Morris Daily Herald area varsity girls basketball teams won 109 games and lost 53 this season. Four of the six finished with winning records.
The success has created plenty of competition for the 15 regular spots on the 2014 Morris Daily Herald All-Area girls basketball team, which is presented below.
Erin Heide, Minooka
While scoring a Minooka-high 14.9 points per game, Heide shot a tick below 50 percent on 2-pointers (79-for-160) and a tick below 40 percent on 3s (58-for-147). She was a 66 percent shooter (71-for-108) at the foul line. Heide had 60 assists to just 61 turnovers, added 3.6 rebounds per game, was All-Conference in the Southwest Prairie and was All-Tournament at Waubonsie Valley and Lincoln-Way East.
“Played for three regional championship teams,” Minooka coach Ray Liberatore said. “For someone who played as well as she did this year, I felt she never put herself before the team.”
Emily Halliday, Coal City
A third-time All-Conference selection in the Interstate Eight and a fourth-year starter, Halliday averaged 14.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game while shooting nearly 70 percent (92-for-133) at the free-throw line. She totaled 76 steals, 40 assists and 31 3-pointers made and was All-Tournament at Beecher, Lisle and the I-8 tournament.
“Our go-to player when we needed a basket,” Coal City coach Brad Schmitt said. “One of the best all-around athletes I have coached. Can score in a variety of ways, and she proved that again this year. Great defender, true competitor. Led us in whatever category we needed her to that night.”
Julie Jurasits, Morris
The area’s leading scorer (15.7 PPG) and rebounder (8.8 RPG), Jurasits shot over 47 percent (163-for-345) from the field and made 30 3-pointers. She also totaled 22 assists, 41 steals and 28 blocks, was All-Conference in the Northern Illinois Big 12 East, All-Tournament at Prairie Central and Ottawa and the Redskins’ MVP.
“Julie is an outstanding basketball player,” Morris coach Kate Carey said. “She is a scoring threat from any spot on the floor and a dominant rebounder.”
Britta Spelde, Coal City
In Spelde’s fourth varsity season, she was All-Conference in the I-8 for a second time and All-Tournament at Beecher and the conference tournament. She led the Lady Coalers in rebounds with 5.9 per game and was second in both scoring average (11.0 PPG) and assists (75). Spelde also had 59 steals and was a 67.7 percent free-throw shooter.
“Much improved from a year ago,” Schmitt said. “Our best post player who was always asked to carry us offensively each game. Pretty versatile player, scores in transition and in our half-court sets. Very good passer. Great defender for her size as well.”
Kelly Carnagio, Minooka
Carnagio was third in the area in rebounding average (6.3 per game) and was its most accurate shooter for anyone with near her volume, making 59 percent (120-for-202) of her field-goal attempts. She also made 64 percent of her free throws (82-for-128), averaged 11.9 PPG, was All Conference in the SPC and All-Tournament at Waubonsie Valley.
“Was the consistent inside scorer we hoped she would be,” Liberatore said. “Kelly’s shooting improved a lot this year through hard work.”
Mallory Misener, Seneca
Seneca’s only double-digit scorer, Misener averaged 10.6 PPG as its point guard while making 22 3-pointers and nearly 65 percent (77-for-119) of her free throws. The All-Conference pick in the I-8 also tied for the team lead in steals with 66, was second in assists with 48 and totaled 46 rebounds.
“She was able to create some shots when we ran up against some great defensive teams,” Seneca coach Barb Beck said. “She found away to get to the rim or to the line. She showed a lot of improvement from last year to this year and pushed this team offensively every night.”
Danielle Hauch, Seneca
An All-Conference selection in the I-8 for the second time, Hauch contributed in many categories for the Lady Irish, even if she led them in none. She was second on the team in scoring (9.9 PPG0, second in rebounds (149), third in assists (45) and third in steals (47).
“She was usually assigned the toughest defensive jobs each game. It is that part of her game which I felt [she] brought the most to this team’s success,” Beck said. “Danielle, in my mind, was our most balanced player in all aspects of the game. If she didn’t do it offensively, she was doing it in some other aspect of the game.”
Sydney Arlis, Minooka
Arlis had 66 assists and just 20 turnovers while playing in all 27 of the Indians’ games. She averaged 5.2 PPG while making more than half of her field goals (53-for-105) and grabbed 5.0 rebounds per game.
“Sydney had the best assist-to-turnover ratio of anyone I’ve ever coached,” Liberatore said. “Does all the little things you need to win basketball games.”
Anna Baker, Seneca
With an average of 6.2 rebounds per game and 54 total blocks, Baker led the Lady Irish in both categories. She made nearly 52 percent of her field goals (84-for-162) while scoring 8.3 points per game, was a 66.1 percent free-throw shooter (74-for-112), added 66 steals and 41 assists and was All-Conference in the I-8.
“Anna has a way of using her length to knock balls loose on defense or block shots,” Beck said. “At 5-10, there were nights you would have thought she was a lot taller. Being able to hit the mid-range jumper or drive if she was overplayed was a big improvement in her game.”
Jasmine Mitchell, Newark
Newark’s leading scorer at 10.8 PPG, Mitchell made nearly 56 percent (126-for-228) of her field-goal attempts and averaged nearly six rebounds per game. She totaled 34 blocked shots, 27 assists and 27 steals, was a unanimous All-Conference selection in the Little Ten and was All-Tournament at Lisle.
“One of the most talented freshmen in the area,” Newark coach Brian Holman said. “Started all but one game — senior night — on varsity this year.”
Brittany Jezik, Coal City
The area’s leader in assists with 108, Jezik also had a Coal City-high 80 steals. She averaged 4.6 points and 3.1 rebounds per game and was All-Tournament at Beecher.
“’Great defender; applies a tremendous amount of ball pressure and will disrupt you offensively if you let her,” Schmitt said. “Did exactly what we needed our point guard to do this year. Got everybody involved, and is truly an unselfish player who knows what it takes to make her team successful. ... When we needed her to score, she did.”
Lexi Posing, GSW
Posing averaged 8.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, helping her earn Gardner-South Wilmington MVP and first-team River Valley All-Conference honors. She also averaged around two assists and two steals per game and was All-Tournament at Iroquois West.
“Lexi was our most reliable and consistent player,” GSW coach Adam Leigh said. “She played point guard for us and did a nice job of taking care of the ball all year.”
Nicole Borgetti, Coal City
With a second-best-in-the-area 55 3-pointers made, Borgetti shot her way onto the All-Conference team in the I-8 for a second time. She averaged 8.0 PPG, totaled 50 steals and 40 assists and was All-Tournament at Beecher and Lisle.
“A true 3-point threat that you had to try and gameplan to stop,” Schmitt said. “She shot 38 percent from 3-point range and was somebody that hit the big shot for us all year.”
Katie Friend, Morris
Averages of over 7.5 points and just under 5.5 rebounds per game helped Friend secure a spot on the All-Conference team in the NIB12 East. She totaled 32 assists and 39 steals and was All-Tournament at Prairie Central.
“Katie is an excellent leader on the court,” Carey said. “Her effort both offensively and defensively was outstanding game in and game out.”
Kristine Zitt, Newark
Zitt averaged 7.7 rebounds per game, the second-best mark in the area, to go with her 8.4 PPG. The team captain and unanimous All-Conference selection in the LTC also averaged 1.6 assists and 2.1 steals per game.
“Our best player on most nights, especially in big games,” Holman said. “Two-year varsity contributor. Would have been three-year varsity player but tore her ACL sophomore year.”
GSW: Senior forward Breann Fisher, who averaged 6.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, was the Lady Panthers’ defensive player of the year and captain and was special mention All-Conference in the RVC. “Breann is one of the most aggressive girls I’ve ever coached,” Leigh said. *Sophomore guard Maranda Residori, who joined the starting lineup in mid-December and averaged 9.8 PPG, earning team offensive player of the year and special mention RVC All-Conference honors. “She has a nice shot that helped our team stay in some close games throughout the season,” Leigh said. Minooka: Freshman guard Brooklyn Bachmann, who averaged 9.8 points per game, was a better than 71 percent free-throw shooter (77-for-108) and totaled 93 assists. “She can get down the court quicker than any point guard I’ve coached,” Liberatore said. Morris: Sophomore guard Leona Burton, who was the Redskins’ second-leading scorer (8.2 PPG) and totaled 112 rebounds, 47 assists and 38 steals. “Her ability to change the tempo of a game is what sparked many of our scoring runs,” Carey said. Newark: Sophomore guard Kelsea Zitt, whose 2.1 steals per game were a team high and who averaged 6.3 PPG despite moving to an unfamiliar position (point guard). “She was asked to do a lot, and we would not have been nearly as successful without her playing the way she did,” Holman said. *Senior guard Nicole Lawrence, who averaged 7.2 PPG while making 30 of the team’s 75 3-pointers. “She spaced the floor for us and was a zone breaker with her ability to put the ball in the basket,” Holman said. Seneca: Senior guard Jacey Lamboley, who averaged 8.4 PPG, led the Lady Irish in assists (63) and 3-pointers (29) and was second on the team in blocks (40). “If you played us zone, she could pick you apart,” Beck said.