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|3/2/2013 ||Email this article Print this article |
|Ten area players land on final All-Big East squads|
By Ross Eberhart
It seemed rather fitting that the final All-Big East boys and girls basketball teams would be filled with players wrapping up their own careers.
A total of 33 seniors were named to the two squads, a large jump up from the 20 that dotted last year's teams.
An increase was almost a certainty on the girls side as only six seniors made last year's team.
That meant everyone else was back, and it showed on the court this winter, as the conference race was competitive from start to finish.
Five different girls teams - Bellevue, Preston, Camanche, Northeast and Marquette - won at least 11 of their 16 Big East games with the Comets leading the way with a 13-3 mark to claim their second-straight title.
There were 14 seniors on last year's boys squad and that number jumped to 17 this year, including seven first-team selections.
Three of the first-team selections belong to Preston, which only dropped a single conference game to win its second Big East title in six years (the Trojans last won during the 2007-08 season).
Not surprisingly, the Observer-area's group of honorees is also senior-heavy, especially on the boys side where five seniors earned a spot on the team.
Seniors Jake Janssen of Calamus-Wheatland and Bo Lingle of Northeast were both first-team selections on the boys team with fellow seniors Justin Alden and Ben Hildebrandt landing on the second team.
A final senior, the Warriors' Austin Bumann, was an honorable mention pick and so was Rebel freshman Will Hasken.
Four juniors made the girls first team and two of them were Rebels as Addie Oberman and Breanne Butler both earned the distinction.
Seniors, though, make up the area's other two honorees as both Abbie Moellenbeck of Cal-Wheat and Morgan McAleer of Northeast were selected for honorable mention accolades.
Winning her second-straight MVP award on the girls side was Bellevue senior Kelsey Ernst, while Midland senior Casey Lasack earned the exact same award for the boys.
Janssen, Lingle lead half dozen All-Big East boys basketball honorees
For the second year in a row, no player grabbed more rebounds in Big East play than Janssen, who was one of four boys players to repeat as a first-team selection.
Janssen accumulated 173 boards during his senior season - 41 more than second-place Jamie Kramer - and the Warrior senior did it despite missing a pair of conference games.
The center grabbed 103 defensive rebounds (that number alone would have put him 11th in the conference) and added 70 offensive rebounds (he had 106 over the entire season, good for sixth in the entire state).
Offensively, Janssen led the Warriors and finished ninth in the conference with a 14.8 scoring average in league play and the senior was third in the conference with 83 free throw attempts.
An imposing presence on defense, Janssen added a team-high 34 blocked shots to his rebounding haul and the center also came away with 15 steals for the Warriors.
Moving into the first team after being a second-team pick a year ago was Lingle, who led the Rebels in four major statistical categories this season.
The senior led Northeast with 367 points (a 15.3 average) during the season, including 247 points during Big East play (good for fifth in the league).
Lingle was third in the league with 96 field goals made and also was one of the conference's top free throw shooters as he finished second in the Big East by making 73.7 percent of his attempts.
"He was a match-up nightmare for other teams due to his height and his ability to play inside and out," Northeast head coach Travis Eversmeyer said of Lingle. "He really stepped up into a scoring role this season and helped pull along our young guys all summer, fall and winter."
Only Preston's Logan Wilhelm blocked more shots during conference play than Lingle, who swatted away 46 opponent tries. The Rebel senior forced turnovers on the floor too as he finished the Big East portion of the season with 28 steals - good for sixth in the conference.
On the glass, Lingle pulled down 112 rebounds in league play (and a team-high 183 overall) and his 40 offensive boards during the season ranked fourth-best in the conference.
"He was our do-everything guy," Eversmeyer said. "He hed us in scoring, rebounds, blocks and was in the top-three in steals.
"He was a great player for us and a great kid, and will be sorely missed."
Directing the Northeast offense was a task that fell to Hildebrandt, who had a strong season as the Rebels' point guard.
Hildebrandt led all players in the Big East with 75 assists during conference play (his 101 assists overall were also tops among league players) and the senior added an average of 8.2 points on his own.
"Ben was one of the most improved players in our conference," Eversmeyer said. "He went from a kid who had a ton of ability and lacked confidence, to one of the more confident players in the league, and his numbers showed that improvement."
Hildebrandt did most of his scoring damage from behind the three-point stripe as the guard finished fifth in the conference with 24 three-pointers (he finished the year with 40 overall - tops on the team).
Defensively, Hildebrandt came up with 25 steals in Big East play and also blocked a pair of shots. The senior grabbed the same number of rebounds with 21 defensive boards and four coming on the offensive glass.
"He was always asked to guard one of the other team's best players and he never complained," Eversmeyer said. "Ben was one of the main reasons for us not dropping off this season - he was a great influence on our younger guys and he was a guy that tried to get every rep in practice right. We will miss Ben dearly, but I am proud of the steps he took this year."
Providing an extra lift for the Warriors was Alden, who had the ability to play multiple positions.
Despite missing four conference games due to illness, Alden still finished second for Cal-Wheat with 146 points during Big East play and his 12.2 scoring average was good for 13th among all players.
The senior was accurate from the field - his 43.5 field goal percentage ranked 11th among players with at least 100 shot attempts - and Alden tied for second on the team with nine three-pointers during conference play.
Alden grabbed 59 rebounds in league play (averaging 4.9 per game) and the forward led the Warriors by coming up with 22 steals.
Overall during the season, Alden finished second for the Warriors in both points (192) and steals (28), while finishing third on the squad with 77 total rebounds.
Cal-Wheat also received a rebounding boost from Bumann, who often joined Janssen and Alden in the paint fighting for loose balls.
The senior got his hands on 130 total rebounds during the season, including 93 during Big East play, which ranked 11th in the conference (Bumann averaged 5.7 rebounds for the entire season and 5.8 in league play).
The senior provided some offense as well as he finished third on the team with 142 points (a 6.2 average).
All but 36 of those points were scored during Big East action and Bumann tied Alden with nine three-pointers during the conference slate.
The senior forward was equally quick on sharing the ball as Bumann led all Warrior players with 16 assists in conference play.
Bumann came away with 18 steals as well during his final season with Cal-Wheat and also blocked a shot.
The only freshman to make either squad, Hasken will have three more years to build off a fantastic opening season.
The guard finished third on the team with 176 points during the season and his 141 points during conference play were the most by a freshman by far (the second-highest scoring freshman in the conference had 60 points).
Hasken attempted 57 three-pointers during the conference slate and made 20 of them (good for 10th in the league), while his 35.1 three-point percentage was fifth-best among players with at least 50 attempts.
The freshman finished the season with 35 assists overall and added 20 steals, while also grabbing 49 rebounds.
"He was the first freshman that I have ever played, let alone started, but he earned that," Eversmeyer said. "He could score, he took good shots, he is a good passer and he is a great defender.
"The key for Will is to see how good he can get. The sky is the limit for him if he continues to work as hard as he did this year."
Oberman, Moellenbeck and McAleer repeat as girls selections
Seven of the nine players on the girls first team this year were also first-team picks last year and that includes Oberman.
The Rebel junior finished second in Big East-play in both overall points (296) and scoring average (18.5), while also leading the conference in steals with 56.
"She was second in the conference in scoring, led the conference in steals and was in the top-10 in most every offensive category," Northeast head coach Charles Jargo said of Oberman, who scored 463 total points during the season - second-most in program history.
Oberman made 38 three-pointers this season and was third among all Big East players with 75 free throws.
The junior led the Rebels with 66 assists - a number which put her fifth in the conference - and ranked among the state leaders in total steals with 90 (it was the sixth-best total in class 3A).
Oberman topped things off by grabbing 160 rebounds during the season - good for second on the team and tied for eighth among all Big East players.
"When teams prepared for us, Addie's offensive numbers were probably looked at first," Jargo said. "However, her biggest statistical improvement was in her rebounds, particularly on the defensive end where she pulled down 44 more boards than last year."
One of the two newcomers to the All-Big East first team this season was Butler (the other was Prince of Peace senior Julia Isenhour), who proved to be a force inside for the Rebels during her junior season.
The center wreaked most of her havoc on the defensive end as she finished the Big East portion of her season with 76 blocks - more than the combined totals of the three girls who finished behind her (Marquette's Grace Sieverding finished second in conference play with 32 blocks, while Ernst and Carly Rubel, both of Bellevue, had 21 and 20 respectively).
Butler also finished the season fifth in the Big East in conference scoring with a 12.6 average (201 total points) and was fourth in the league with 140 rebounds, good for 8.8 per game.
Overall, Butler had 190 rebounds during the season and finished the year third on the team with 33 steals.
"Breanne's improvement on both ends of the court were keys to our season," Jargo said of Butler, who led all of 3A with 96 blocks - a number which also broke the Rebels' season mark. "Offensively, she gave us a second scoring threat that teams needed to be concerned about and her improved defensive presence made it tough for our opponents to score consistently in the paint."
It was also the second-straight year in which both Moellenbeck and McAleer earned honorable-mention accolades for their play.
The results might not have been there for the Warriors, but it definitely was not due to a lack of effort from Moellenbeck, who led Cal-Wheat in three different categories during the season.
Moellenbeck was the team's leading scorer with 132 points (a 6.0 average), while also leading the team with 39 steals and 17 blocked shots.
"Abbie did a tremendous job all year in a tough situation," Cal-Wheat head coach Alan Seabrooke said. "She did the things we asked, played multiple positions and often guarded the other team's best player."
Of Moellenbeck's 39 steals, 28 came in Big East play, which ranked 14th in the conference, and the senior's 16 blocks in league play was sixth among all players.
Moellenbeck added 107 rebounds during the season for Cal-Wheat, second on the team, and dished out 16 assists.
"With so many young and inexperienced players on the floor, it would have been easy for a senior to not want to play," Seabrooke added, "but Abbie played hard all year."
Equally tenacious on the defensive side of the ball was McAleer, who also was often assigned to a team's best offensive player.
The senior responded by nabbing 37 steals during the season, good for second on the team, with 25 of those steals coming in conference action.
McAleer added 106 points during Big East play and tied for ninth in the conference by attempting 63 free throws.
The senior grabbed 44 rebounds as well and dished out 43 assists for the Rebels, while also blocking a shot and draining a three-pointer.
"Her offensive numbers were not flashy, but Morgan was our top outside defender and her scrappiness and hustle made us a better team when she was on the court," Jargo said.