Minooka winning a third straight Class 4A regional was probably the highlight of the area prep girls basketball season, though Coal City's 23-7 record was easily the best.
The teams combined to land nine players on the 2013 Morris Daily Herald All-Area Girls Basketball team, which is supplemented by multiple players from Gardner-South Wilmington, Morris and Seneca.
Chelsea Schultz, GSW
Now a two-time team MVP and All-Conference pick in the River Valley, Schultz set five program free-throw records — most makes (112), most attempts (170) and highest percentage (66) in a season, and most makes (15) and attempts (21) in a game. Her 16.3 points per game led the area, she made 38 three-pointers and she added 76 three-pointers, 42 assists and 57 rebounds.
"Excellent ball handler," GSW coach Adam Leigh said. "I have yet to see someone else in girls high school basketball that could handle the ball as good as she could. Teams rarely pressed us because they almost never worked against Chelsea. She was that dominant with the ball."
Emily Halliday, Coal City
The 2013 MDH All-Area Player of the Year averaged 13.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game while totaling 59 assists and 75 steals. She was All-Conference in the Interstate Eight and All-Tournament at Beecher, Lisle and in the I-8 Tournament.
"Our go-to player when we need a basket," Coal City coach Brad Schmitt said. "One of the best athletes in the conference. Can score in a variety of ways and she proved that again this year. Improved from a year ago because she has a tremendous work ethic. Great defender, true competitor."
Julie Jurasits, Morris
On 12 occasions, Jurasits was the leading scorer for the Redskins, and her 9.3 points per game led the team, as did her 23 three-pointers and 170 rebounds. She also had 30 steals, 16 assists and 13 blocked shots and was honorable mention All-Conference in the Northern Illinois Big 12 and All-Tournament at Prairie Central.
"Julie was a go-to person when we needed a bucket," Morris coach Luke Windy said. "She made tremendous strides this year, and the sky is the limit with her. She is going to be really special these next couple of years."
Donjeta Shabani, Coal City
Shabani was the top rebounder for the Lady Coalers with 6.0 per game. She added 9.0 points per game, totaled 48 steals, was All-Conference in the I-8 and made All-Tournament at Beecher and in the I-8.
"Much improved from a year ago and was out to prove that this year," Schmitt said. "Our best post player who was always looked at to carry us offensively each game. Pretty versatile player, scores in transition and in our half-court sets. My opinion, one of the most athletic post players in the conference."
Larissa McLemen, Minooka
The University of St. Francis-bound McLemen led the Indians with 372 points, averaging 11.6 per game. She also led them in rebounds with 209, averaging 6.5 per game, was All-Conference in the Southwest Prairie and was All-tournament at Oswego and West Aurora/Waubonsie Valley.
"I have never coached a post player with the non-stop energy that Larissa has," Minooka coach Ray Liberatore said. "Through hard work and determination, she improved in every aspect of her game to become our most valuable player this year."
Sydney Lilly, Minooka
Lilly averaged 3.7 assists per game, totaling 115, to lead the area. As a 5-5 point guard, she also contributed nearly 100 rebounds on the season as she rarely left the floor.
"Sydney was the heart of our team," Liberatore said. "She had the ball in her hands most of the time we were on offense, and her unselfish play set the tone for the rest of the team."
Chelsie McCormick, Seneca
With 241 points — 8.0 per game — and 61 assists, McCormick led the Lady Irish in both categories. She also grabbed 81 rebounds, had 77 steals, made 19 three-pointers and was All-Conference in the I-8.
"Chelsie became more of an offensive threat as the season progressed," Seneca coach Barb Beck said. "She as able to see the court and find the open person when she was stopped by the defender."
Erin Heide, Minooka
A stress fracture limited Heide to 15 games, in which the Indians were 8-7 — they were 6-11 without her. She was a 77 percent free-throw shooter in 43 attempts and averaged 8.9 points per game when she did play.
"Erin's return was one of the bigger reasons why we won another regional," Liberatore said.
Danielle Hauch, Seneca
Hauch led the Lady Irish in rebounds with 117 and averaged 7.2 points per game, which ranked second on the team. She was All-Conference in the I-8 and All-Tournament at St. Bede.
"The mid-range shot for Danielle was key to her offense," Beck said. "You could see her confidence grow in each game as the season progressed."
Kate Friend, Morris
In just 15 games before suffering an ACL injury, Friend compiled 112 rebounds for an area-best average of 7.5 per game. She scored 8.2 points per game, averaged 1.5 assists and 1.3 steals and was All-Tournament at Prairie Central.
"Before she got hurt right after Christmas, she was our leader — scoring, defense and being a vocal leader," Windy said. "She is not afraid to do the dirty work and will do whatever she can to help the team win."
COAL CITY — Sophomore guard Nicole Borgetti, who made a school-record 64 three-pointers, scored 8.5 points per game and was All-Conference in the I-8. "A true three-point threat that you had to try and stop," Schmitt said. ... Junior forward Britta Spelde, who averaged 6.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game while totaling 69 assists and 47 steals. "Excellent passer, well-rounded post player," Schmitt said. ... Junior guard Brittany Jezik, whose 117 assists led the team and whose 67 steals ranked second. "Did exactly what we needed our point guard to do this year," Schmitt said. GSW — Junior forward Breann Fisher, who led the Lady Panthers with 179 rebounds, 85 of which were offensive, and scored 7.4 points per game. "She was our most reliable inside threat," Leigh said. MINOOKA — Sophomore forward Kelly Carnagio, who averaged 5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. "As her minutes went up, her rebounding and scoring showed marked increases," Liberatore said. MORRIS — Freshman guard Leona Burton, who was honorable mention All-Conference in the NIB12 and averaged 7.0 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. "She played mostly injured this year, and it's going to be scary on how good she can be when she is healthy," Windy said. ... Senior guard Sydney Corrigan, who led Morris with 2.4 assists per game and took 15 charges. "Didn't score much but did everything else for us," Windy said. SENECA — Senior guard Courtney Helms, who led the Lady Irish with 96 steals, scored 3.7 points per game and was honorable mention All-Conference in the I-8. "We could count on her giving the ball handler as much pressure as she could throughout the game," Beck said.