The 2021 Gazette all-area girls basketball team has plenty of star power.
The five players on our team not only excelled during a COVID-19-driven season, but they made their selections to the all-area team easy thanks to eye-popping stats on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor.
Joining area player of the year Kacie Carollo, of Whitewater, on the all-area team are: Craig sophomore Ellie Magestro-Kennedy and junior Kate Huml; Brodhead sophomore Abbie Dix; and Beloit Turner senior Olivia Tinder. Carollo and Huml are both repeat selections.
With two more years ahead of her at Brodhead, Dix has a bright future. The 6-foot center has already drawn Division I college interest from state schools Wisconsin, Marquette and UW-Milwaukee thanks to a strong summer campaign on the AAU circuit and a solid sophomore season. She finished third in the Rock Valley in scoring at 17.7 points a game and third in rebounds with 9.7 a game and was a first-team all-conference selection.
Dix had a career-high 30 points in a win over East Troy and had five games of 24 points or more.
“Abbie was a key ingredient in our success this year,” Brodhead coach Brian Kammerer said. “She is a very athletic player that is working on extending her game towards the perimeter, as well.
“I can’t wait to see what this kid can do the next few years, as the sky’s the limit. Abbie will continue to work hard to improve her game and will get even better as the years go on.”
Whitewater coach Kristen Lippens said two more years of game-planning to stop Dix will be a difficult task.
“Abbie is a very talented, strong player that dominates the game, often needing to be double-teamed to stop her from scoring,” Lippens said. “She will continue to be the focus of scouting reports as a leader in scoring and rebounding for our conference the next two years.”
Huml was an easy choice on this team for the second straight year. The 5-7 shooting guard averaged 12.6 points a game and has drawn the label as a clutch performer in crunch time. She beat Lake Geneva Badger with a buzzer-beater during the season and scored 20 points in the second half and hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to force a second overtime in a loss to state-ranked Marshall.
Huml has the best jump shot in the area, bar none, and did not need to score as much as she could have for a Craig team that had four players average in double figures scoring.
“Kate is a pure shooter and one of the best in the Big Eight,” Craig coach Kerry Storbakken said. “She can create her own shot off the dribble and has one of the best mid-range jumpers I have seen. The mid-range shot is a lost art in basketball.”
Janesville Parker coach Jennah Hartwig said Huml is tough to guard because of her ever-improving skill set.
“Kate is such a skilled player,” Hartwig said. “She’s hard to defend because she’s a great passer, has moves to get around defenders and has a dangerous pull-up. She clearly put in a huge amount of time in the gym this past year.”
Huml’s teammate, Magestro-Kennedy, ran the show for the Cougars. The 5-7 point guard is another player on the all-area team that took her game to the next level thanks to a strong summer playing AAU basketball. Magestro-Kennedy has already been offered a scholarship to play for Division I University of North Dakota.
Magestro-Kennedy averaged 12.9 points and four assists a game and had a career-high 25 points in a win over Badger.
“Magestro-Kennedy is so quick,” Hartwig said. “She plays hard and fast. She’s got a deadly jump shot, and if you choose to close out on her, she’ll blow right by you and get to the rim.
“I wish Huml and Magestro-Kennedy were both seniors, because it’s not going to be fun to defend them next season.”
Storbakken said Magestro-Kennedy’s energy and basketball IQ on the court made her stand out.
“Ellie loves to compete and hates to lose,” Storbakken said. “She makes other players on our team better, and she takes no plays off in games or practice.”
Tinder did it all for the Trojans. The 5-7 forward led the team in scoring at 13.3 a game, rebounds at 9.8 and assists at 2.6. Her 9.8 rebounds a game were second in the Rock Valley and helped her earn a spot on the all-conference first team.
Tinder eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for her career during a victory over Williams Bay in December. She scored in double figures in all but three of 20 games and helped the Trojans to a successful 13-7 season.
“I saw this girl play traveling basketball in middle school and knew she would create a problem for opponents when she got to high school,” Kammerer said. “Good players make everyone around you better, and that’s what Olivia did. She could score inside and out and always caused us to have to try and double her upon ball touches, but then she would unselfishly find an open teammate for a score.”