Rock Valley leads way on all-star team
This past season, Rock Valley North champion Edgerton advanced to a sectional semifinal game. Rock Valley South champion Brodhead jolted defending and nine-time state champion Cuba City by beating the Cubans in a regular-season game.
Want more proof of the conference’s rise?
Four of the nine players on the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division 3 South all-star team roster are from the Rock Valley. The South team, which includes Edgerton’s Meggie Schmidt, Walworth Big Foot’s Courtney Spangler, Orfordville Parkview’s Stephanie Aasen and Beloit Turner’s Megan Grover, plays the North at 12:30 p.m. Friday at the UW Field House in Madison. Parkview’s Tina Aasen is the South’s head coach.
“I think it says a lot about our conference when you look at the roster I have and the success that some of our teams had last season,” coach Aasen said. “I don’t remember the last time a team from our conference made it to sectional, like Edgerton did. At some point, it seemed like you had to play Cuba City to even get out of the regional.’’
Jefferson, of course, came out of the Rock Valley to win the Division 3 state championship in 2005 with Lynn Zastrow and Caitlin Gibson, two future Wisconsin Badgers. The conference strength has been building ever since.
“It also says a lot about the job our coaches are doing preparing the kids and making them better. And certainly, you have to give credit to the kids. They start playing at a younger age and are a lot more skilled now when they get to high school than they’ve ever been.”
All four of the Rock Valley players on the South roster had exceptional senior seasons, starting with Schmidt and Aasen. Schmidt was Player of the Year in the Rock Valley North after leading the Crimson Tide to its first conference title and a sectional berth. The Unveristy of Dubuquey (Iowa) recruit averaged 17.3 points, 4.2 assists and an astounding 5.7 steals per game.
Aasen, a Clarke University (Iowa) recruit, was Player of the Year in the Rock Valley South after a season in which she averaged 18.7 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. She also gets one last chance this week to play for her mother, Tina.
“I’m just trying to enjoy the whole week,” Stephanie said. “It’s an opportunity to meet some new friends, and of course, play for my mom. Next year, I’ll be playing for a guy coach. My mom’s always been my coach.
“But it’s also preparing to play a game. We want to win, and I think we’ve got the talent to do that.”
Spangler, who averaged a double/double last season and will play at Madison Area Technical College, agreed with Stephanie’s assessment of the South squad.
“It’s fun to play with people you’re used to playing against,” Spangler said of her Rock Valley teammates. “I knew we’d have a really good team when I looked at the roster, and now that we’ve practiced a few times, I think we’re even better than I thought we’d be.”
Grover led all players on the South roster with a 20.2 scoring average last season, but will concentrate on school at UW-Milwaukee in the fall. That makes Saturday one last hurrah for the shooting guard.
“This is a great learning experience, but winning is still important,” Grover said.
Coach Aasen, who has been the head coach at Parkview for 15 years, has one simple goal for Friday’s game.
“I told the girls that my goal is to score 90 points,” coach Aasen said. “That means every girl scores 10 points. And with the talent I have on the roster, I think that’s possible.”
That’s especially true when nearly half the talent belongs to the up-and-coming Rock Valley Conference.
Last updated: 5:39 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012