YANKTON — Major basketball awards are often reserved for the pure scorers, the ones that fill up a box score. But the five players in the 2013 South Dakota Class A All-State Girls’ Basketball team fill up the entire stat sheet.
Clark-Willow Lake’s Chynna Stevens, Sioux Falls Christian’s Haley McCarron, Tri-Valley’s Allison Cross, Parkston’s Erica Herrold and Beresford’s Alyson Johnsen — all seniors — comprise this year’s elite list, as selected by the South Dakota Basketball Coaches Association and the South Dakota Sportswriters Association.
Stevens is the only holdover from the 2012 first team. Cross was a second-team selection last year.
Three of the five average better than 19 points a game, and all average better than 13 points a contest. But this year’s first team has more going for them than scoring.
Four of the five average 7.5 rebounds per game and have over 50 steals on the season. Four of the five also average a blocked shot or more per game. Three of the five average better than one made three-pointer per game, and have free throw percentages of 75 percent or better.
Stevens, a South Dakota State recruit, averaged 19.8 points, 10 rebounds and 2.6 assists per contest, and finished the season with 56 steals and 30 blocked shots.
“She’s a gym rat,” said CWL head coach Wade Stobbs. “She’s constantly in the gym or asking for the keys.”
A threat both inside and out, the 6-0 Stevens made 31 three-pointers and shot 42 percent from the field overall.
“Her ability to post up and score with her back to the basket, then score outside, opens up so many things for the other girls,” Stobbs said.
Stevens wrestled the Clark career marks for points (1,583) and rebounds (965) away from another player who made her mark at SDSU, Shannon Schlagel (1,518 points, 903 rebounds). Stevens also set school marks for blocked shots (122) and career free throw percentage (73 percent).
Stobbs is looking forward to being able to follow Stevens’ career at SDSU.
“It’s a great place to go and one heckuva program,” he said. “To have Chynna playing at that level that close is great for us, too.”
Cross was an inside force for Tri-Valley, averaging 13.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. The 6-1 post also averaged 2.1 steals and 3.1 blocked shots per contest, and shot 61 percent from the field.
“She is one of those posts that, if you get the ball to her, she’s tough to stop,” said Tri-Valley head coach Jeff Breitkreutz. “She patrols the middle well. We told our other girls not to worry about the inside because Allison could take care of it on her own.”
The only first-team selection who does not plan to continue her basketball career in college, Cross has signed to play volleyball at Mount Marty College.
“She wanted to be a nurse like her mom,” Breitkreutz said. “She’s serious about her studies.”
McCarron’s move from the perimeter to inside paid off for Sioux Falls Christian, which made its first state tournament appearance since 1986.
“She could score from anywhere,” said Chargers head coach Andrea Begeman. “The last three years, she’s been more of a guard. This year she moved inside, and it didn’t change her scoring ability.”
The 5-11 McCarron finished with 20.1 points and 10 rebounds per game. She still drifted outside to hit 19 three-pointers, and helped the Charger defense with her 51 steals and 26 blocked shots.
“She was on track to break the school (career) three-point record before this season, but it wasn’t a concern for her,” Begeman said. “She was concerned about making state for the first time. She did whatever was asked of her.”
McCarron will keep her talents in Sioux Falls, moving on to Augustana to join a Vikings program that made the NCAA Division II national semifinals this year.
“We’re going to miss her leadership,” Begeman said. “She helped change this program from four wins her freshman year to 17 and making state as a senior. She had a big impact at Sioux Falls Christian.”
Herrold went from a strong second option in 2011-12 to Parkston’s top scorer in 2012-13, averaging 20.4 points and eight rebounds per game. She hit 28 three-pointers on the season.
“I think she turned the corner last year, when we lost (2012 first-team selection) Marie Malloy in the state championship game,” said Parkston head coach Rob Van Laecken. “She stepped into a leadership role, and this year took her game to the highest level it’s ever been.”
Herrold’s size (6-0) and quickness make her a tough player to defend, according to Van Laecken.
“If you put a guard on her, she’ll post you up. She the closest thing to a true post we had,” he said. “And not only can she shoot the three, she’s a very good passer and made a few great assists.”
Herrold will be going up Highway 37 to play at Dakota Wesleyan this fall.
Johnsen bounced back from a torn ACL that robbed her of most of her junior season to average 16 points, four rebounds and five assists per game.
“She’s been a leader on and off the court for us,” said Beresford head coach Brent Palmer. “She’s been on varsity since eighth grade, and has been a hard worker all the way through.”
The 5-9 guard/forward — the shortest of the five first-team selections — Johnsen was a pest on the defensive end, recording 76 steals on the season. She also blocked 12 shots.
“She holds many records here, assists, steals, even added a rebounding record this year,” Palmer said. “We stress to our players that it’s not just about scoring, and she shows that on and off the court.”
Johnsen will be headed up I-29 to play for the University of Sioux Falls this fall.
Second-team selections include seniors Jolonna Sazue (Pine Ridge) and Mollee Karst (Aberdeen Roncalli), juniors Keely Bertram (Elk Point-Jefferson) and Hailey Halling (Harrisburg), and sophomore Alexys Swedlund (St. Thomas More).
The third team includes seniors Morgan Forsch (Baltic), Bethany Crosswait (Spearfish) and Hunter Mathieu (West Central), and juniors Morgan Beaner (Harrisburg) and Kennedy Wagner (Chamberlain).
Forsch and Sazue were second-team selections a year ago. Bertram earned third-team honors last season.
For the complete article see the 03-28-2013 issue.
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