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|3/27/2013 ||Email this article Print this article |
Twenty players land on All-Observer basketball teams
|Northeast senior Morgan McAleer (left) and Cal-Wheat senior Abbie Moellenbeck both look up at the hoop during the Rebels’ game with the Warriors. McAleer and Moellenbeck were two of seven players to land on the All-Observer team for a second-straight year, and both, along with fellow Northeast senior Catrina Jargo, were selected as captains of the squad. Photos by Ross Eberhart|
|Central senior A.J. Smith puts up a shot during the Sabers’ victory over Northeast. Smith was one of four players (Cal-Wheat’s Jake Janssen, Central’s Mitch Kirby and Northeast’s Bo Lingle the others) to be named captains of the All-Observer boys basketball team, a squad that also includes Northeast senior Ben Hildebrandt, who watches Smith’s attempt.|
By Ross Eberhart
It would appear that something does not add up quite right with the 2012-13 All-Observer basketball teams.
Of the two 10-player squads, the boys side is definitely the most veteran with seven seniors landing on the team compared to just three for the girls. Yet, it is the ladies squad that is littered with returnees as seven girls players are back from last year (the boys have just four).
It is an oddity to be sure, but one that is definitely fitting for a peculiar basketball season that seemed to have a team for everyone.
There were young squads - the Calamus-Wheatland and Central girls basketball teams had a combined three seniors.
Experienced squads - the Cal-Wheat and Central boys basketball teams, meanwhile, had 17 seniors between their rosters.
And in-between squads - both Northeast basketball teams were led by five seniors.
The result of having so many different kind of teams was a wild winter full of memorable games, performances and moments.
No matter what team you rooted for, though, you were always assured of one thing - a group of talented and hard-working personnel.
And that is especially true of the 2012-13 All-Observer boys and girls basketball teams.
Seven return to All-Observer girls squad
The faces dotting the 2012-13 All-Observer girls basketball team should be familiar to area fans - especially since seven of the players were also on last year's squad.
And the real bad news for opponents is that four of the returning players - Northeast's Addie Oberman and Breanne Butler, Central's Miranda Meland and Cal-Wheat's Becca VanderHeiden - will have the opportunity to make next year's team as well.
The other three returnees (Northeast's Morgan McAleer and Catrina Jargo and Cal-Wheat's Abbie Moellenbeck) are seniors and will act as the captains of this year's young squad.
This will be the third appearance for McAleer, who was selected as the Newcomer of the Year during her sophomore season and landed on the squad again last year.
McAleer finished third for the Rebels (and fifth among all area girls players) in scoring with 143 points and was among the area leaders in two-point field goals (48) and free throws made (44).
The senior also dished out 43 assists during the season and was again one of the best defensive players in the area with 37 steals (good for third among all girls players) and 44 rebounds.
Adding a post presence for the Rebels was Jargo, who finished third for Northeast with 95 rebounds, while finishing just 20 points behind McAleer (the senior made over 45 percent of her two-point attempts and knocked down 11 three-pointers to boot).
Jargo also was a strong passer as she matched McAleer with 43 assists. The senior forward also displayed her defensive prowess with 32 steals.
Moellenbeck, meanwhile, proved to be a strong senior leader for a youthful Cal-Wheat squad.
The guard led the Warriors and finished sixth among all players with 132 points, while also being one of just seven Observer-area girls players to grab at least 100 rebounds (she had 107).
Moellenbeck was second in the area with 39 steals and, despite playing mostly on the perimeter, was third among all players in blocked shots with 17.
Nobody in the area swatted away more attempts than Butler, who finished the year with 96, which was just seven fewer than the entire Saber and Warrior teams had combined.
Butler also was the area's top rebounder as the junior grabbed 190 boards (8.3 per game), while her 285 points were second among all girls players.
The center came away with 33 steals as well and dished out 27 assists for the Rebels.
Butler was a co-Newcomer of the Year last season and the player she shared the honor with, VanderHeiden, is also back.
In her sophomore season with the Warriors, VanderHeiden grabbed a team-best 161 rebounds (third among all area players) and finished third on the team with 99 points.
The Cal-Wheat center blocked 16 shots of her own and was also third on the team with 21 steals.
Rounding out the group of returnees are Oberman and Meland, who both earned first-team all-conference honors for their play this season.
Oberman, in fact, was selected to a pair of all-state teams as well for her sensational junior season with the Rebels.
The forward led all area players in scoring this season with 463 points (a 20.1 average), while also topping everyone in two-pointers (137), three-pointers (38) and free throws made (75).
Oberman grabbed 160 rebounds as well and led all Observer-area girls players with 66 assists and 90 steals. The junior blocked 16 shots as well.
Meland scored 206 points during her sophomore season with the Sabers and hit 28 of her team's 38 three-pointers in the process (74 percent).
The guard chipped in a team-high 51 assists as well and was third on the team with 81 rebounds.
Meland collected 19 steals for the Sabers and blocked a pair of shots.
Joining Meland on the squad are three other Central players - juniors Gretchen Henningsen and Abby Willis and freshman Amanda Brainerd - who act as the newcomers to this year's crew.
Henningsen was third for the Sabers with 114 points (5.0 per game) and tied Willis for the team-lead with 20 steals.
The junior dished out 19 assists as well and grabbed 54 rebounds, while tying for second on the team with five three-pointers.
Rebounding was the name of the game for Willis, who finished second to Butler among area players with 178 boards.
The junior post added 93 points for the Sabers and tied Henningsen for the team-lead with 20 steals. Willis was third on the team with 26 assists and blocked six shots for good measure.
Rounding things out as this year's Newcomer of the Year is Brainerd.
The lone freshman on the All-Observer girls team, Brainerd made a huge impact for the Sabers this year with a team-best 225 points (good for third in the area).
Brainerd made 81 two-pointers and was second in the area with 63 free throws made. The freshman led the Sabers with 29 blocked shots and was second on the team with 125 rebounds.
Brainerd handed out 24 assists as well and came away with 18 steals.
Five players from the All-Observer girls squad also make up the area's all-defensive team.
Henningsen and Moellenbeck are the guards on the team with Oberman and Willis acting as forwards and Butler handling the center duties.
Together the five players amassed 689 rebounds, come away with 202 steals and blocked 136 shots this season.
Seniors abound on All-Observer boys team
One thing you can definitely say about the 2012-13 All-Observer boys basketball team - it does not lack a veteran presence.
You can thank a group of seven seniors for that, including four returnees from last year.
With their experience, that returning quartet of Cal-Wheat's Jake Janssen, Central's A.J. Smith and Mitch Kirby and Northeast's Bo Lingle are ideal choices for captains of this year's All-Observer squad.
Janssen was a terror in the paint for the Warriors this season as the center led his team in points, rebounds and blocks.
Janssen finished the year with exactly 300 points (good for second among all players), while his 253 boards were exactly 70 rebounds better than the next highest total in the area.
The center's 34 blocks were also second among Observer-area players, and Janssen added 15 steals and seven assists as well.
Smith did a little bit of everything for Central in his senior season and accomplished a rare feat by leading the Sabers in both rebounds and assists.
The forward grabbed 120 boards (5.5 per game) for the Sabers and also handed out 80 assists - good for second among all boys players.
Smith tied for the team-lead in blocked shots, as well, with seven and was second on the team with 172 points (Smith led Central in both two-point field goals  and free throws made ).
Undersized in the frontcourt, Kirby still proved to be one of the best interior players in the area.
The senior finished third for the Sabers in scoring with 122 points and was second on the team with 102 rebounds (a total which put him fifth in the entire Observer-area).
Kirby came away with 26 steals as well (also good for second on the team) and had 24 assists.
The area's leading scorer was Lingle, who was a threat inside and out for the Rebels.
The senior dropped in 367 points during the season (15.3 per game) and led all Observer-area boys players with 122 two-pointers and 72 free throws made.
Lingle also topped the area in a pair of defensive categories as the senior notched 38 steals and blocked 70 shots. The forward was a rebounding threat as well with 183 boards.
Along with Lingle, the Rebels will lose another talented senior in the form of guard Ben Hildebrandt.
Leading the Northeast offense, Hildebrandt paced all boys players with 101 assists on the year (4.4 per game).
The senior was a scoring threat as well, finishing the year second for the Rebels with 203 points, while tying for the area-lead with 40 three-pointers.
Hildebrandt added 34 steals and grabbed 36 rebounds.
Providing plenty of help inside for Janssen and Cal-Wheat were fellow seniors Justin Alden and Austin Bumann.
Alden had the versatility to play both inside and outside for the Warriors and the senior finished second on the team in scoring with 192 points.
The forward added 77 rebounds as well and was a defensive force with 28 steals (good for second on the team) and two blocks.
Bumann, meanwhile, added 142 points of his own and finished second for the Warriors (third among all boys players) with 130 rebounds.
The senior showed a soft touch on his shots (he finished second on the team with 13 three-pointers) and Bumann finished second for the Warriors with 20 assists, while also coming up with 18 steals.
Leading the way among the three players who will be back next year is Central junior Kyle Bauer.
The guard impressed during his first season with the Saber varsity squad, leading the team in scoring with 214 points (only Lingle and Janssen had more).
Bauer tied Hildebrandt by draining 40 three-pointers and also made 34 free throws (good for eighth among all boys players).
The junior led the Sabers in steals as well with 30, while grabbing 63 rebounds, dishing out 23 assists and blocking two shots.
Finishing things off on the team are a pair of Rebels - sophomore Nick Wall and freshman Will Hasken - who will have multiple opportunities to stay on the squad after earning co-Newcomer of the Year honors this season.
Wall seemed to have a nose for the basket as he finished the year with 145 points, while also getting to the free throw line 87 times (good for fourth among all players).
Despite being a guard, Wall finished third for the Rebels in rebounding with 83 boards, and the sophomore added 39 assists, 34 steals and nine blocks.
Hasken earned All-Big East recognition for his debut season with the Rebels, as the freshman finished third on the team (and sixth among all area players) in scoring with 175 points.
The guard handed out 35 assists as well and grabbed 49 rebounds, while also coming up with 20 steals.
Kirby, Lingle and Janssen also earned spots on the boys all-defensive team at the two forward spots and center, respectively.
Handling the two guard positions are a pair of seniors - Matt Lorenzen of Northeast and Austin Houzenga of Cal-Wheat.
Lorenzen was a disruptive force on the perimeter, who finished second in the area with 35 steals.
Houzenga, meanwhile, relentlessly frustrated his defensive assignments, which included guards, forwards and centers. The Warrior senior led his team with 31 steals and also grabbed 59 rebounds.