketball court this winter in a breakout season. The point guard averaged 10.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.8 steals and 1.1 assists for the 16-12 Bulldogs, who enjoyed their first winning season in five years. "Corrina is a competitor and works just as hard in practice as she does in a game," coach Jaime Dennis said of her two-year starter. "She was so valuable to us in games that I hardly ever took her off the floor. She was physically capable of playing the entire game and most of the time wanted to play the whole game. She has been a pleasure to coach and leaves some big shoes to fill for next year."
Player School Yr. Pos.
Jessica Burke Stevenson Sr. G
Kayla Caudle Vernon Hills Fr. F
Kaylen Dickson Warren So. G
Ellie Haviland Lakes Sr. G
Jordyn Hughes Warren So. G
Claire Keefe Libertyville Jr. F
Amanda Larson Grayslake Central Jr. G
Sidney Lovitsch Grayslake North Jr. G
Abby Pirron Lake Zurich Sr. G
Jasmine Sangster Grant Sr. PG
Klaire Steffens Stevenson So. F
Amy Reiser Antioch Jr. G
* Ashley Reiser Antioch Jr. PG
Ashley Richardson Stevenson Jr. PG
Corrina Vaughan Wauconda Sr. PG
* All-area team captain
Honorable mentionBecky Bahlmann (Vernon Hills Jr. G), Kiana Cencula (Stevenson So. G), Alexis Duehr (Antioch Sr. G), Janine Fajardo (Stevenson Sr. G), Rebekah Foley (Warren Jr. G), Caroline Frea (Libertyville Jr. F), Erika Gallimore (Antioch Jr. G), Quin Garbett (Grayslake Central Sr. G), Natalie Iacopetti (Lakes Jr. G), Miya Johnson (Round Lake Sr. F), McKaylie Krey (Grant Sr. G), Rachel Kuehr (Lake Zurich Sr. G), Kelly Moroney (Grayslake Central Sr. PG), Daija Pruitt (Carmel Catholic Jr. F), Amy Richards (Mundelein Sr. G), Katie Rossetti (Wauconda Jr. C), Brandi Thibeaux (Grayslake North So. PG), McKenna Zobel (Lake Zurich So. F)
Selections and profiles by Joe Aguilar