Lake County Girls Basketball All-Area Team
Piper Bedell Vernon Hills
She didn't always receive the attention of fellow four-year varsity teammate Kayla Caudle, but the 5-foot-7 guard also played a huge role in the Cougars' success the last four seasons. She put together maybe her best season this winter as a senior, averaging 11.3 points, 4 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.3 steals per game. She scored a career-high 22 points against Glenbrook North, made 49 3-pointers and was named All-Central Suburban League North Division. "Piper is a tribute to what a great attitude and a great work ethic can get you," Cougars coach Paul Brettner said. "She has been our hardest player in practice since the day she showed up. She has played through some aches and pains that would keep a lot of players off the court. She has done this because of her love of the game and her love of her team."
Margaret Buchert Libertyville
As a first-year varsity player last season, she showed she can run an offense and put the ball in the basket (18 double-digit scoring efforts in 26 games). This season, the junior point guard directed the Wildcats to the North Suburban Conference championship, a Class 4A regional title and 23 wins. She averaged a team-leading 13.8 points, 3.4 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game. She drained 61 3-pointers, including 6 of 8 against Lake Forest in the sectional semifinals, and notched 54 steals. She had a pair of season-high 22-point efforts (against Hersey and Warren). "As our point guard, Margaret gets us up and down the floor quickly and finds us good shots," Wildcats coach Greg Pedersen said. "The speed at which she plays causes problems for opponents. Her outside shot is accurate and she's added range to it. She moves and finishes well with her right and left hand. In just about every game we played, she was the most dangerous player on the floor."
Kate Bullman Grayslake Central
The Division I scholarship offers started pouring in last summer for the 6-foot-2 wing, and then she showed why during her junior season. She enjoyed a breakout season, averaging a double-double for the first time in her three years on varsity. She was a "dominant force on both ends of the floor," Rams coach Steve Ikenn said. Named all-tournament at Buffalo Grove and Warren, Bullman had a career-high 31 points in an overtime win against Carmel and a career-high 18 rebounds (to go with 21 points) in a game against Grant. "Teams key their defense to stopping her, but she is such a good all-around player that she can dominate without scoring 20 points a game," Ikenn said of his repeat all-area and All-Northern Lake County Conference First Team selection. "She is a great on-the-ball defender both on the perimeter and inside." Bullman averaged 14 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks, 3.3 steals and 2 assists per game. Her D-I offers include Davidson, George Washington, Northern Illinois, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Green Bay, Bradley, Eastern Illinois and Saint Louis.
Kayla Caudle Vernon Hills
Four all-area seasons. Four all-conference seasons. One un-four-gettable career. The 6-foot senior forward did this winter what she did the last four. Score, rebound, lead, win. She averaged 12.8 points and 12.9 rebounds per game, meaning she averaged a double-double in each of the last three seasons. She also averaged 1.4 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks per game. She scored a career-high 27 points and grabbed 19 rebounds in the Cougars' regional-opening win over Waukegan. Signed with DePaul University, she finishes her Cougars career with 1,206 points and 1,086 rebounds (most in program history). "It was great to see her cross the 1,000-point and rebound milestones this season," said coach Paul Brettner, whose Cougars won 62 games in Caudle's four seasons as a starter. "It is a testament to her hard work and consistency, which also speaks to her maturity. She was the same great kid every day. Practice or game? Same. Win or loss? Same. She left the jersey in a better place, and she will be missed."
Lydia Crow Libertyville
The junior guard has been draining 3-pointers on varsity courts since her freshman season, when she helped the Wildcats win a Class 4A regional championship. She has developed into a better all-around player since then. The repeat all-area selection averaged 12.3 points per game, making a school-record 85 3-pointers on 33-percent shooting from beyond the arc, while also shooting 81 percent from the foul line. She also averaged 1.8 assists per game, while adding 47 steals and 14 blocked shots. She had four season-best 22-point games (against Mundelein, Niles West, Warren, Zion-Benton). Crow is the Wildcats' all-time leader in 3-pointers with 206. "Her offensive game was assisted this year by a more resilient approach to attacking the basket, and we are a better team now that she can spot up or attack the basket," Wildcats coach Greg Pedersen said. "Lydia continues to improve, and her ball-handling skills and improving defense are combining to make her an excellent all-around player."
Rosie Drevline Grayslake Central
The Rams have won 83 games in the last four seasons, including 23 in each of the last two, and the senior guard has been a big reason why. A three-year starter, she averaged 10 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game this season in helping the Rams go 14-0 in the Northern Lake County Conference. "Rosie is a great outside shooter with a true feel for the game," Rams coach Steve Ikenn said. "She knows where to cut, and where the pass needs to be, and she delivers. She is a solid all-around player who can score from behind the arc or drive to the basket and hit a floater in the paint. As great a player as she is, she is an even better teammate and leader. It is safe to say that Rosie was the heart and soul of our team. In practices you would always hear Rosie encouraging her teammates and the team as a whole to push and achieve as much as possible. When someone would make a mistake, she would pump them up. When times got tough in a game, Rosie would pull the team together and help us get through it." Named all-tournament at Warren and selected to the All-NLCC First Team, she is a repeat all-area selection. She will continue her basketball career at Denison University.
Diane Flade Round Lake
She kept up her spirits after losing her head coach to cancer when she was a freshman on Howard Conkling's varsity. She kept her spirits up when she broke her foot during her junior season. With her leading the way this season, it's no wonder the Panthers were such a spirited bunch. Flade averaged 11.4 points and nearly 2 steals per game, as the Panthers won 21 games. They hadn't posted double-digit wins in 10 years. She poured in a career-high 26 points against Grant and was named All-Northern Lake County Conference First Team. "She really improved several areas of her game (from last season)," Panthers coach Molly Hennig said. "She made a dedicated effort to developing multiple scoring threats outside of what she's best known for, her three-point shooting." Her shooting from the arc was one area where Flade improved her game, as she sank 73 3-pointers. Hennig noted the senior went out for cross country in the fall to help her prepare for basketball and qualified for sectionals in her first and only season in the sport. "Another big transformation this season that often goes unnoticed is Diane's deep understanding of her role defensively, many times having to defend the other team's post players and make quick adjustments on the fly," Hennig said. "Diane was a true leader on the floor for us this year as well, usually playing all 32 minutes and giving her all every game."
Morgan Frank Mundelein
Significant numbers for the junior forward/guard came with a significant win for the Mustangs (over 2018 sectional champ Lake Zurich) and nearly another (overtime loss to 2019 sectional champ Lake Forest). "While she reached some individual milestones with 1,000 points and the single-season record in blocks (76), those are things we never talked about," coach Greg Dorgan said. "It was always about how we can improve as a team and the next scouting report." An all-area selection last year and a varsity starter since her freshman year, Frank was a veteran on a young team this season. She averaged 13.8 points (double digits in 25 of 31 games), 7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.7 steals and 2.5 blocks per game. "We count on her to do a lot -- score, handle the ball at times, guard opponents' best player, get deflections and blocks, etc. -- as our younger players develop," Dorgan said. "Morgan and Kendall (Klatt) made a nice duo this year, having fun in some of those games where Morgan had multiple assists." Frank scored a career-high 26 points twice this season and also had a 16-rebound performance. She recently picked up an offer from Colgate University and will enter her senior season with 1,055 points (top seven in school history).
Ella Gilbertson Lake Zurich
Coach Chris Bennett said before the season that college coaches were interested to see how Gilbertson played considering the Bears would be "her team" for the first time. Bennett was confident she would handle her new role well, and she did. The 6-foot junior guard averaged 13.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game, while shooting 42 percent from the floor and 86 percent from the stripe. She also helped her team win 16 games, despite playing one of the toughest schedules in the state. Bennett noted Gilbertson "routinely played her best games against the best competition." To note, she scored a career-high 26 points against Lake Forest, while scoring well against Rolling Meadows (21 points), Evanston (20), Fremd (18), Maine West (17) and Wheaton North (16). She scored in double digits in 25 of 31 games, finishing as the Bears' leading scorer, "all while guarding the other team's best player night in and night out," Bennett said. The three-year varsity starter is a first-time all-area and all-North Suburban Conference selection. "She can play anywhere from 1-5," Bennett said. "Numerous mid-major colleges are looking at her. She has not received an offer yet, but someone is going to get a heck of a player that is still growing her game in a number of directions, from long range to off the bounce to post play."
Savannah Guenther Grayslake North
The Knights didn't necessarily need their high-scoring guard to rebound the ball in the past. This season, they did because the 5-foot-11 senior was easily their tallest starter. Not surprisingly, she grabbed rebounds, while also not jeopardizing her ability to put the ball in the basket. "In the years past, we've never been a huge team, but we've had at least some other size to complement her, where she wasn't spending a lot of time in the post," Knights coach Rob Nicoletti said. "This year, all year she guarded other teams' biggest player, so she spent a lot of time in the post." The four-year varsity player averaged 17 points, 7 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 1.7 blocks per game. She set a program record for double-doubles in a season with 8. She scored a career-high 32 points against Belvidere North and 30 against North Chicago. "She does a really good job of staying out of foul trouble, hence the double-doubles this year," Nicoletti said of his repeat all-area and All-Northern Lake County Conference First Team selection. "Her rebounding really picked up because she was around the basket a lot more, especially defensively. ... She's a great teammate and just does everything right." Guenther leaves as just the third player in program history to reach 1,000 career points, finishing with 1,268. She also tied the record for double-doubles in a career (9). She is committed to play at Division II Northwest Missouri State University next year.
Lauren Huber Libertyville
The sophomore guard doesn't score the basketball as frequently as junior teammates Margaret Buchert and Lydia Crow, but she has proved to be just as valuable the last two seasons. She averaged 8.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game in her second season as a starter, while notching 78 steals for the North Suburban Conference champs. "Lauren can do it all on the floor," Wildcats coach Greg Pedersen said. "She's our team's top defender and routinely gets assigned our opposition's top player. She leads our team in rebounds and keeps possessions alive with tips and offensive rebounds. She has great court vision and is able to distribute the ball, plus she's so unselfish when she plays that she'd rather set up a teammate for a shot than get one for herself. Her outside shot has improved a great deal too, as evidence shows with her season three-point shooting (29 of 75, 38 percent). She's becoming a complete player."
Avery King Stevenson
Avery King swats basketballs like King Kong swats airplanes. And she plays guard. The junior and three-year varsity player enjoyed a breakout season, averaging 14.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.6 steals, 1.3 assists and 2.6 blocks per game, while shooting 48 percent from two-point range. She had a pair of career-high 22-point efforts. "She has been up since her freshman year and just has done an unbelievable job in growing an aspect of her game each year, which has allowed her confidence to explode," Patriots coach Ashley Graham said of her leading scorer and rebounder on a 22-win team. "Avery lives and breathes the game of basketball. It is her goal to be the very best she can be, and she puts a ton of time and effort in working on her craft outside of just practice. She has been given the green light in our offense, and she has become such a strong offensive force. She can get to the rim, hit the 3 or pull up off the dribble. She also had such a tough job defensively guarding the other team's post presence or guarding around the perimeter, just simply based on her size. She did a great job of accepting every defensive assignment." With 84 blocks this season, the 5-foot-11 King moved into fifth place on the Patriots' all-time leaderboard. "Honestly, she has easily become the best shot blocker I have ever coached," Graham said. "This allowed us to gamble a little more defensively, knowing that she was waiting under the rim. I know next year, her senior year is going to be a special one."
Jazzlyn Linbo Grant
She was a force at the net in the fall and a force at the net in the winter, too. The 6-foot-2 sophomore followed up her strong volleyball season with maybe an even better basketball campaign. Bulldogs coach Kevin Geist called his second-year starter his team's most improved player and its leader not only in points, rebounds and blocks but also "attitude, hustle, energy." Linbo averaged 13.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. She scored a career-high 30 points against De La Salle. Tentative around the basket at times as a freshman, she was a different player this season, using her height and athleticism to her advantage. "Confidence-wise, I think she's stronger," Geist said. "Her footwork is great. When she goes up for a ball, she's going to get it."
Maddy Piggott Lake Zurich
The senior forward didn't stuff the stat sheet, but the Bears filled the win column in her three varsity seasons. Coach Chris Bennett said she and fellow role player Anna Biergans were the two biggest reasons why his Bears went to the Elite Eight last year. "Often the heroes in the playoffs are the kids listed at the bottom of the scouting report," Bennett said. "This year (Piggott) was a top-of-the-scouting-report kid. You had to prepare for her inside/on the boards, or you would lose." Piggott had three 16-point efforts, including two against 22-game winner Stevenson. She averaged 7.2 points and 7 rebounds, while typically guarding the opponent's second-best player. She has also played varsity soccer since she was a sophomore. "Typical coach's kid whose impact is not often felt on the stat sheet," Bennett said of his team captain, whose dad is Fremd baseball coach Chris Piggott. "Leader, hustle playmaker, heart of the team. Gives great effort every single day of practice and games. Proof that an athlete can have an impact in a second sport, while playing her other sport predominantly."
Simone Sawyer Stevenson
Her two athletic sisters attended Lake Forest Academy. Stevenson is glad she chose public school. The freshman posted a pair of 22-point efforts in the Patriots' first four games and kept making an impact. She averaged 13.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 2.3 assists, while shooting 48 percent from two-point range. She scored a season-high 33 points against Mundelein. "Simone is one of the most athletically gifted players I have ever had the privilege of coaching," Patriots coach Ashley Graham said. "What an unbelievable year for a kid who is just a freshman. Along with Avery (King), she led us in every offensive and defensive category. Each and every game we could count on her to be a go-to scorer for us, while also stopping the other team's best player at times. She could score in a multitude of ways, and she improved many areas of her game just from the summer. To me, though, more impressive than her basketball ability, is her fearless mentality, toughness and everyday approach. You would never know she was just a freshman. Jumping up to varsity, and being someone we count on to produce each night, while handling the intensity and time commitment of the varsity level is not easy. Simone did it seamlessly, and I cannot wait to see how she grows these next three years. She is going to leave quite the mark on this program when it's all said and done."
Sara Smith Lakes
She hit shots, passed well and led. Then she took the same skills she showed on the volleyball court to the basketball court. The senior dished out a school-record 99 assists last season and followed up with 94 this season. The repeat all-area selection averaged 10 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2.5 steals per game in her third year as a varsity starter. She scored a season-high 22 points against Wauconda. She graduates as the Eagles' all-time leader in assists with 237 and steals with 173. She was voted a team captain as a junior and senior. "Another coach on the court," Eagles coach Brian Phelan said. "High IQ player. Good work ethic and positive attitude each and every day. We have a number of girls in our feeder program that want to play like Sara when they get older. What a compliment. She really improved her game this season, which is evident in her averages per game: +2 in points, +4 in rebounding and +2 in assists. Her leadership and attitude will be missed in our program. We wish her the best at the next level. She has a high ceiling and will continue to get better at the next level." Smith has not committed to a college.
Caitlin Teehan Carmel Catholic
Pulled up to varsity midway through her sophomore season, she came off the bench to provide a spark with her defense, while providing occasional offense. She became a starter as a junior, and then this season added to her responsibilities. The 5-foot-5 senior slid over to point guard when 2018 all-area selection Ranya Jamison transferred to Zion-Benton. Teehan averaged 8 points (38 3-pointers), 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game, was her team's lone representative on the All-East Suburban Catholic Conference team and directed the Corsairs to a Class 3A sectional final for the second year in a row. She leaves as a three-time regional champ. She helped the Corsairs win a sectional title as a junior. "The one thing about Caitlin was we asked her to do more than anyone this year," Corsairs coach Ben Berg said. "She had to play point guard, and she's more of an off guard. We asked her to play against probably the best offensive perimeter player on the other team sometimes, and she had to score a little more this year, too."
Allie Tylka Wauconda
The Bulldogs' starting lineup featured three sophomores, one freshman and the senior Tylka -- and they won 21 games, their most in eight years. The four-year varsity starter led the way and is the all-area captain after averaging a career-best 19.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.8 steals and 2.9 assists per game. The 6-foot forward/guard also had 37 blocks. She scored a season-high 30 points against Hoffman Estates and was held to single digits just once (9 points against Round Lake). In the final game of her Bulldogs career, in the Class 4A regional semifinals against Prospect, she had a triple-double (16 points, 10 rebounds, 11 steals). "Allie has been an pleasure to coach and a lot of fun to watch," Bulldogs coach Jaime Dennis said. "She works extremely hard year round and deserves everything she has earned. She led this team to 21 wins and was a thorn in the side of all our opponents. She has this tremendous ability to impact the game in every aspect. She is the best basketball player to have put on a Bulldog jersey in decades." Tylka, who finished with 1,538 points and 752 rebounds in her career and makes her second appearance on the all-area team, is signed with Florida Atlantic University.
Brigit Barr (Carmel Catholic Sr. F), Mia Edwards (Lakes Sr. F), Emily Etherington (Round Lake Sr. G), Maura Fitzgerald (Grayslake Central Sr. G), Piper Foote (Antioch Sr. G), Jataia Harris (Warren Sr. G), Ella Karg (Wauconda So. G), Brooke Karpinske (Grant Sr. F), Kendall Klatt (Mundelein Jr. F), Macy Kocen (Warren Jr. G), Katie Lach (Carmel Catholic Jr. G), Ally Mahinay (Grant Sr. G), Taylor Major (Round Lake Fr. G), Maddie Spaulding (Libertyville Sr. F), Margueret Spear (Lake Zurich Jr. G), Grace Sullivan (Carmel Catholic Fr. C), Kiley Szmajda (Wauconda So. C), Nikki Ware (Stevenson So. G)