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Prep girls basketball photo: McFarland's Katie Rounds blocked by Whitewater's Myriama Smith-Traore

Whitewater senior Myriama Smith-Traore (35) blocks the shot of McFarland junior Katie Rounds as teammates Miranda Reynolds (33) and Rebekah Schumacher look on during the second half of Whitewater's 61-40 Rock Valley Conference win at Whitewater High School in Whitewater, Wis. Friday, Jan. 27, 2017. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL

ROCK VALLEY CONFERENCE

2016-2017 NORTH STANDINGS

Team: Conf. W-L, Overall W-L

Whitewater: 16-0, 23-2

McFarland: 14-2, 18-6

Edgerton: 6-10, 18-6

East Troy: 6-10, 10-13

Jefferson: 5-11, 9-15

Evansville: 1-15, 2-20

Top WIAA tournament performances: Whitewater — Lost to Madison Edgewood, 61-48, in Division 3 sectional semifinal. McFarland — Lost to Wilmot, 64-59, in Division 2 regional final. Edgerton — Lost to Madison Edgewood, 69-31, in Division 3 regional final.

RETURNING ALL-CONFERENCE PLAYERS

First team North: Annalise DeMuth, 5-10, jr., McFarland; Gabi Runde, 5-7, sr., McFarland; Bethany Oren, 5-11, sr., Edgerton.

Second team North: Callie Morrison, 5-6, sr., Jefferson; Erin Rice 5-6, jr., East Troy; Ashlyn Oren, 5-7, sr., Edgerton; Katie Rounds, 6-0, sr., McFarland.

Honorable mention North: Leah Wagner, 5-11, jr., Evansville; Ali Ketterhagen, 5-9, sr., Whitewater; Miranda Reynolds, 5-9, sr., Whitewater; Mary Zahn, 5-3, sr., McFarland; Parker Fetherston, 5-5, sr., Jefferson; Mackenzie Lindow, 5-6, jr., East Troy; Jessica Danks, 5-6, sr., Edgerton.

COACHES’ FAVORITES

1, McFarland; 2, Walworth Big Foot; 3, Whitewater.

NOTABLE

With the departure of Orfordville Parkview and Palmyra-Eagle to the Trailways Conference, the Rock Valley no longer is split into North and South divisions and instead will play as a single, 10-team division with 18 conference games.

TEAM CAPSULES

Edgerton Crimson Tide

Coach: Mike Schmidt, 14th year.

Returning starters: Bethany Oren, 6-0, sr., F/G, 13.2 ppg; Jessica Danks, 5-6, sr., G, 10.4 ppg.

Other returning letterwinners: Katie Shaw, 5-9, sr., F, 1.3 ppg; Spencer Stamm, 5-5, jr., G, 1.3 ppg; Emma Fox, 5-6, jr., G, 0.7 ppg.

Key fact: Edgerton will have to replace Kellan Schmidt (UW-Stevens Point), who played in 96 consecutive varsity games.

The lowdown: The Crimson Tide finished 12-4 in conference last year, good for third place, and look to be contending for a championship once again. Senior Bethany Oren made first team all-conference last season. Oren will need to help carry the load with fellow senior Jessica Danks after losing three starters.

Evansville Blue Devils

Coach: Tina Aasen, second year (2-20)

Returning starters: Leah Wagner, 5-11, jr., F; Paige Banks, so., G.

Other returning letterwinners: Irelyn Baumberger, 5-8, jr., G; Meaghan Tiedt, so.

Key fact: Coach Tina Aasen also has previous head coaching experience at Orfordville Parkview and Beloit Memorial.

The lowdown: The Blue Devils are rebuilding after finishing 2-20 last season. Sophomore Paige Banks should improve off her varsity playing time and junior Leah Wagner was an honorable mention all-conference selection a season ago.

Jefferson Eagles

Coach: Nick Mueller, 2nd year (22-26)

Returning starters (5): Callie Morrison, 5-6, sr., G, (15.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2 spg); Parker Fetherson, 5-5, sr., G, (13.6 ppg, 2.9 spg); Jackie Luengas, 5-2, sr., G, (5.3 ppg); Emilee Truman, 5-9, sr., F, (5.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg); Olivia Ganser, 5-11, so., F, (3.3 ppg).

Other returning letterwinners (4): Halle Peterson, 5-8, jr., F, (2.6 ppg); Skylar Burns, 5-9, sr., F, (2.5 ppg); Rylee Powell, 5-6, sr., G; Rachael Neitzel, 5-4, jr., G.

Key fact: The Eagles return Callie Morrison and Parker Fetherson, both of whom are four year varsity players. Last year Morrison lead the team in scoring, rebounding and assists while Fetherson lead in steals and was second to Callie in scoring and assists. Morrison was named second team all conference and Fetherson was named an honorable mention.

The lowdown: The Eagles will begin this season with the same one that they ended last season with. They are a veteran group with a lot of experience who will have their eyes set on the Rock Valley North conference title.

Quotable: “After my first two years as being the head coach, this year should be our most competitive team and best chance to win a conference title.”

McFarland Spartans

Coach: Pete Williquette, fifth year (59-37)

Returning starters (3): Katie Rounds, 6-0, sr., C, (16 ppg); Gabi Runde, 5-7, sr., G, (12.5 ppg); Mary Zahn, 5-3, sr., G, (4.5 ppg).

Other returning letterwinners (1): Sophie Quelle, 5-5, sr., G, (1.2 ppg, 1.4 rpg).

Key fact: Seniors Katie Rounds and Gabi Runde have combined to make 146 three-pointers in their careers.

The lowdown: The Spartans bring back a bevy of experience with three returning starters including first team all-conference guard Gabi Runde (12.5 ppg) and second team center Katie Rounds (16 ppg). McFarland will have to replace junior Annalise DeMuth (18 ppg) after she tore her ACL in the off-season. Look for seniors Mary Zahn and Sophie Quelle to step up to fill the void.

Quotable: “McFarland will look to try and compete with the likes of conference juggernaut Whitewater as well as Big Foot. In order for us to be at that level we will need to consistently bring energy defensively and take care of the ball on offense.”

AROUND THE LEAGUE

Walworth Big Foot will be led by senior Peyton Courier (10.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and sophomore Reagan Courier (10.7 ppg). What’s more, the Chiefs return Courtney Schoenbeck, who missed most of the 2016-2017 season with a knee injury. … Whitewater’s run of four consecutive Rock Valley North titles is in jeopardy with the departure of Myriama Smith-Traore, now at Marquette University, and Rebekah Schumacher from the Whippets’ 2015 state championship team. Three starters are back, though top returning scorer Ali Ketterhagen (9 ppg) will miss the early portion of the season with a knee injury. … Brodhead will be led by senior Erin Nyhus (16.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg), last year’s Rock Valley South Player of the Year. … East Troy returns its top two scorers in juniors Erin Rice (13 ppg) and MacKenzie Lindow (12 ppg). … Clinton lost four of its top five scorers to graduation but returns sophomore Liz Kalk (7 ppg). … Beloit Turner was hit hard by graduation but will be led by senior Carsen Nitz (13 ppg, 7 rpg).

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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.