Last season, Corsica-Stickney seemed like they were on their way to a state championship before Covid-19 shut down the season. This year they are the front-runners again, but there are a lot of good young teams ready to challenge. Here’s a preview of what to expect in Class B hoops.
Girls Class B
Last Season: 24-0
Returning Starters: 4
- Raven Barse Sr. 9.7 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 2.6 APG
- Avery Broughton So. 20 PPG, 9.7 RBG, 3.3 APG, 2.5 BPG
- Rachel Gerlach Jr. 11.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG
- Morgan DeLange Sr. 6 PPG, 2.4 RPG
The Jags seemed like they were on their way to a perfect season last year before the strange ending to their season mid-tournament. They have four starters back under Head Coach Lorisa Broughton and are the favorites once again, “After a disappointing end to last season we look to refocus and continue to build on last year's success,” said Broughton. “Focus, intensity, and teamwork are going to be important this season with all the potential distractions with covid and being on everyone's radar. We will be looking for someone to replace the defensive intensity of Alexis Tilton and the energy of Jenna Bamberg both of whom graduated. We plan on taking it one game at a time and enjoying each game.” Avery Broughton (20 PPG), Raven Barse (9.7 PPG), Rachel Gerlach (11.2 PPG) and Morgan DeLange (6 PPG) are poised for another playoff run.
Last Season: 16-5
Returning Starters: 4
- Alayna Benike Sr. 16 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 3 SPG, 5 APG
- Darah DeKam Sr. 11 PPG, 6 RPG
- Mackenzie Everson So. 10 PPG, 3 SPG
- Maddie Horn So. 6 PPG, 3 RPG
Castlewood is a couple years removed from their state title but they seem to be back in form to make another run. Senior Alayna Benike is so versatile and such a threat from everywhere on the court. Head Coach Leslie Tvedt thinks the tough schedule will reap benefits on their way to a playoff push, “We play a competitive schedule so it will hopefully prepare us for big games at the end of the season.”
Last Season: 17-3
Returning Starters: 5
- Kennedy Landis 5-3 Sr.
- Olivia Baumberger 5-7 Sr.
- Elizabeth Moore 5-5 Sr.
- Braiden Westley 5-7 Sr.
- Mackenzie Hemmer Jr.
- Josie Mousel 5-9 So.
The Hawks showed glimpses of their potential last season but came up just shy of making it to state. This year with five starters back and a lot of confidence, Tyler Husby has the makings of a winner. Mackenzie Hemmer is a good scorer from inside and out. The senior class has shown improvement each year and with Baumberger, Landis, Moore and Westley’s leadership, they should be primed for a deep playoff run.
Last Season: 22-2
Returning Starters: 3
- Aiyana Byrd 5’10 Sr. 8 PPG, 5 RPG
- Ariah Engel 5’6 Sr. 4 PPG, 2 RPG 3 SPG
- Kaycee Groves 5’10 Jr. 15 PPG, 8 RPG, 3 SPG, 3 APG
Faith has been a very good program for several years, last season they took an important step at the state tournament before it was canceled. “We are coming off a great season in which we won our First Round State Tournament game,” said Coach Bryan Carmichael. “We must replace 3 seniors from that team, which will be very hard to do. We have players that are ready to take that next step and become greater contributors, but it might take a little time to get everything pieced together.”
Kaycee Groves can be one of the best in the state. She broke out last year with 15 points per game. Look for Faith to be there at the end of the season.
5. De Smet
Last Season: 16-4
Returning Starters: 2
- Kennadi Buchholz 6’0 Jr. 15.3 PPG, 8.1 RPG
- Mackenzie Zell 5.5 PPG
De Smet has to replace some key parts to last year’s state tournament qualifying team. But a good place to start is with Kennadi Buchholz. She already started taking over as a leader in her sophomore season last year. She’ll be their top weapon, but De Smet must get help from some newcomers to get back to state.
Tom Young brings out a great team each year. But this season will be a rebuilding year with just one starter back from a 22-1 season. Hannah Bartscher (14 PPG) will have to pick up much of the slack on offense while you should see a great team defense as usual. Ava Lingemann (8 PPG) has the potential to become an all-conference player as a sophomore this year but the rest of the team lacks varsity experience.
The Tigers season took a slight detour last year when Caelyn Valandra-Prue was lost for the season due to injury. But they re-grouped nicely and finished 17-6. This year four starters are back and ready to challenge for a title. Valandra-Prue is a prolific scorer who netted 31 PPG before her injury. She should be ready to lead a deep and talented starting rotation including Remedy Morrison, Lilly Krogman, Nicole Yackley and Kelsey Morrison. Head Coach Jared Bouman has the team ready, “The girls have been working hard and we're looking forward to competing.”
Four starters are back from the 17-6 team a year ago. Head Coach Molly Mason feels this year they could continue the improvement, “After playing in some big games and advancing to the sweet sixteen, our girls have gained a lot of confidence that will hopefully flow right into our season this year. We have to continue to stay focused, grow as a team, and take advantage of every practice and every game as we know that we are not guaranteed a complete season with the current situation.” They are led by Sydney Voss (15 PPG), Nevaeh Ronke (12 PPG) Denae Mach (10 PPG) and Coral Mason (7 PPG) and should make some noise in their conference this season.
Howard returns three starters from their 20-4 team a year ago. Kenedy Koepsell (10 PPG) is a five-year starter and is a leader on the floor. Abby Connor and Saddie Palmquist and Kate Connor add to the nice mix of players. If they can get a jolt of offense to replace Hilary Albrecht’s absence the Tigers could be in the mix again.
The Huskies return four starters from a 12-11 team last year. They’re led by Julia Weber (18.7 PPG) with Kerrigan Schultz and Chloe Schmitt cleaning up the glass. “We return a core group of girls who have a lot of experience playing with each other and at the varsity level. We look to face a tough schedule,” said Coach Jessi Yttreness.
The Dolphins have a very experienced team returning from a 16-win team. They have 6 of their top 7 scorers back led by senior Baylee Holmlund (13.6 PPG). Andrea Vandermeer led the team in assists, steals and blocks last year and will pace the team again.
Last season the Mustangs went 16-6. They have a 1,000-point scorer, junior guard Zoey Wohlleber, back. She averaged 25 points per game last year and will lead the team once again.
Jim Bridge has three starters back including Mekiah Campbell (8.8 PPG) in the post. “We return a nice group of girls that bring energy and enthusiasm to the team,” said Coach Bridge.
Top B Stars
Other Class B Players to Watch
- Halle Heinz, Ipswich Sr. (23.3 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 3 APG)
- Nora O’Malley, Irene-Wakonda Jr. (18 PPG, 8 RPG, 3 APG)
- Kennedy Leiferman, Kimball/White Lake Sr. (19.3 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 4.2 APG)
- Kaycee Groves, Faith Jr. (15.5 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 3.3 APG, 3.3 SPG)
- Julia Weber, Bridgewater-Emery Jr. (18.7 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.1 APG)
- Rachel Fiedler, Herreid/Selby Area Sr. (19.2 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.2 APG)
- Kennadi Bucholz, De Smet Jr. (15.3 PPG, 8.1 RPG)
- Shalayne Nagel, Avon So. (14 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 4.4 SPG)
- Cameryn Logan, Ethan Sr. (15 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.6 SPG)