ND Class B Girls All-State First Team Has 6 PlayersDICKINSON, N.D. (AP) — In North Dakota Class B girls basketball, age is only a number. A mixture of seasoned veterans and standout underclassmen make up the annual Class B all-state team selected by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) — In North Dakota Class B girls basketball, age is only a number.
A mixture of seasoned veterans and standout underclassmen make up the annual Class B all-state team selected by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
Washburn senior Spanky Clayton, Class B's lone Miss Basketball finalist, leads a group of three seniors and three underclassmen named to the first team.
Joining her are Richland senior Olivia Johnson, Linton-Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock senior Kayln Schneider, Grant County junior Ashley Bentz, Lakota/Adams-Edmore freshman Fallyn Freije and Central Valley junior Taylor Henningsgard.
A tie in the voting placed six players on the first team instead of the traditional five.
Clayton, a 5-foot-6 guard, averaged 23 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals per game en route to being named Region 5 Senior Athlete of the Year and earning a Miss Basketball nomination. Despite sitting out her sophomore season after transferring from Center-Stanton to Washburn, Clayton still had more than 1,400 career points.
"The one word to probably describe her is she's just an athlete," Washburn head coach Keith Jacobson said. "There's very few girls that can get into the lane, and just go over the top of girls and float. She's one of those rare athletes in basketball."
Johnson left a mark on the state record books. She not only set school record for points (1,749), the 5-9 center finished her career second on Class B all-time career rebounds leader list with 1,403.
A second-team pick last season, Johnson averaged 20.4 points, 13.7 rebounds per game and was named Region 1 Senior Athlete of the Year.
"She can do a little bit of everything," Richland head coach Les Dale said. "She likes to play in the post. I think she feels more comfortable down there, but she can score from the outside too. She's just a good all-around player."
Schneider, a 5-9 center and Region 3 Senior Athlete of the Year, averaged 17 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game and led Linton-HMB to a state runner-up finish.
"She was a vital part of that," Lions head coach Pat Gerving said. "A lot of things that we do go through her. She creates opportunities for other players too."
Though Schneider was a bit undersized for the post position, Gerving said her size was never a hindrance.
"That's just because of her athletic ability," Gerving said. "She doesn't have unbelievable size, but her quickness helps her at that position."
Bentz, a 5-11 guard/forward who was a second-team selection last season, averaged 20.4 points, 8.8 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 3 steals per game. She logged 10 double-doubles and two triple-doubles for the Region 5 runner-up Coyotes and has more than 1,500 career points.
"She's a pretty versatile player," said Grant County head coach Nicole Bentz, Ashley's mother. "She's a joy to coach. She can contribute in so many ways with what she can do for our team."
Freije had a breakout freshman season. The versatile 5-11 center she averaged 21.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2 blocks per game and helped the Raiders to a sixth-place finish in the Class B state tournament.
"Obviously she was a huge part of everything that we did," Lakota/Adams-Edmore head coach Jon Berg said. "When she's on the floor she draws so much attention defensively, it allowed a lot of our other girls to take on bigger scoring roles than what they might have done without her. Defensively, she allows us to do a lot of different things too."
Henningsgard, a 5-7 guard, averaged 17.9 points, 6 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 3.1 steals per game for the Region 2 runner-up Valiants.
The only player Central Valley head coach Rick Sondrol said he has given varsity time playing time to as a freshman, Henningsgard has 1,310 career points but is even more effective distributing the basketball.
"I use the word playmaker to describe her," Sondrol said. "When she's on the court, she simply makes everybody around her better. She really sees the court well. She leads us in assists. She just sets up everybody and makes the opportunities so much easier for everybody else."
Six of the 10 second team all-state selections are also underclassmen. In alphabetical order, the second team is:
Hannah Breske, Central Cass: A 5-11 junior forward, Breske averaged 15.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists per game while shooting 50 percent from the field and 79 percent from the free-throw line for the Region 1 runner-up Squirrels.
Sheridon Dewald, Napoleon: Despite playing the entire season with torn right knee ligaments, the 5-6 junior forward averaged 16.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. This is the second straight season Dewald has been named to the second team.
Kelcee Dykins, Beach: The 5-9 senior forward averaged team highs of 17.7 points and 7.9 rebounds a game for the Buccaneers, who took third-place in the state tournament. She was named Region 7's Senior Athlete of the Year.
Hailee Farstveet, Beach: The 5-8 sophomore guard averaged 13.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, 4 steals and 3.9 assists per game.
McKayla Haugeberg, Watford City: A 5-4 junior guard, she averaged 13.7 points, 6.1 steals, 5.2 rebounds and 4 assists per game for the Wolves.
Kennedy Henningsgard, Central Valley: The 5-8 sophomore guard and younger sister of first-team selection Taylor Henningsgard averaged 17.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.
Brandy Messner, Dakota Prairie: The 5-10 senior forward averaged 21 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.5 steals, 3.1 assists and 1.9 blocks per game. She finished her career with a school-record 1,704 points and had 836 career rebounds.
Hannah Stewart, Minot Bishop Ryan: The 6-1 freshman forward averaged 19.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 3.8 steals and 2 blocks per game while shooting 65 percent from the field while leading the Lions to a fifth-place finish at the state tournament.
Emily Thompson, Carrington: The 6-1 senior center averaged 13.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.9 blocks and 2.3 assists per game. She was a second-team selection last year when she helped the Cardinals win the 2011 Class B state championship.
Emily Wolf, New Salem-Almont: A 5-10 senior center, she averaged 16.6 points and 10.9 rebounds per game.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.