It was a mixed bag for the area girls basketball teams in 2017-18.
While the Waseca Bluejays (25-5) and New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva Panthers (16-10) found a good amount of regular season success, both missed out on their state tournament hopes. And the young Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton Bulldogs (7-17) found bright spots in a rebuilding year. All three teams were able to showcase superb talent on their rosters.
Gus Boyer (guard, sophomore, Waseca)
Boyer quietly made her presence known for Waseca all season, averaging 12.9 points per game to go along with an impressive 43-percent mark from beyond the arc (70-164). Her most impressive display came in the Section 2AAA semifinal, going 4 of 6 from distance and leading the Jays to a 54-27 victory over Hutchinson with 25 points. Boyer also joined Gehloff on the Big South all-conference team in just her sophomore year.
Brielle Cords (forward, senior, JWP)
Cords earned a Valley all-conference nod in her senior season while averaging 8.7 points per game, 7.5 rebounds per game and an impressive 2.5 steals per game, while helping a young and rebuilding Bulldogs squad find their footing as the year went along. Cords scored an impressive 506 points and grabbed 477 rebounds as a three-year varsity player. She spent almost her entire career playing with kids younger than her, but never complained, remaining a positive example and role model to her teammates.
Madison Gehloff (guard, junior, Waseca)
Gehloff led the Bluejays in two categories — 473 points (15.8 per game) and 199 rebounds (6.6 per game) — and finished second in shooting percentage (46 percent), while earning a Big South all-conference nod and an all-state honorable mention. She also already holds the school records for scoring (1,439 points) and rebounds (746), while finishing her junior campaign just three points short of the record for points in a season, held by Jo Arveson, who scored 476 points in ‘81-’82.
Taylor Hiller (guard, senior, Waseca)
Hiller wasn’t the leading scorer in the area, but her senior season saw her ascend to second all-time for Waseca in two statistical categories crucial to play as an effective point guard. She finished off her career with 346 total assists and 277 total steals, while earning all-conference honorable mention twice. Often Hiller’s presence was left out of the box score, with her preparation and leadership being the point of emphasis on a Bluejays team that fell just one game short of a second consecutive state tournament appearance.
Betsy Schoenrock (forward, senior, NRHEG)
Schoenrock led all area scorers by averaging 23.7 points per game in her final season with the Panthers. The future Gustavus Adolphus College Gustie amassed 575 points, 331 rebounds and 123 blocked shots in her senior season. Head coach Onika Peterson on her standout forward: “Betsy played a huge role on our team this year. She was a dominant inside force and teams had a hard time defending her.” Schoenrock finished the season with 18 double-double games and two triple-double games.
Rachel Breck: forward, sophomore, Waseca (Big South all-conference honorable mention) — 6.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 51 percent from the field
Olivia Christopherson: guard, junior, NRHEG (Gopher all-conference) — 9.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2 apg and 1.7 spg
Kelly Harden: guard, senior, NRHEG (Gopher all-conference) — 5.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 3 apg, 2.3 spg
Emily Olson: guard, freshman, JWP (Valley all-conference honorable mention) — 10.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.8 apg, 2.7 spg
Sophie Stork: guard, eigth-grader, NRHEG (Gopher all-conference) — 8 ppg, 4 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1 spg