Friday, February 22, 2013

Girls State Tournament Preview

Girls State Tournament Preview, Class 1a

By Andrew Gogerty

One of these 8 schools will win their first-ever state championship.  Ar-We-Va finished as the state runner-up in 2011, while Newell-Fonda was state runner-up in 1997, 2000, and 2008.  Colo-Nesco was state runner-up in 1991 and 2002.  Two schools (Burlington-Notre Dame and Central Lyon) are making their first-ever appearance in the girls state tournaments.  Newell Fonda has the most appearances at state with 9, followed by Colo-Nesco with 7. 

Here's a short capsule of my 5 favorites to win it all:

Central Lyon is the state’s top-ranked team, led by Class 1a’s best player, Lexi Ackerman, a 5’10 point guard who leads the state in assists.  Lexi’s twin sister, Kelsey, the team’s third-leading scorer, tore her ACL during regionals.
Newell-Fonda is the #2 team in the state and has the only returning Des Moines Register All-State selection from Class 1a from last season (Renee Maneman). 

Ar-We-Va, the #4 team in the state, has five players that all average close to 10 points per game or better, led by Paige Danner, who averages over 18 points per game.

Burlington-Notre Dame is the #5 team in the state.  The Nikes average over 72 points per game, boast the tournament’s leading three-point shooter, and are #2 in the state in steals behind Colo-Nesco.

Colo-Nesco is the #7 team in the state and has defeated the most ranked opponents of any team in the Class 1a field.  They boast the tournament’s top-ranked defense, can score inside and out, and can also create points off of turnovers.  They are the only team in Class 1a to rank in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive scoring averages.

Players to Watch:

--Amanda Focht, Villisca, 5’10 Senior (14 points; 11 rebounds per game)

--Jill Vanderhoof, Villisca, 5’9 Senior (13 points; 8 rebounds; 3 assists; 4 steals per game)
--Morgan Myers, Burlington-Notre Dame, 5’8 Senior (15 points; 4 steals per game)

--Taylor Hickey, Burlington-Notre Dame, 5’6 Sophomore (12 points; 8 assists; 5 steals per game)

--Lexi Ackerman, Central Lyon,5’10 Senior (16 points; 4 rebounds; 8 assists; 5 steals per game)


--Renee Maneman, Newell-Fonda, 5’5 Junior (17 points; 5 rebounds; 6 assists; 4 steals per game)

--Madison Eley, Colo-Nesco, 5’10 Senior (13 points; 6 rebounds; 3 assists; 3 steals per game)

--Caitlyn Riese, Colo-Nesco, 6’1 Junior (11 points; 6 rebounds per game)

--Shayla Dean, Colo-Nesco, 5’2 Sophomore (8 points; 4 assists; 6 steals per game)

--Paige Danner, Ar-We-Va, 5’7 Junior (18 points; 3 steals per game)

--Brittany Stoelk, Ar-We-Va, 5’8 Senior (11 points; 4 rebounds per game)

Villisca (21-4); Unranked; State Tournament Appearances: 2

                *Overview:  Villisca upset Bedford, the #3 team in Class 1a to get to the state tournament.  Bedford had beaten Villisca by 19 points earlier in the season.  This is Villisca’s first state tournament since 1968.

                *Key Wins: Bedford (#3 team in 1a)

                *Losses: 49-30 @ Bedford (#3 team in 1a); 48-46 @ Stanton (16-6); 48-42 vs Heartland Christian; 49-46 @ Fremont-Mills (16-6)

                *Starters: Morgan Haer, Sr. 5’7 (13.5 ppg); Jill Vanderhoof, Sr. 5’9 (13.0 ppg; 8.6 rpg; 3.4 apg; 4.1 spg); Mikayla Dolch, Jr. 5’9 (6.3 ppg; 4.3 rpg); Amanda Focht, Sr. 5’10 (14.2 ppg; 11.1 rpg; 2 bpg); BreeAnn Fisher, Sr. 5’5 (3.4 ppg)

                *Strengths: Three players that average over 13 points per game.  Veteran team with four senior starters.  Top 10 in rebounding in Class 1a (#8).

                *Weaknesses:  Not many big wins outside of the upset win over Bedford in substate.

Newell-Fonda (19-2); Ranked #2; State Tournament Appearances: 9

                *Overview: Six foot center Claudia Larsen scored 28 points in the substate game to lead Newell-Fonda to its 9th state tournament appearance.  Renee Maneman is one of the top players in Class 1a.

                *Key Wins: Manson-NW Webster (#6 Class 2a); South Central Calhoun (19-5); Hinton (#11 Class 2a)

                *Losses: 51-50 @ Sioux Central (15-7); 60-47 vs Estherville Lincoln Central (#3 team in Class 3a)

                *Starters: Renee Maneman, Jr. 5’5 (17.3 ppg; 5.0 rpg; 6.1 apg; 4.0 spg); Andrea Christensen, Sr. 5’10 (10.5 ppg; 4.7 rpg); Taiyler Schrank, Jr. 5’7 (6.6 ppg); Claudia Larsen, Jr 6’0 (9.6 ppg; 7.2 rpg; 3.1 bpg); Brianna Wells, Jr. 5’5 (7.0 ppg)

                *Strengths: Rank #2 in Class 1a in three-pointers made (behind Burlington Notre Dame).  Rank #2 in Class 1a in scoring at 65.0 ppg.  Renee Maneman was a Des Moines Register 2nd Team All-State selection last season as a sophomore.

                *Weaknesses: Hard to pinpoint any, which is why they are rated #2 in the state.

Marquette Catholic (16-6); Ranked #13; State Tournament Appearances: 5

                *Overview: Used a 1-3-1 zone to rattle #6 Grundy Center in the substate game, securing a 53-48 upset win.

*Key Wins: Defeated Grundy Center (#6 Class 1a) to advance to the state tournaments. Also beat Preston (#14 Class 1a). 

                *Losses:46-35@ Western Dubuque (#11 Class 4a); 59-52 @ Goose Lake; 64-28 vs Bellevue; 58-42 @ Preston (#14 Class 1a); 46-43 @ Prince of Peace; 59-42 vs Goose Lake

                *Starters: Kelsey Tebbe, Sr. 5’6 (11.9 ppg); Theresa Koos, Sr. 5’8 (5.4 ppg); Danielle Bender, Sr. 5’11 (10.6 ppg; 9.4 rpg); Sarah Lampe, Sr. 5’5 (7.2 ppg; 5.2 rpg; 5.0 apg); Grace Sieverding, Jr. 5’11(2.6 ppg; 5.9 rpg)

                *Strengths: Senior leadership.  Start 4 seniors and a junior.  Athletic: Qualified for state in softball and volleyball this year.     

                *Weaknesses: One of worst defensive teams in tournament field, surrendering 43 points per game (#48 in Class 1a).  Not a good three-point shooting team.

Ar-We-Va (21-3); Ranked #4; State Tournament Appearances: 4

                *Overview: This will be the third year in a row Ar-We-Va has made the state tournament.  Paige Danner leads a dangerous offensive attack for the perennial powerhouse from western Iowa. 

                *Key Wins:  Woodbury Central; LeMars Gehlen Catholic (#12 Class 1a); OABCIG;Exira EHK

                *Losses: 78-62 @ Lawton-Bronson (ranked #2 Class 2a); 75-53 @ IKM-Manning (#3 Class 2a); 79-65 vs IKM Manning

                *Starters: Paige Danner, Jr. 5’7 (18.0 ppg; 3.9 spg); Brittany Stoelk, Sr. 5’8 (11.9 ppg; 4.0 rpg; 52 three pointers); Megan Ehlers, Sr. 5’6 (9.4 ppg; 3.1 apg; 4.1 spg); Lexie Vande Hoef, Sr. 5’8 (8.2 ppg; 4.4 rpg); Amy Hinners, Sr. 5’10 (9.4 ppg; 7.0 rpg)

                *Strengths: Amazing scoring balance with five players that average close to ten points per game or more. 

                *Weaknesses: Haven’t beaten many high-quality teams other than Gehlen Catholic in substate.

Colo-Nesco (23-2); Ranked #7; State Tournament Appearances: 7

                *Overview:  The Royals defensive average of 33.75 points per game ranks #2 in the state in Class 1a.  The contest with Burlington-Notre Dame will be a classic matchup of the state’s #1 offense versus one of the state’s top ranked defenses.  The Royals rank in the top 10 in Class 1a in both offensive scoring average and defensive scoring average (the only team in the Class 1a state tournament field to rank in top 10 in both).  According to BCMoore Rankings, the Royals are actually the third-best team remaining in Class 1a, behind Central Lyon and Newell Fonda.  The Class 1a record for steals in a state tournament game (9), could be eclipsed by Shayla Dean, who ranks #2 in the state in steals (all classes).

*Key Wins: West Marshall (Class 2a #8 team); Meskwaki (twice; Class 1a #9 team); Janesville (Class 1a #10 team); Clarksville (Class 1a #15 team); Pella Christian (Class 2a state qualifier)

                *Losses: West Marshall (Class 2a #8 team); Meskwaki (Class 1a #9 team)

                *Starters: Caitlyn Riese, Jr. 6’1 (11.4 ppg; 6.8 rpg; 1.3 bpg); Madison Farren, Jr. 5’9 (7.7 ppg; 6.6 rpg; 2.2 spg); Madison Eley, Sr. 5’10 (13.2 ppg; 6.3 rpg; 3.5 apg; 3.5 spg); Shelby Anthony, Jr. 5’4(6.0 ppg; 1.9 spg); Shayla Dean, So. 5’2 (8.0 ppg; 4.8 apg; 6.4 spg)

                *Strengths:  Scoring balance; Defense.  The Royals are #1 in the state in steals, #4 in the state in assists, and #4 in the state in average margin of victory

                *Weaknesses:  Turnovers.

Burlington-Notre Dame (21-3); Ranked #5; State Tournament Appearances: 1

                *Overview: Nicknamed the “Nikes,” Burlington-Notre Dame enters the tournament as the #1 scoring team in Class 1a, averaging 72.7 points per game.  This is the first-ever tournament appearance for the school.  The Nikes have scored 80 or more points NINE times this season with a season-high 92 points against Cardinal of Eldon. They are defeating teams by an average of 31.7 points per game; #1 in Class 1a.

                *Key Wins: @ Central Lee (#8 team Class 3a);

                *Losses: 69-34 at Davenport Assumption (the #1 team in Class 3a); 74-69 against Central Lee, Donnellson (the #8 team in Class 3a); 74-40 against Mediapolis (the #6 team in Class 3a).

                *Starters: Alex Yacko, Sr. 5’10 (9.4 ppg; 5 rpg); Kori Mesecher, So. 5’8 (7.0 ppg; 7.4 rpg); Morgan Myers, Sr. 5’8 (15.0 ppg; 4.4 spg); G—Taylor Hickey, So. 5’6 (12.5 ppg; 8 apg; 5.3 spg); G--Courtney Coffin, So. 5’5 (11.1 ppg) 

                *Strengths:  The Nikes shoot over 70 percent from the free throw line.  Courtney Coffin, a 94% free throw shooter, has made 65 three-pointers this season.  B-ND doesn’t turn the ball over much either, and has the second most steals in the state (485) behind Colo-Nesco (492).

                *Weaknesses: With three starters that are sophomores, could the Nikes get rattled with the type of defense the Royals play?  Outside of the three losses to 3a schools, their competition hasn’t been the greatest, although they did beat one of those 3a schools that are currently ranked in the top 10.  They’ve also never been to the state tournament before, which could rattle a young team.

Earlham (16-9); Unranked; State Tournament Appearances: 2

                *Overview: Upset #8 Adair-Casey in regionals.  This is Earlham’s first state tournament appearance since 1981.

*Key Wins: #8 Adair-Casey; Twin Cedars

                *Losses: 41-39 vs Osceola; 58-55 vs DM Christian; 53-44 @ Woodward Granger; 45-44 @ Van Meter; 65-36 @ Panorama (#7 Class 2a); 51-48 @ DM Christian; 68-42 vs Woodward Granger; 44-43 vs Van Meter; 81-41 vs Panorama

                *Starters: Kristen Weber, So. 5’4 (10.7 ppg; 4.4 apg; 3.6 spg); Morgan Johnson, Jr. 5’8 (13.8 ppg; 6.8 rpg); Bri Arnburg, Sr. 5’6 (5.2 ppg); Addie Herman, Jr. 5’8 (4.6ppg; 3.8 rpg); Abbey Murphy, Jr. 5’9(9.8 ppg; 9.8 rpg)

                *Strengths: Top rebounding team in Class 1a.

                *Weaknesses:   A lot of losses, not a good shooting team, and turns the ball over a lot.

Central Lyon (23-2); Ranked #1; State Tournament Appearances: 1

                *Overview:  This will be the first state tournament appearance ever for Central Lyon.  The Lions trailed by six at halftime of their substate game, but went on a 20-0 run in the third quarter to beat West Sioux. The Lions suffered a huge blow when senior Kelsey Ackerman (10 ppg) tore her ACL during the regionals.  She is the twin sister of Central Lyon’s best player, Lexi Ackerman, a 5’10 point guard, who is one of the best players in Class 1a, if not the best. She leads the state in assists.  The Lions hale from a hotbed of traditionally great high school basketball teams in the northwest corner of Iowa.  Their only losses of the year were to MOC Floyd Valley, the #2 team in Class 3a. 

                *Key Wins: Sioux Center

                *Losses: 58-45 vs MOC Floyd Valley (#2 team Class 3a); 53-49 @ MOC Floyd Valley

                *Starters: Lexi Ackerman, Sr. 5’10 (16.7 ppg; 4.8 rpg; 8.6 apg; 5.2 spg); Kori Schulte, Sr. 5’9 (13.8 ppg; 6.0 rpg); Wynter Roths, Jr. 5’8 (4.5 ppg); Sarah Halse, So. 5’8 (8.2 ppg; 5.6 rpg; 2.8 spg); Ivy Sieperda, So. 5’7 (3.1 ppg)

                *Strengths: Central Lyon is #1 in Class 1a in assists, #5 in steals, #3 in scoring.  According to, Central Lyon played the #2 most difficult schedule in Class 1a this season.

                *Weaknesses: Not a good three point shooting team, and they do turn the ball over quite a bit.  How much will the loss of Kelsey Ackerman affect them?


1.     Burlington Notre Dame  72.3

2.    Newell Fonda           64.3

3.    Central Lyon             63.4

4.    Ar-We-Va                   62.8

5.    Colo-Nesco               57.9

6.    Villisca                       55.6

7.    Earlham                     52.8

8.    Bellevue Marquette 50.9


1.    Colo-Nesco                     33.7

2.    Villisca                             35.6

3.    Ar-We-Va                         37.7

4.    Newell Fonda                 38.6

5.    Burlington Notre Dame 41.09

6.    Central Lyon                   41.6

7.    Earlham                           43.0

8.    Bellevue Marquette       43.4

Points Per Game:

1.       Paige Danner, AR-We-Va                  18.0

2.       Renee Maneman, Newell Fonda     17.3

3.       Lexi Ackerman, Central Lyon            16.7

4.       Morgan Myers, Burlington ND         15.0

5.       Amanda Focht, Villisca                       14.2

6.       Morganne Haer, Villisca                     13.5
      7.     Madison Eley, Colo-Nesco                 13.2   

Rebounds Per Game:

1.       Amanda Focht, Villisca                 11.1

2.       Abbey Murphy, Earlham              9.8

3.       Danielle Bender, Bellevue            9.5

4.       Jill Vanderhoof, Villisca                 8.6

5.       Kori Mesecher, Burlington ND    7.6

6.       Amy Hinners, ArWeVa                  7.0

7.       Caitlyn Riese, Colo-Nesco             6.9
1.       Lexi Ackerman, Central Lyon         216
2.       Taylor Hickey, Burlington ND        192
3.       Renee Maneman, Newell Fonda   129
4.       Shayla Dean, Colo-Nesco                120
5.       Kristen Weber, Earlham                  111
6.       Sarah Lampe, Bellevue Marq.       110
7.       Madison Eley, Colo-Nesco             89
1.       Shayla Dean, Colo-Nesco           161
2.       Lexi Ackerman, Central Lyon     130
3.       Taylor Hickey, Burlington ND     129
4.       Morgan Myers, Burlington ND   107
5.       Jill Vanderhoof, Villisca                104
6.       Megan Ehlers, ArWeVa                100
7.       Paige Danner, ArWeVa                 94
Three Point Baskets:
1.       Courtney Coffin, Burlington ND      65
2.       Brittany Stoelk, ArWeVa                  52
3.       Madison Eley, Colo-Nesco               44
4.       Kristen Weber, Earlham                   43
5.       Taiyler Schrank, Newell Fonda        39
6.       Renee Maneman, Newell Fonda    39
7.       Taylor Hickey, Burlington ND          38



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