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Girls basketball: Introducing the 2024 West Central Tribune All-Area Team

Mar. 26—This year's West Central Tribune All-Area Team includes a good deal of fresh faces.

There are 12 newcomers and three returners of the 15 players selected to the all-area team. The team includes four seniors, six juniors, four sophomores and one freshman.

(29-4), which appeared in the Class AA state tournament for the 21st time, leads the way with three representatives. The Wildcats lost in the state consolation championship to Rochester Lourdes.

Ava Carlson, Delaney Hanson and Dakota Rich represent NLS on the all-area team. All three are newcomers.

An improved

(20-9) fell to NLS in the Section 3AA-North championship. The Lakers have two entrants: Sydney Dahl and Megan Thorfinnson. Both are newcomers.

(18-10) also placed two on the all-area team: Lainey Braulick, a returnee from last year's team, and Kenzie Visser, another newcomer.

There are eight teams with one selection. Overall, 11 teams are represented.

Also represented are:

Ruby Klinger,

Brooklyn Fischer,

Sienna Duininck,

Acelynn Hacker,

Brielle Janssen (returner),

Teagan Epema,

Emma Flanders and

Telilie Lange (returner).

Here is the West Central Tribune's All-Area Team presented in alphabetical order:

Fr., 5-7 guard, CMCS

Duininck is quickly making her name known in west central Minnesota.

The 5-foot-7 freshman guard was a Class A All-State Honorable Mention and an All-Camden Conference pick. She led the Bluejays to a five-win improvement in 2023-24 with an 18-9 record.

Duininck averaged 20.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.1 steals and 3.7 assists per game in her third season.

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"Sienna is as gifted of a player as I have been around," CMCS head coach Brian Nelson said. "She continues to improve and mature in all facets of her game, both on and off the floor.

"Sienna has a desire to learn and be coached at an in-depth level, which makes her such a joy to be around. Her competitive spirit and knowledge of the game of basketball make her one of the area's best."

Sr., 5-10 forward, BBE

Fischer stepped up in her final season with BBE, which finished with an 17-11 record

The 5-10 senior forward averaged 19.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.7 steals per contest.

Fischer, who reached 1,000 career points on Feb. 16, was an All-Central Minnesota Conference First Team selection.

"Brooklyn was able to take over games in the scoring and rebounding columns," BBE head coach Kristina Anderson said. "She is a true competitor who was willing to do whatever her team needed of her.

"Brooklyn had a great senior campaign and will be missed."

So., 6-0 guard/forward, MACCRAY

Janssen took another sizable step in production and broke eight school records along the way for the Wolverines, who finished with a 17-9 record.

Janssen, a 6-0 guard/forward who recorded two triple-doubles and 18 double-doubles, averaged 24.2 points, 11.5 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 4.0 steals and 1.7 blocks per game. She shot 46.1% from the field and converted 68.2% of her free throws.

The Wolverines' sophomore was a Class A All-State Honorable Mention and the Camden Conference North Division Player of the Year for a second straight season.

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"Brielle was arguably the best player in the area this year," MACCRAY head coach Shaun Condon said. "She did everything for us and did so while being the focus of opposing teams' defenses. She drastically improved her passing this season, averaging nearly five assists per game. She continues to get better and makes her teammates better.

"She is a once in a lifetime player for a coach."

Jr., 5-8 guard, NLS

Not even multiple shoulder dislocations and a brace could prevent Rich from pacing NLS to its second straight appearance in the Class AA state tournament.

The 5-8 guard averaged 16.7 points, 3.9 assists, 3.2 steals and 2.2 rebounds per contest in her junior season. She shot 41.6% from the field, 38.8% from beyond the arc and 84.2% from the free throw line.

Rich,

, was a Class AA All-State selection and an All-Wright County Conference pick.

"She's one of our leaders on the court without a doubt," Wildcats head coach Mike Dreier said. "A lot of times people are looking to her to hopefully hit a big shot.

"Dakota also had the ability to carry us at times."

Sr., 5-10 post, BOLD

Visser was as advertised and more for the Warriors.

The 5-10 post averaged 13.6 points and 11.9 rebounds per game and

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Visser was not only a nightmare for opponents on the boards, she was a dominant rim protector. Her 111 blocks (4.0 bpg) were the most in a season in school history.

The senior leader was crowned the West Central Conference's Defensive MVP and an All-West Central Conference pick. She was also voted as BOLD's MVP.

"Kenzie was a solid offensive player, but played defense at an elite level," Warriors head coach Brian Kingery said. "She has an endless motor and a fabulous work ethic."

Jr., 5-8 guard, BOLD

A foundational piece to BOLD's lineup, Braulick remained key in its success when she was healthy.

Braulick led the Warriors in points, steals and assists, averaging 16.3 points, 3.3 steals, 3.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per contest.

The 5-8 junior was a Class A All-State Honorable Mention and an All-West Central Conference pick.

"Lainey had an injury-plagued season that she battled through," Kingery said. "Lainey has been our floor general for the past four seasons and had an excellent year.

"She is a good shooter and is excellent in transition."

Jr., 5-10 forward, NLS

Following the departure of a significant senior class for the Wildcats, Carlson shined in her first bout as an upperclassman.

Carlson averaged 17.4 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.2 steals per game. She made 51.2% of her field goals and 75.9% of her free throws.

The 5-10 junior forward was also an All-Wright County Conference pick for the first time.

"She really stepped up her game this year," Dreier said. ""In the course of a game if things weren't going well, she seemed to hit big buckets for us.

"She had a giant year."

So., 5-7 guard, KMS

Hacker guided KMS to a 20-9 record in a season where the Fighting Saints were the Camden Conference North Division champions.

The 5-7 guard averaged 16.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.2 steals and 2.2 assists per contest in her sophomore campaign.

Hacker,

, was an All-Camden Conference selection.

"Acelynn is incredibly quick and strong," KMS head coach Justin Johnson said. "That allows her to attack the basket and finish at a high rate.

"She also shoots the ball really well from the outside."

So., 5-7 guard, Willmar

Lange elevated her game to another level and it helped Willmar increase its win total by two to post a 13-15 record.

Lange, who scored in double figures in 14 of the Cardinals' final 18 games, averaged 11.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.5 steals and 3.0 assists per game. She converted 40.6% of her field goals and 67.1% of her free throws.

The 5-7 sophomore guard was an All-Central Lakes Conference selection and was also voted as Willmar's most valuable player and defensive player of the year.

"Telilie was the engine of our team this season on both sides of the ball," Cardinals head coach Brendan Hedtke said. "She finds her teammates well and keeps our offense flowing when it starts to get stagnant.

"Telilie is a winner, plain and simple. She puts in the work to be great and is a great leader for our team. There is no doubt she is one of the best guards in the area on both sides of the floor."

Jr., 5-9 guard, Minnewaska

Thorfinnson showed that she can flourish as a floor general and it continues to pay off for the Lakers.

The Lakers' 5-9 guard was an All-West Central Conference pick and voted as Minnewaska's most valuable player.

Thorfinnson averaged 11.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.3 steals per contest in her junior season. She knocked down 36.1% of her shots from the field and converted at a 68.1% rate from the free throw line.

"Megan is a skilled and crafty guard who can be an offensive and defensive threat," Lakers head coach Sidney Barker said. "She can score from beyond the arc and has an IQ for the game of basketball.

"Her experience will keep evolving her into a dynamic player on the floor."

Jr., 6-0 forward, Minnewaska

Dahl's versatility helped Minnewaska to an eight-win improvement in 2023-24.

Dahl, a 6-0 forward, averaged 12.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, 1.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game. She shot 42% from the field and made 53% of her free throws.

The junior's all-around impact helped her to be named the West Central Conference Offensive MVP an All-West Central Conference pick.

"Sydney is a versatile player who can score on offense, but also be a strong and threatening rim protector," Barker said. "She can score inside the paint, but she can extend her game beyond the arc as a shooter or sometimes bring the ball up the floor.

"She is quick for a forward her size, but is also undersized for the opponents she goes up against."

Jr., 5-4 guard, Montevideo

Epema was productive under the spotlight for the Thunder Hawks, who finished with a 6-20 record.

The 5-4 junior guard averaged 10.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.7 steals and 3.6 assists per contest.

Epema's leadership and dynamic presence led her to be named an All-West Central Conference pick.

"Teagan was our team's MVP for this season for many reasons," Montevideo head coach Kylee Heurung said. "She is a great playmaker for us on the court.

"She works hard on the defensive end as well getting rebounds and steals."

Sr., 5-9 forward, Paynesville

Flanders was dominant on the boards and an efficient scorer for Paynesville, which finished 15-13.

The 5-9 senior forward set a school record for the most offensive rebounds in a single season with 135 and tied the school record for most rebounds in a single season with 309. She shot a Central Minnesota Conference best 62.4% from the field and recorded 15 double-doubles.

Flanders averaged 12.4 points, 11.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.9 steals per game and was selected to the All-Central Minnesota Conference First Team. Her single game high of 21 rebounds also is a school record.

"Emma was the most talented rebounder I have coached," Bulldogs head coach Jake Heimerman said. "She was our press breaker, fast break leader and made sure all teammates were involved. She was an extremely unselfish player, almost at times to a fault.

"There is not a team in the area that would not start her with her natural ability, coachability and team-first mentality."

Sr., 5-10 forward, NLS

Hanson was everywhere with her high-octane motor for NLS, which has made it to state in four of the past five seasons.

The 5-10 senior forward averaged 10.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 3.8 steals per contest. She hit 31.7% of her field goals and shot 76.2% from the free throw line.

Hanson was a Class AA All-State Honorable Mention and an All-Wright County Conference selection to close out her NLS career.

"Delaney was such a steady leader for our team," Dreier said. "She was a really big player for us. She does so many things at a high level. She's just a solid, steady, good player.

"She did all the little things that sometimes get ignored by people who are watching the game."

So., 5-11 center, ACGC

Klinger was prolific inside for ACGC.

Klinger averaged 17.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.4 blocks per game. She shot 54.8% from the field and made 53.9% of her free throws.

Her effort helped the Falcons finish with a 12-13 record, which comes as a seven-win improvement from a season ago.

The 5-11 sophomore center earned All-Central Minnesota Conference First Team honors.

"Ruby works very hard every day to ensure that she is ready for the next competition," Falcons head coach Jacklyn Frericks said. "She pushes herself and her teammates at practice to work hard."