Hamilton, Flood among All-Big Eight elite
When it comes to state high school girls basketball, the talent in the Big Eight Conference remains near the top.
And Janesville Craig and Janesville Parker produce some of that top talent.
Craig High’s Amanda Hamilton and Parker’s Danielle Flood were both selected to the All-Big Eight first team. Joining Flood and Hamilton on the first team are Middleton senior Kerry Gardner, Madison East junior Makailah Dyer and Verona junior Ashley Bartow.
Gardner, the Player of the Year for the second straight season, is a repeat first-team selection along with Flood and Dyer.
The 5-foot-3 Hamilton led the Cougars to an impressive 20-5 season, including a berth in the WIAA Division 1 sectional title game. The senior and Clarke University (Iowa) recruit scored 226 conference points and was an 81 percent free-throw shooter.
“Amanda was the glue to our team,” Craig coach Kerry Storbakken said. “I sat down with her before the season and told her that her job was to make the other four players on the court better, and that’s what she did.
“She was very unselfish and could’ve scored a lot more points if she wanted to. By letting the game come to her and not rushing anything, Amanda had a great senior season and is a big reason we were 20-5.”
Flood, a 5-7 senior and Minnesota-Duluth recruit, led Parker with 273 conference points. She scored the third-most points in a single game in school history with a 38-point outburst against Madison West this season and averaged 14.6 points per game for the season.
“With the amount of time and work that Danielle put in, it’s (all-conference) a nice reward,” Parker coach Tom Klawitter said. “I think her production, and the work she did in the four years she was with us, didn’t go unnoticed.
“And when her teammate (Savannah Shepler) went down with the injury, I thought Danielle really responded this season when we really needed her to.”
Gardner earned back-to-back Player of the Year honors by leading Middleton to an unbeaten conference season and a runner-up finish in the state in Division 1.
Both Klawitter and Storbakken felt Gardner deserved the POY honor, despite that Dyer is a University of Wisconsin recruit and the league’s top scorer with 306 points.
“Most of our coaches saw that Gardner’s all-around game and her style of play made her stand out far more than anyone else,” Klawitter said. “All you had to do was watch the state tournament on TV to see what a special player she was.”
Craig senior Emily Hinman was named to the second team, while Parker sophomore Ashley Hartwig was a third-team selection.
All-Big Eight girls basketball
Hgt. Yr. Pts.
Kerry Gardner, Middleton 5-8 Sr. 211
Makailah Dyer, East 5-9 Jr. 306
Amanda Hamilton, Craig 5-3 Sr. 226
Ashley Bartow, Verona 5-10 Jr. 280
Danielle Flood, Parker 5-7 Sr. 273
Nyakour Deang, East 5-11 Sr. 192
Adrianna Stephens, La Follette 5-5 Sr. 234
Rachael Eklund, Middleton 5-11 Sr. 194
McKayla Yentz, Sun Prairie 5-10 Soph. 228
Emily Hinman, Craig 5-11 Sr. 190
Ashley Hartwig, Parker 5-10 Soph. 236
Clare Gloede, La Follette 5-6 Jr. 223
Dominique Golz, Memorial 5-10 Sr. 212
Kirsten Gunderson, Middleton 5-8 Jr. 158
Rachel Cropp, Verona 5-6 Sr. 154
Player of the Year—Kerry Gardner, Middleton.
Coach of the Year—Jeff Kind, Middleton.
Beloit Memorial—Artasia Gill, sr.; Middleton—Mika Passini, jr.; West—Regina McClarn, jr.
Middleton, 18-0; Janesville Craig, 14-4; Verona, 13-5; Janesville Parker, 11-7; Madison East, 11-7; Beloit Memorial, 5-13; Madison West, 4-12; Sun Prairie, 2-16; Madison Memorial, 0-18.