When the lights shined brightest, these three didn't retreat to the nearest darkened corner.
Seniors Aubrey Norville of Council Bluffs Lewis Central and Lexi Albrecht of Carroll Kuemper, and junior Paige Danner of Ar-We-Va saved their biggest performances for their teams' most important games. That's one reason Norville (Class 5-A/4-A/3-A), Albrecht (2-A) and Danner (1-A) are the honorary captains of The World-Herald's All-Western Iowa basketball teams.
The newspaper again has chosen two five-player teams in each of the three divisions. This was the first year of five-class basketball in Iowa.
Among the large schools, the 5-foot-10 Norville was a clear choice, carrying the 20-4 Titans to their first state appearance in eight years. Lewis Central had lost in the regional final the previous six seasons, but Norville helped her team break through that barrier.
Lewis Central coach Derek Archer said Norville “set the tone from the very first day of practice. She took on the role of being that vocal leader and leading by example.''
One of many examples came in the Titans' 4-A state opener against eventual champion Cedar Rapids Xavier. Trailing by 11 with 2:57 to play, L.C. roared back to within three before settling for a 50-45 loss. Norville dominated the post, scoring 14 of her game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter to go with five rebounds and four steals.
Undecided if she'll play basketball in college, she averaged 17.3 points and 6.4 rebounds while using a variety of polished post moves to shoot 54 percent from the field.
Norville's Hawkeye Ten Conference mate, Albrecht of Kuemper, has her basketball future in place. Albrecht has signed with Iowa State. Initially joining the program as a preferred walk-on, she recently accepted a scholarship from coach Bill Fennelly.
“She'll add another shooter to our team, and you can never have enough shooters,'' Fennelly said.
The 5-10 Albrecht couldn't quite pull 15-8 Kuemper through a powerful 2-A regional, but it wasn't for her lack of contribution.
In a quarterfinal win over Fort Dodge St. Edmond, she had 31 points and 12 rebounds, and in a semifinal loss to state qualifier Panorama, Albrecht finished with 26 points, five rebounds and four assists, hitting 9 of 13 from the field. Coach Randy Snyder said Albrecht blossomed into a true leader, making her teammates around her better. She averaged 16.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists.
At Ar-We-Va, the 5-7 Danner continued to thrive through a difficult junior year, as the 21-4 Rockets dealt with the untimely death of their former head coach, Davey Kock. Possessing terrific anticipation on the floor, Danner averaged 18.1 points and 4.0 steals per game, while shooting 52.6 percent from the field.
Danner made her third straight appearance on the state tournament floor at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. After a rough first half for the Rockets, she sparked a 21-6 run with nine points as her team erased a 16-point deficit to force overtime. But Bellevue Marquette won 65-57, as Danner finished with 22 points and five steals.
With a year to go, Danner already has eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for her career.
Also from the Western Valley Conference, IKM-Manning senior Kaylee Blake, a first-team selection in Class 2-A, becomes a rare four-time All-Western Iowa performer after helping the Wolves to state for a third straight season. She averaged 17.9 points and 7.0 rebounds while shooting 57.8 percent from the field.
Ar-We-Va's Danner and Kuemper's Albrecht join two others who are repeat first-team All-WI selections in their respective divisions: Sioux City Heelan senior MaKayla Augustine in Class 5-A/4-A/3-A and Bedford senior Kayla Lindenmeyer in Class 1-A.
Three girls make the jump from last year's second team to this year's first unit: Sioux City West junior Tanya Meyer in 5-A/4-A/3-A, and Villisca senior Amanda Focht and Fremont-Mills sophomore Macy Williams in 1-A.
Four more mark their second year on an All-WI second team: Denison-Schleswig senior Chelsey Van Ness and Shenandoah sophomore Serena Parker in 5-A/4-A/3-A, and Stanton junior Carmen Subbert and Villisca senior Jill Vanderhoof in 1-A.
Contact the writer:
402-444-1055, firstname.lastname@example.org; twitter.com/KWhiteOWH
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All-Western Iowa teams
Class 5-A/4-A/3-A First Team
Aubrey Norville, CB Lewis Central, 5-10, senior, 17.3 ppg (captain)
MaKayla Augustine, Sioux City Heelan, 5-8, senior, 14.6 ppg
Tanya Meyer, Sioux City West, 6-0, junior, 19.6 ppg
Grace Newman, Glenwood, 5-9, senior, 14.0 ppg
Jess Schaben, Harlan, 6-1, sophomore, 9.7 ppg
Brittany Holdsworth, Carroll, 6-0, senior, 15.9 ppg
Megan McCarthy, Sioux City Heelan, 5-11, senior, 11.4 ppg
Serena Parker, Shenandoah, 6-0, sophomore, 15.4 ppg
Chelsey Van Ness, Denison-Schleswig, 5-9, senior, 12.7 ppg
Kate Walker, Red Oak, 5-10, sophomore, 11.3 ppg
Class 2-A First Team
Lexi Albrecht, Carroll Kuemper, 5-11, senior, 16.8 ppg (captain)
Kaylee Blake, IKM-Manning, 6-1, senior, 17.9 ppg
Kylie Ferguson, CB St. Albert, 5-10, junior, 15.0 ppg
Morgan Muhlbauer, IKM-Manning, 5-8, sophomore, 11.9 ppg
Tracy Purdy, Treynor, 5-8, junior, 9.1 ppg
Susie Bylund, Audubon, 5-5, junior, 11.3 ppg
Maria Dentlinger, Carroll Kuemper, 5-11, sophomore, 11.0 ppg
Danika Grobe, A-H-S-T, 5-9, sophomore, 14.6 ppg
Kaylee Grote, Tri-Center, 5-6, junior, 10.6 ppg
Kali Rasmussen, IKM-Manning, 5-5, sophomore, 12.0 ppg
Class 1-A First Team
Paige Danner, Ar-We-Va, 5-7, junior, 18.1 ppg (captain)
Molly Cunard, CB Heartland Christian, 6-0, junior, 19.1 ppg
Amanda Focht, Villisca, 5-10, senior, 13.9 ppg
Kayla Lindenmeyer, Bedford, 5-9, senior, 12.6 ppg
Macy Williams, Fremont-Mills, 5-6, sophomore , 16.4 ppg
Emily Beerman, CAM, 5-9, senior, 13.6 ppg
Molly Goltz, Nishnabotna, 5-6, senior, 16.1 ppg
Rachel Smith, Exira-EHK, 5-9, sophomore, 15.3 ppg
Carmen Subbert, Stanton, 5-7, junior, 15.5 ppg
Jill Vanderhoof, Villisca, 5-9, senior, 12.9 ppg
Girls honorable mentions
Jenny Bair, Clarinda; Paige Beacom, CB Lewis Central; Blake Bergren, Red Oak; Sammie Birkes, Sioux City West; Grace Blomstedt, Red Oak; Jensen Boger, OA-BCIG; Delaney Bolton, CB Abraham Lincoln; Jenna Bork, Sioux City Heelan; Josie Esser, Harlan; Taylor Frederick, Harlan; Cassie Geopfert, Sioux City West; Rachel Koch, Denison-Schleswig; Taylor Koolstra, Sioux City Heelan; Miles Ludwigs, Sergeant Bluff-Luton; Natalie Madsen, CB Lewis Central; Lauren Meeker, CB Abraham Lincoln; Jordyn Moser, Harlan; Sydnie Nielsen, Shenandoah; Amber Schubert, Sergeant Bluff-Luton; Tara Schwaderer, Sioux City East; Bailey Starner, Glenwood; Taylor Wagner, Harlan.
Emily Baatz, Tri-Center; Kayli Christensen, Treynor; Taylor Gardner, Missouri Valley; Amanda Goodier, West Monona; Rachelle Housh, Missouri Valley; Devin Laughlin, East Mills; Kayla Morgan, Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto; Emily Nelsen, Audubon; Nikki Paulson, Tri-Center; Sydney Reeves, Nodaway Valley; Jordyn Sindt, Griswold; Sheyenne Smith, Riverside.
Ella Akin, Corning; Ragen Anderson, Stanton; Alyssa Blum, Woodbine; Ciera Carlson, Charter Oak-Ute; Steffi Cunard, CB Heartland Christian; Emilee Earlywine, West Harrison; Megan Ehlers, Ar-We-Va; Kendyl Gruttemeyer, Bedford; Morganne Haer, Villisca; Chansea Nelson, Exira-EHK; Marie Palmer, Corning; Seana Perkins, Essex/South Page; Shelby Rodman, Whiting; Peyton Russell, Bedford; Sara Sederburg, Stanton; Brittany Stoelk, Ar-We-Va; Savanna Thornton, Bedford.