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home : sports : sports Saturday, April 30, 2016

3/22/2014 Email this articlePrint this article 
The Observer announces its Athletes of the Month

By Ross Eberhart
Sports editor

Tessa Kauffman - A four-year varsity player, Calamus-Wheatland guard Tessa Kauffman helped the Warriors girls basketball team bring home four victories in her senior season. A strong defensive player, Kauffman was one of five Warriors to finish the year with at least 20 steals (she finished right at 20), while also grabbing 35 rebounds and blocking a shot. On the offensive end of the floor, Kauffman scored 32 points for Cal-Wheat and knocked down her first two career three-pointers (including a huge one in the Warriors' victory over Lisbon). Kauffman also dished out 27 assists - good for fourth on the team. The senior had a knack for coming up big in Cal-Wheat's victories this season. Along with her trey against Lisbon, Kauffman posted her season-highs in points, assists, steals and rebounds in games the Warriors won.

Lucas Looney - The man in the middle for the Calamus-Wheatland boys basketball team, junior Lucas Looney proved to be a tough match-up for opposing big men. Strong inside, Looney led the Warriors with 61 two-point field goals (shooting over 40 percent on his attempts), but also splashed in a pair of three-pointers. The junior added 32 free throws - good for third on the team - and finished the year with 160 points, an average of 7.6 per game. Looney had no problem cleaning the glass either, the center finished second for Cal-Wheat with 100 rebounds and his 27 offensive boards were a team-best. Looney handed out 15 assists this season, while also coming up with 15 steals and 11 blocks. The junior scored a career-high 19 points in the Warriors' win over Central City, and produced a pair of season-highs in rebounds (10) and blocks (four) in a win over East Buchanan.

Laikyn Schaefer - One of the top-10 rebounding teams in all of class 3A, the Northeast girls basketball team got a huge lift from senior Laikyn Schaefer. The forward finished second for the Rebels and seventh overall in the River Valley North with 162 boards, with 43 of them coming on the offensive glass. The rebounding was just part of a strong campaign on the defensive end as Schaefer also finished third for the Rebels with 26 steals and blocked a shot. The senior finished fifth on the team in scoring - Schaefer had 110 total points, an average of 4.6 per game - and dropped in 38 two-point field goals and 34 free throws. Schaefer dished out 18 assists as well. The forward matched the Rebels' season-best for rebounds in a game as she grabbed 14 in Northeast's game with Cascade.

Karson Smith - A trip to Des Moines proved to be a fitting end to a strong junior season for Central bowler Karson Smith. The junior became just the second Saber boy in program history to qualify for the state meet, and Smith made the most of his debut by taking 33rd with a 389 series. Smith earned his trip to state by taking second at the 1A state-qualifying meet hosted by Camanche with a 459 series. It was one of eight 400 series the Saber produced during his junior season. Smith's best performance of the season came in the Saber boys victory over Louisa-Muscatine as the junior combined a 233 in game one with a 258 in game two (the latter game doubled as Smith's highest one-game score of the season) for a 491. Smith followed that up with a 468 series in his very next competition and broke 450 one other time - the 1A state qualifying meet.

Nick Wall - Very few boys basketball players in the River Valley North had a nose for the rim better than Northeast junior Nick Wall. The Rebel forward was hard to stop when he got there, too. Wall finished the year with a team-high 80 field goals with 77 of them being two-pointers, and shot over 49 percent from the floor. The junior led all Northeast players with 233 total points and tied for the team's best scoring average at 9.7 points per game. Not surprisingly, the aggressive Wall was a frequent visitor to the free throw line - the junior led the team with 116 attempts (nearly 30 more than the next Rebel) and made 70 of them. The forward grabbed a team-high 128 rebounds as well and was among the Northeast leaders in assists (45), steals (30) and blocks (19).

Abby Willis - Providing veteran leadership to a young Central girls basketball team, senior Abby Willis helped the Sabers win their pod this winter. The senior forward was again of the WaMaC's top rebounders, grabbing 137 boards overall with 38 of them coming on the offensive glass, while also providing a nice lift to the Central offense. Willis finished fourth on the team with 78 points (3.4 per game) and was one of the squad's most efficient shooters from the field (29-of-70) and the free throw line (20-of-34). The Saber handed out 17 assists as well and came away with 13 steals. Willis had one of her biggest games in Central's win over rival Maquoketa as the senior scored a season-high 11 points and added 10 rebounds in the 45-41 victory.

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