It was an interesting year in one way or another for four Jasper County girls basketball teams, and those seasons officially came to an end with the announcement of the Heart of Iowa Conference and South Iowa Cedar League all-conference lists.
A total of 15 girls were given all-conference honors, with three of those being given first team honors to put a positive end to seasons that fell short of the state tournament.
After not only starting, but usually playing nearly the entire game, all five of PCM's starters earned some form of all-conference recognition.
Sophomore Courtney Van Houweling was given the highest honor as a unanimous first-teamer after leading the team in scoring with 12.1 points per game. She also finished second on the team with 110 rebounds (5.5 average) and 66 assists while dealing with a broken nose in the early part of the year.
Landing on the second team were senior Kelsey Townsend and junior Abbi Gilson. Towsend finished third on the team in scoring with 9.8 points per game, but also filled up the stat sheet. She led the team in field goal percentage (48.9), 3-pointers made (26), assists (74), blocks (22) and rebounds (113). Gilson was right beside Townsend in most of those categories. She finished second on the team in scoring at 10.7 per game, second in field goal percentage (48.2) and third in rebounds with 103.
Rounding out the Mustangs’ selections on the honorable mention list were senior Krisha Houseman and junior Lexi Kain. Houseman led the conference and the team’s stout defensive effort with 78 steals on the year (around 3.5 per game), while also averaging 7.7 points per game, which was good for fourth on the team.
Providing most of the hustle plays throughout the season, Kain was also able to fill up the stat sheet. She averaged 5.2 points per game, but was also fourth on the team with 3.1 rebounds per game and 40 steals.
“All five starters received an all-conference honor, which I was very proud of,” PCM coach Bret Grier said. “It means the other coaches were aware of how well the girls played down the stretch. Even though this is an individual award, it really is a team achievement.”
Despite their youth, the Lynnville-Sully girls’ basketball team had a very successful 15-8 season, which was highlighted by a victory over previously undefeated North Mahaska. In addition to their success as a team, the Hawks found themselves all over the South Iowa Cedar League all-conference list.
The solo first-teamer on the Hawks was sophomore Lysandra James. James finished second on the team in scoring at 8.7 points per game. She was also the team’s leading rebounder, averaging just more than seven per game, which also put her eighth overall in the conference. It was a more than impressive sophomore campaign for James, who frequently called out plays on defense, and was often the emotional catalyst for sparking big runs for the Hawks. For a team predicated on defensive intensity, communication was crucial. James took that to heart and contributed immensely to the defensive energy that coach Jerry Hulsing preached about.
In addition to James, two Hawks found themselves on the honorable mention list. First, there was leading scorer junior Cassie Cullen (9.6 ppg). Cullen’s scoring and in particular her ability to finish in transition contributed to much of the Hawks’ successes on offense. A team with such defensive intensity needs to have someone that can finish opportunities on the fast break because they come so frequently. Cullen’s poise in transition allowed the team to convert many of their opportunities following turnovers. On the other end, Cullen’s 20 blocks led the team and were enough to place her in the top 10 of the conference.
The second Hawk to land on the honorable mention list for the SICL was sophomore Madison Rasmusson. Rasmusson was the main distributor for the Hawks this season with 49. Due to active hands and great footwork, she was also the team’s leader in steals with 56, placing her ninth in the conference.
Rasmusson was also fourth on the team in scoring with 5.6 points per game. Her ability to contribute in an array of different statistics allowed the rest of the team to focus on their strengths. She was also a team leader on defense with her intensity and ability to communicate.
Despite only playing in 12 games this year due to injury, junior Lyndsay Terpstra took home the conference’s coveted Golden Award. In her limited time, Terpstra averaged 7.1 points to go along with 2 steals per game for the Hawks. She was the team’s main threat from the perimeter. Her 14 3-pointers were second on the team to junior Jade Van Rees, despite Terpstra playing in 11 fewer games. Her percentage of 38.9 was good enough to place her third in the conference, and had she played in every game, it’s very likely she would have led the SICL in threes.
Collins-Maxwell-Baxter junior Abbie Haupert had one of the more eye-popping seasons in recent memory for the Raiders, and she was rewarded with a first team all-conference selection. Senior teammates Shelby Berg and Kayla Hennick each received honorable mention.
Haupert ended up at the top of multiple team statistics, including points per game (12.6), field goal percentage (43.7), steals (65), rebounds (227, average of 9.5) and blocks (88). Her block and rebound totals were first and second in the conference, respectively, and she also set school records for blocks in a season, career blocks and career rebounds.
Berg, who recently signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Grand View University, wrapped up her versatile career with a strong season. On top of averaging 10.6 points per game, which was second on the team, Berg also led the conference with 84 assists. Her 162 total rebounds (6.8 average) were good for second on the team, as was her 33.4 field goal percentage.
Once described as a defensive pest by coach Eric Padget, Hennick lived up to that reputation this season. Her 63 steals were good for second on the team and sixth overall in the conference. On the other side of the floor, she averaged an even seven points per game and was second on the team with 20 made 3-pointers and third in assists with 41.
The Tigerhawks of Colfax-Mingo had a very frustrating season, but that does not mean there weren’t some terrific individual performances along the way. Three Tigerhawks received honors when the Heart of Iowa all-conference teams were released.
Not surprisingly, senior Nicolette Husson landed on the first team. Husson was first in the conference in rebounding at 12.6 per game, third in scoring with 15.7 points per game and second in blocks with 64. Those 64 blocks were 59 more than any other C-M player. She was the lone player this season in the Heart of Iowa Conference to average a double-double. On more than one occasion, she was able to put the team on her back at both ends of the floor to put away victories for the Tigerhawks. Her imposing height and soft touch made her nearly unguardable in the post. She was a tough matchup defensively as well. She changed shots frequently with her long arms, forcing misses on what would have been easy buckets otherwise.
Senior Sydnie Fahrney and junior Jade Lewis also made the all conference list in the honorable mention category. Fahrney was the team’s second leading scorer, averaging just more than five points per game. She was also a threat from the outside, hitting 15 threes on the season to tie for the team lead. Fahrney’s active hands forced 25 steals, also second on the team. She was also third on the team in rebounding with more than three per game.
Lewis started most games alongside Husson as her partner in the paint. Lewis was the second leading rebounder for the Tigerhawks with just slightly less than five per game. She also forced 20 steals, third on the team, and shot 30 percent from long range, which led the team.