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Katelyn Meister

Wisconsin Dells senior Katelyn Meister puts up left-handed hook shot over Reedsburg's Macie Wieman during Tuesday's non-conference game at Wisconsin Dells High School.

ROCK VALLEY CONFERENCE

2017-2018 STANDINGS

Team, Conf., All

Jefferson, 17-1, 24-2

Walworth Big Foot, 16-2, 19-6

Whitewater, 13-5, 15-8

McFarland, 12-6, 14-10

Beloit Turner, 8-10, 12-11

Clinton, 7-11, 11-14

Brodhead, 7-11, 10-13

Edgerton, 5-13, 8-16

Evansville, 4-14, 6-17

East Troy, 1-17, 4-18

Top WIAA tournament performances: Jefferson — Lost to Monroe, 68-31, in Division 2 sectional final; Walworth Big Foot — Lost to Lakeside Lutheran, 61-46, in D3 sectional semifinal; McFarland — Lost to Reedsburg, 42-40, in D2 regional final; Clinton — Lost to Lakeside Lutheran, 73-44, in D3 regional final.

RETURNING ALL-CONFERENCE PLAYERS

First team: None from 2017-2018. Annalise DeMuth, sr., McFarland, was a first-team pick in 2016-2017, but missed last season due to injury.

Second team: Liz Kalk, 5-7, jr., Clinton; Erin Rice, 5-7, sr., East Troy; Regan Courier, 5-7, jr., Walworth Big Foot; Kacie Carollo, 5-6, so., Whitewater.

Honorable mention: Olivia Tinder, 5-7, so., Beloit Turner; Alexis Oliver, 5-7, sr., Brodhead; Hannah Welte, 5-3, jr., Clinton; Mackenzie Lindow, 5-7, sr., East Troy; Adeline Lomen, 5-5, so., East Troy; Spencer Stamm, 5-10, sr., Edgerton; Paige Banks, 5-9, jr., Evansville; Abby Efternoff, 5-8, jr., Evansville; Olivia Ganser, 5-11, jr., Jefferson; Katie Hildebrandt, 6-1, so, McFarland; Sophie Foster, 5-8, sr., Walworth Big Foot; Abby Grosinske, 5-8, jr., Whitewater.

COACHES’ FAVORITES

1, McFarland; 2, Clinton; 3, Jefferson

CONFERENCE OVERVIEW

Winds of change are blowing in the Rock Valley, as all seven players who earned first-team all-conference honors graduated, and four of the league’s 10 teams have new head coaches. Jefferson will have a tough time defending its conference title, losing six players to graduation. That leaving room for Clinton (led by junior forward Hannah Welte and guard Liz Kalk), McFarland and perennial title challenger Whitewater (led by sophomore Kacie Carollo and new coach Kristen Lippens, a former assistant under longtime coach Judy Harms). Other top returning players include senior Erin Rice of East Troy and junior Reagan Courier of Walworth Big Foot.

TEAM CAPSULES

Edgerton Crimson Tide

Coach: Mike Schmidt, 15th year.

Returning starters: Morgan Demrow, 5-10, sr., P (6.0 ppg); Spencer Stamm, 5-5, sr., G (4.0 ppg); Grace Schuman, 5-7, jr., G, (1.2 ppg).

Other returning letterwinners: Aleea Cleveland, 5-7, sr., G (1.2 ppg); Cassidy Danks, 5-10, jr., P (1.5 ppg); Lauren Radtke, 5-5, so., G (0.6 ppg).

Key fact: The Crimson Tide lost their top two scores to graduation: wing Bethany Oren and guard Jessica Danks, who provided 32 of the team’s 48.5 points per game last year.

The lowdown: Gregory says defense will be the cornerstone of the Crimson Tide’s rebuilding project, with scoring at a premium until new leaders develop. Young players will be counted upon to move into the lineup and provide experience.

Evansville Blue Devils

Coach: Tina Aasen, third year.

Returning starters: Paige Banks, 5-9, jr., G, (19.0 ppg); Abby Efternoff, 5-7, jr, G, (12.1 ppg); Leah Wagner, 5-11, sr., C (6.6 ppg); Josey Rhinehart, 5-10, so., C (5.5 ppg); McKenzie Fillner, jr., G (5.1 ppg).

Other returning letterwinners: Breana Sedelbach, jr., F (4.3 ppg).

Key fact: While the Blue Devils went 4-14 in league play last year, their regular lineup returns intact, giving Banks — sidelined late in the 2017-2018 regular season due to a concussion — a familiar crew to work with.

The lowdown: The Blue Devils hope to move up the Rock Valley ladder this season after gaining experience at every position last year. Banks will be the go-to scorer, with her ability to score from all spots on the floor, and Aasen expects an even bigger contribution from Efternoff this season.

Jefferson Eagles

Coach: Evan Hibbs, first year.

Returning starters: Olivia Ganser, 5-11, jr., F, (6.2 ppg).

Other returning letterwinners: Halle Peterson, 5-8, sr., W (1.5 ppg); Rachael Neitzel, 5-4, sr., W (1.2 ppg).

Key fact: Former Eagles coach Nick Mueller has become the boys basketball coach at Cedarburg, with Hibbs replacing him.

The lowdown: The Eagles lost six players from last year’s near-dream team to graduation. So Hibbs said he will depend upon a deep sophomore class, led by 5-10 point guard Ainsley Howard, 5-11 Josie Peterson and 5-8 Claire Beck, to help rebuild the lineup into a title challenger. Ganser will be the Eagles’ go-to player, and Hibbs will fashion a supporting cast from the other returning lettermen and the sophomores who make the transition to varsity play.

McFarland Spartans

Coach: Sara Mallegni, first year.

Returning starters: Katie Hildebrandt, 6-1, so., P (9.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.7 bpg); Ashley East, 6-0, sr. (6.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg); Annalise DeMuth, 5-10, sr., F (back from injury).

Other returning letterwinners: Freya Gilbertson, 5-6, jr. W, (3.6 ppg); Lindsey Lonigro, 5-7, so., PG (1.7 ppg); Morgan Butler, 5-8, so., W (3.4 ppg); Lydia Brandt, 5-8, so., W.

Key fact: Senior Annalise DeMuth is back after missing her junior season with a knee injury that resulted in two surgeries. She led the conference in scoring with 18 points per game as a sophomore, earning first-team all-league honors. However, Sydney Feldner is out with an injury at the start of this year.

The lowdown: Mallegni takes over as coach and welcomes DeMuth back to the fold. “We will be looking for her to use her basketball experience and knowledge to lead the team,” the coach said. The only other senior returnee is East, called “a strong rebounder and scorer” by Mallegni. The Spartans also feature a strong crew of younger players, including Lonigro at point guard — “I expect that she will become more of a scorer this year,” the coach said. — and sophomores Hildebrandt (“6-1 with the ability to play anywhere on the floor,” the coach said) and Butler. Gilbertson, a junior, will focus on defense, rebounding and chasing down loose balls.

Quotable: “This is a great team with lots of talent,” Mallegni said. “We will be working on team chemistry and getting players comfortable with each other. The key for us this year will be fundamentals.”


SIX RIVERS EAST CONFERENCE

2017-2018 STANDINGS

Team, Conf., All

Black Hawk, 12-0, 28-1

Argyle, 9-3, 17-6

Barneveld, 9-3, 13-11

Albany, 6-6, 10-14

Juda, 4-8, 8-13

Monticello, 2-10, 4-18

Pecatonica;0-12, 1-22

Top WIAA tournament performances: Black Hawk — Lost to Bangor, 39-29, in Division 5 state final; Argyle — Lost to Black Hawk, 79-47, in regional final.

RETURNING ALL-CONFERENCE PLAYERS

First team: Natalie Leuzinger, jr., Black Hawk (player of the year); Bailey Butler, so., Black Hawk; Jana Saalsaa, sr., Argyle; Hannah Butler, jr., Black Hawk.

Second team: Payton Zurfluh, sr., Albany; Kirsten Ostby, sr., Argyle; Libby Beck, sr., Albany.

Honorable mention: Alyssen Noriega, sr., Monticello; Natalie Allison, sr., Argyle.

COACHES’ FAVORITES

1, Black Hawk; 2, Argyle; 3, Albany.

CONFERENCE OVERVIEW

Black Hawk returns eight letterwinners, including three first-team all-conference picks from last year’s Division 5 state runner-up team: Junior Natalie Leuzinger (16.7 ppg), junior Hannah Butler (11.6 ppg) and sophomore Bailey Butler (15.5 ppg). … Argyle returns the bulk of its lineup under a new head coach, Nicole Allison, led by seniors Jana Saalsaa (20.2 ppg) and Kirsten Ostby (11.7 ppg). … Albany returns a pair of seniors who earned second-team all-league honors last year in 5-11 Libby Beck and 5-9 Payton Zurfluh.

TEAM CAPSULES

Barneveld Eagles

Coach: Chris Thousand, first year.

Returning starters: Britney Straubhaar, 5-6, jr., G (4.5 ppg).

Other returning letterwinners: Leah Marx, 5-9, so, W (4.5 ppg); Jacey Spring, 5-11, so., P (4.2 ppg).

Key fact: Thousand, a Barneveld High School graduate, formerly served as baseball coach at Lakeland College and more recently as an assistant at Edgewood College.

The lowdown: The Eagles’ top four scorers all were lost to graduation. With most of its scoring punch and defensive leadership lost to graduation, Thousand’s Eagles must rebuild with a lineup that features only three seniors: guard Kyla Ihm and forwards Audrey Hendrickson and Libby Oimoen. Straubhaar will shoulder more responsibility on offense and defense, and Spring will be counted upon for inside punch.


SOUTH CENTRAL CONFERENCE

2017-2018 STANDINGS

Team, Conf., All

Wisconsin Dells, 10-0, 25-2

Wautoma, 8-2, 17-6

Adams-Friendship, 5-5, 8-15

Nekoosa, 4-6, 6-17

Westfield, 2-8, 5-19

Mauston, 1-9, 6-17

Top WIAA tournament performances: Wisconsin Dells — Lost to Marshall, 58-47, in Division 3 state semifinal.

RETURNING ALL-CONFERENCE PLAYERS

First team: Kiara Wedell, sr., Wautoma; Katelyn Meister, sr., Wisconsin Dells; Bethany Smith, sr., Wisconsin Dells.

Second team: Maddy Weisenden, sr., Wautoma; Taylor Bignell, jr., Westfield.

COACHES’ FAVORITES

1, Wisconsin Dells; 2, Wautoma; 3, Westfield

TEAM CAPSULES

Wisconsin Dells Chiefs

Coach: Bob Buss, fifth year (100-23)

Returning starters: Katelyn Meister, 5-10, sr., G (19.8 ppg, 7.8 rpg); Jamie Pfeifer, 6-1, sr., F (7.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg); Bethany Smith, 5-5, sr., PG (6.0 ppg, 76 assists).

Other returning letterwinners: Grace Myklebust, 6-2, sr., F, (5.4 ppg); Lauren Myklebust, 6-2, sr., F, (2.7 ppg); Chloe Flock, 5-5, sr., G (1.8 ppg).

Key fact: Last year’s state tournament trip was the first in school history for the Chiefs, who lost to eventual champion Marshall in a semifinal. This year, the Chiefs and Cardinals are in the same sectional bracket.

The lowdown: Buss has led the Chiefs to the conference championship in each of his first four seasons, and led the team to state last year. In senior guard-forward Katelyn Meister, he has a top-shelf player to build this year’s roster around. The Michigan Tech recruit, a two-time unanimous all-conference pick, averaged almost 20 points and eight rebounds a game last year, and is expected to provide even stronger leadership this season. Smith, whose basketball sense drew praise from Buss, also was a unanimous first-team all-conference pick last season. Pfeifer gives the Chiefs valuable size and experience on the inside, and rises to the challenge of big games. And she’ll get plenty of help from Grace Myklebust and Lauren Myklebust, 6-2 twins who are expected to toughen up the Chiefs’ defense. Buss said the size will lead him to take a slower approach to the game than the run-and-swarm team did last season.

Quotable: “Last year we were really aggressive offensively and defensively. We had the quickness with Jenna (Mace, a guard now playing at Wisconsin Lutheran College) … The other girls are just going to fit in and take a bigger role on offense and defense,” Buss said.


SOUTHWEST WISCONSIN CONFERENCE

2017-2018 STANDINGS

Team, Conf., All

Dodgeville, 10-0, 21-3

Platteville, 8-2, 20-5

Prairie du Chien, 5-5, 12-11

Richland Center, 5-5, 14-9

River Valley, 1-9, 5-18

Lancaster, 1-9, 8-15

Top WIAA tournament performances: Platteville — Lost to Marshall, 78-67, in Division 3 sectional semifinal; Dodgeville — Lost to Jefferson, 50-37, in D3 regional final.

RETURNING ALL-CONFERENCE PLAYERS

First team: Sami Martin, 6-1, jr., Platteville; Olivia Argall, 5-9, so., Dodgeville; Gabby Ritchie, 6-2, sr., Prairie du Chien.

Second team: Josie Nies, 5-7, jr., Platteville; Gracie Adsit, 5-9, sr., Richland Center; Jojo Heimerl, 5-8, so., Dodgeville; Jenna Thomas, 5-11, sr., Richland Center; Macey Banasik, 5-5, so., Prairie du Chien; Becca Hoyer, 5-8, jr., Platteville; Devin Wagner, 5-7, sr., Lancaster.

Honorable mention: Izzy Carroll, 5-10, jr., Platteville; Kayla Monson, 6-0, sr., Richland Center; Riley Feiner, 6-0, sr., River Valley; Lydia Murphy, 5-6, sr., Lancaster.

COACHES’ FAVORITES

1, Platteville; 2, Richland Center; 3, Dodgeville.

CONFERENCE OVERVIEW

Platteville is the pick to unseat last year’s undefeated conference champ, Dodgeville. The Hillmen advance to the sectional semifinal last year before falling to eventual state champ Marshall. Back are three standout juniors: Sami Martin (15.7 ppg, 10 rpg, 2.2 spg), Becca Hoyer (9.4 ppg) and Josie Nies (9.4 ppg). … Richland Center hopes to welcome back a healthy Kayla Monson (10.9 ppg), after her junior season ended early with a knee injury. Also back are seniors Jenna Thomas (13.9 ppg, 10.4 rpg) and Gracie Adsit (8.3 ppg, 7 rpg). … Prairie du Chien senior Gabby Ritchie, a 6-2 who has committed to Minnesota State-Moorhead, joins sophomore guard Macey Banasik to lead the lineup. … Lancaster will be led by seniors Devin Wagner (9.8 ppg) and Lydia Murphy (10 ppg).

TEAM CAPSULES

Dodgeville Dodgers

Coach: Josh Busch, third year (29-18)

Returning starters: Olivia Argall, 5-9, so., F (14 ppg, 5 rpg, 2.2 apg, 2.4 spg); Jojo Heimerl, 5-8, so., G (9.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.2 spg); Amanda Ludwig, 5-6, jr., G (3.5 ppg); Grace Borne, 5-7, jr. G (4.8 ppg).

Other returning letterwinners: Taylor Borne, 5-6, sr. F (0.5 ppg); Samara Breuer, 5-6, sr., G (0.2 ppg); A.J. Phillips, 5-7, so., G (2.4 ppg).

Key fact: The Dodgers went undefeated in conference play last year, but lost conference player of the year Hannah Jones to graduation.

The lowdown: Four of the top six scorers from last year return, giving Busch plenty of experience players to build a new season around. Dodgeville is off to a 2-2 start to the season, and lost its conference opener to Richland Center last week, 53-48. Argall and Heimerl have carried more than their share of the load, as Argall has averaged 22.3 points and Heimerl 9.3 so far.

River Valley Blackhawks

Coach: Brent Johnson, fourth year (26-47)

Returning starters: Emily Briehl, 5-11, sr., F (6.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg); Jalyn Eastlick, 5-6, sr., G (4.9 ppg); Riley Feiner, 5-11, sr., F (8.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg); Ali Hoffman, 5-9, jr., F (3.8 ppg); Tienna Gruber, 5-9, jr., F (6 ppg, 4.6 rpg).

Key fact: The Blackhawks will have experience on their side with five returning starters, including all-conference honorable mention forward Feiner, who led the team in scoring last season.

The lowdown: River Valley went 5-18 overall and 1-9 in the conference last year, and was eliminated in the first round of regionals. Johnson is hopeful his returning upperclassmen have gained enough experience to elevate the Blackhawks to a competitive level. Two potential newcomers, junior forward Hope Ragels and sophomore guard Emily Esser, also are expected to contribute.

Quotable: “In order to compete in the SWC, we will have to develop depth to become a complete team. Our experienced players will need to play at a high level for us to become consistent each night,” Johnson said.


SWAL

2017-2018 STANDINGS

Team, Conf., All

Darlington, 13-1, 19-5

Cuba City, 12-2, 17-7

Mineral Point, 11-3, 17-7

Boscobel, 8-6, 17-7

Riverdale, 6-8, 11-11

Iowa-Grant, 2-12, 5-18

Fennimore, 1-13, 4-19

Top WIAA tournament performances: Darlington — Lost to La Crosse Aquinas, 73-36, in Division 4 sectional semifinal; Cuba City — Lost to La Crosse Aquinas, 76-26, in sectional semifinal; Mineral Point — Lost to Darlington, 57-53, in regional final.

RETURNING ALL-CONFERENCE PLAYERS

First team: Kaylee Meyers, 5-7, sr., Darlington; Elizabeth Misky, 5-6, sr., Cuba City; Kathleen Mathias, 5-9, sr., Darlington; Leah Wacker, 5-3, sr., Boscobel; Kiera Holzemer, 5-7, jr., Cuba City; McKenna Reichling, 5-5, sr., Mineral Point; Olivia Liddicoat, 5-7, jr., Iowa-Grant; Abby Budden, 6-1, jr., Southwestern.

Honorable mention: Dana Schmitz, sr., Mineral Point; Mara Aschliman, sr., Mineral Point; Tatum Johnson, sr., Riverdale; Courtney Busch, sr., Cuba City; Treena Knowles, jr., Boscobel; Brynlee Nelson, so., Fennimore.

COACHES’ FAVORITES

1, Darlington; 2, Cuba City; 3, Mineral Point

CONFERENCE OVERVIEW

Darlington won the championship last year and is favored again this year, unleashing reigning SWAL Player of the Year Kaylee Meyers once again. Meyers (17.6 ppg) and Kathleen Mathias (13.6 ppg) combined for more than 31 points per game last year. The Redbirds also have a 6-foot-5 forward in Allison Thompson. … Right on the Redbirds’ tail will be Cuba City, which returns the entire core of last year’s conference runner-up team, led by senior Elizabeth Misky. Iowa-Grant returns junior Olivia Liddicoat (16.6 ppg), Southwestern welcomes back junior Abby Budden (13.7 ppg, 14.7 rpg) and Boscobel will be led by senior Leah Wacker.

TEAM CAPSULES

Mineral Point Pointers

Coach: Matt Austin, first year.

Returning starters: McKenna Reichling, sr., (10 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 3.8 apg, 2.9 spg); Maya Aschliman, sr. (6.9 ppg); Dana Schmitz (5.2 ppg); Morgan James (5.8 ppg).

Other returning letterwinners: Nicole Johnson, 6-2, jr., P (5 ppg); Kyla Lindsey, sr., (6.8 ppg); Kaitlyn Kinch, sr. (5 ppg).

Key fact: Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame coach Mitch Wainwright stepped down as coach after last season to become high school principal and interim superintendent of the school district.

The lowdown: The Pointers have had some time to adjust to their coaching change, and Austin has no shortage of talent to turn loose against SWAL competitors. Reichling averaged 10 points per game and was an all-over-the-floor presence, and Aschliman, James and Schmitz were solid in their roles. Many other returning players have the chance to contribute with both scoring and defense. If Austin can set all the pieces into place, the Pointers should give the league favorites all they can handle.


TRAILWAYS SOUTH CONFERENCE

2017-2018 STANDINGS

Team, Conf., All

Palmyra-Eagle, 12-0, 17-6

Orfordville Parkview, 9-3, 10-13

Williams Bay, 8-4, 14-9

Deerfield, 6-6, 8-15

Madison Abundant Life, 5-7, 6-17

Johnson Creek, 2-10, 2-20

Madison Country Day;0-12, 1-22

RETURNING ALL-CONFERENCE PLAYERS

First team: Taylor Burrell, 5-10, jr., Orfordville Parkview; Maeya Bakke, 5-8, jr., Madison Abundant Life/St. Ambrose.

Second team: Rylie Thomas, 5-7, sr., Johnson Creek; Hunter Baars, 5-4, sr., Orfordville Parkview; Addy Schmiesing, 5-9, jr., Madison Abundant Life/St. Ambrose; Jayme Fischer, 5-6, sr., Deerfield.

Honorable mention: Rachel Mason, 5-9, sr., Palmyra-Eagle; Kristine Mumm, 5-9, sr., Orfordville Parkview; Kachi Iwuagwu, 5-8, jr., Madison Abundant Life/St. Ambrose.

COACHES’ FAVORITES

1, Palmyra-Eagle; 2, Orfordville Parkview; 3, Madison Abundant Life

CONFERENCE OVERVIEW

Palmyra-Eagle and Orfordville Parkview are again picked to battle for the conference championship, as Parkview returns Burrell and Baars and Palmyra-Eagle returns Mason and a deep lineup. Williams Bay, Deerfield and Madison Abundant Life/St. Ambrose should be in the hunt for a top-three spot.

TEAM CAPSULES

Deerfield Demons

Coach: Don Schindler, first year.

Returning starters: Jayme Fischer, sr., F/G (9.5 ppg); Sophia Cabral, 5-5, sr., G (3.2 ppg).

Other returning letterwinners: Hailey Eickhoff, so., F (0.6 ppg)

Key fact: Schindler, the Demons’ new head coach, spent two years coaching at Jefferson and three years with the Waterloo boys program. He is 57-55 overall.

The lowdown: It appears to be a rebuilding year for the Demons, who will base their offense on second-team all-conference returnee Fischer “and the progression of some of the underclassmen,” Schindler said. Fischer provides a balanced, all-around game and good basketball sense, and Schindler said Cabral is “a good shooter and scrappy player.”

Quotable: “I would hope we can finish in the top half of the conference. We have a tough non-conference schedule, which should prepare us for the conference come January,” Schindler said.

Johnson Creek Bluejays

Coach: Jake Wedig, second year (2-20)

Returning starters: Desirae Weihert, 5-1, sr., G (3.7 ppg, 1.5 rpg); Brooke Joseph, 5-3, jr., G (4.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg); Rylie Thomas, 5-7, sr., F (9.8 ppg, 8.5 rpg).

Other returning letterwinners: Morgan Toebe, 5-10, sr., F (2.8 ppg); Hannah Constable, 5-6, jr., G (0.8 ppg); Taylor Hallam, 5-5, sr., G (1.1 ppg); Jenna Edl, 5-4, sr., F (0.6 ppg); Brianna Berger, 5-6, jr., G (1.8 ppg); Kaylee Jablonski, 5-2, jr., G (1.1 ppg); Evelyn Mueller, 5-3, sr., F.

Key fact: Johnson Creek’s last state tournament trips came in three consecutive appearances in 1983, 1984 and 1985.

The lowdown: With three starters back, Wedig would like to see the Bluejays climb up the ladder in the Trailways South standings. Thomas will be the team’s spark plug after earning second-team all-conference honors last year. “I expect her to have a big senior season,” Wedig said. The coach added that Joseph “is going to see a lot of minutes for us. She is a workhorse and our best defender.” She had 79 steals last season.

Quotable: “I expect us to compete every single night. Palmyra and Parkview will be at the top of the conference again, but I expect us to compete and finish in the top four,” Wedig said.

Madison Country Day Prairie Hawks

Coach: Allison Dickman, first year

Returning regulars: Ella Lauten, 5-6, jr., F. (3.8 ppg); Isa Hernandez-White, 5-6, jr., G (6 ppg); KaiLin Hall, 5-6, jr., PG (5.2 ppg)

Key fact: Last year’s top scorer, Sara Singer (10.2 ppg), was lost to graduation, but the next three top scorers in the lineup return.

The lowdown: Dickman has set to work building a successful program at Country Day, though it might take some time to turn a roster without a single senior into a top challenger in the tough conference. The Prairie Hawks have taken their lumps in early games, with the long goal in mind.

Madison Abundant Life/St. Ambrose Challengers

Coach: Kayla Steeber, first year

Returning starters: Maeya Bakke, jr., G (10.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.1 apg, 2.9 spg, 1.1 bpg); Addy Schmiesing, jr., F (10.5 ppg, 6.6 rpg); Kachi Iwuagwu, jr., F (7.2 ppg).

Other returning letterwinners: Celine Schmiesing, sr., G (4.5 ppg); Alexis Okas, jr., G.

Key fact: Abundant Life is looking for a top-three finish in the conference race, which would be the best in the school’s time in the Trailways Conference.

The lowdown: Abundant Life appears ready to take on all challenges in the Trailways South behind two versatile all-conference honorees in Bakke and Schmiesing, and the power game of Iwuagwu.


TRAILWAYS WEST CONFERENCE

2017-2018 STANDINGS

Team, Conf., All

Fall River, 13-1, 22-2

Randolph, 11-3, 15-9

Markesan, 11-3, 16-8

Rio, 7-7, 13-9

Pardeeville, 6-8, 10-13

Princeton/Green Lake, 5-9, 9-14

Cambria-Friesland, 2-12, 5-18

Montello, 1-13, 3-18

Top WIAA tournament performances: Fall River — Lost to Waupun Central Wisconsin Christian, 42-38, in Division 5 regional final; Markesan — Lost to Cambridge, 54-45, in D4 regional final.

RETURNING ALL-CONFERENCE PLAYERS

First team: Alexandra Dornfeld, 5-11, sr., Markesan; Samantha Leisemann, 6-0, jr., Fall River; Jordyn Hutzler, 5-6, sr., Rio; Karlee Van Gysel, 5-6, sr., Fall River; Brianna Prieve, 5-8, jr., Randolph.

Second team: Callie Brouette, 5-5, jr., Pardeeville; Josie DeLapp, 5-9, jr., Pardeeville; Emerald Konkel, 5-10, so., Princeton/Green Lake; Lauren Winchell, 5-11, sr., Markesan; Katie Gulbrandson, 5-10, sr., Montello; Lily Alsum, 5-10, sr., Randolph.

Honorable mention: Chloe DeYoung, 5-8, sr., Cambria-Friesland; Hailey Kaenel, 5-8, jr., Montello; JoLea Woreck, 6-0, sr., Randolph; Maddie Gregorio, 5-10, jr., Fall River.

COACHES’ FAVORITES

1, Fall River; 2, Randolph; 3, Markesan.

CONFERENCE OVERVIEW

Fall River’s run of six consecutive conference championships (or shares) will come under fire this year, as Randolph and Markesan both field loaded lineups ready to take over the top spot. Coach Jim Doolittle’s teams return four of the five top scorers from last year’s sole conference champs, led by junior forward Samantha Leisemann (11.8 ppg) and senior guard Karlee Van Gysel (8.5 ppg). Randolph is led by junior Brianna Prieve (11.3 ppg) and senior Lily Alsum (9.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg), and Markesan brings back Winona State recruit Alex Dornfeld (18 ppg, 10 rpg) and Lauren Winchell (10 ppg). Rio brings back the high-scoring senior Jordyn Hutzler (17.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and junior McKenzie Sampson (9 ppg).

TEAM CAPSULES

Pardeeville Bulldogs

Coach: Michael Brouette,

Returning starters: Josie DeLapp, 5-10, jr., F (8.7 ppg, 8.9 rpg); Callie Brouette, 5-5, jr, G (8.5 ppg, 4.2 apg, 2.5 spg); Olivia Nedza, 5-4, sr., G (6 ppg).

Other returning letterwinners: Rylie Mussehl, 5-8, sr., W (9.1 ppg), Aspen Klubertanz, 6-2, jr., F (2.4 ppg); Skylar Lynch, 5-10, jr. F (1.3 ppg); Kaylin Johnson, 5-6, jr., F (0.9 ppg).

Key fact: DeLapp has opened this season strong, scoring 25 points in a loss to Waterloo last week.

The lowdown: If the Bulldogs are to rise in the Trailways West standings, they will need to develop some support players to take some of the scoring pressure off the shoulders of DeLapp. In the loss to Waterloo, DeLapp had 25 points but no other Bulldogs player scored more than seven, and the Bulldogs made only one 3-point basket. Still, coach Brouette believes experience and depth are squad strengths.

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Wisconsin State Journal prep sports editor Art Kabelowsky has traversed the state to cover sports while working for daily papers in Fort Atkinson, Racine, La Crosse, Milwaukee and Baraboo.