SLN ALL-AREA GIRLS BASKETBALL: Panthers’ Square Coach of the Year
Four area players acknowledged in second annual SLN team
By Mike Ramczyk
Throw convention out the window.
This isn’t your mom and dad’s All-Area team.
A passion for the unusual and an overall unwillingness to leave out deserving stars has the second annual Southern Lakes Newspapers All-Area Girls Basketball team featuring seven first team members, along with a second team and honorable mention.
Sports Editor Mike Ramczyk and his trusted team of sports writers, including Tim Wester, Jason Arndt, Chris Bennett, Kevin Cunningham and Daniel Schoettler, weighed in on the best of the best from 15 area schools, all with athletes featured in our Kenosha, Racine, Walworth and Waukesha county publications.
Last year’s winner, Myriama Smith-Traore of Whitewater, just missed out on a repeat, as Union Grove senior Janelle Shiffler’s dream season catapulted her to the top spot.
While statistics are considered heavily, what’s just as important is a player’s impact on their team, leadership, team success and a certain “it” factor.
Does that player wow you when she’s on the court?
Is she making those around her better?
These athletes exemplified all the best traits, on and off the court, and all showed an ability to get the job done, no matter the adversity.
We would be remiss if we didn’t take a moment to remember former Elkhorn girls varsity basketball coach Todd Frohwirth, who passed away due to a battle with cancer at the age of 54 Sunday.
Frohwirth was in the process of turning things around for a struggling program, and by all accounts, he was a caring, selfless man who put his players and others first.
A former Major League Baseball player, Frohwirth had a zest for sports and coaching, and his legacy will live on through friends like assistant coach Beth Ivey.
Please check out the front page of this week’s Elkhorn Independent for a tribute story on Frohwirth.
Continuing in the coaching ranks, we have a first-time honoree for All-Area Coach of the Year, Keiya Square of Wilmot.
Square led the Lady Panthers to a second-place finish in the Southern Lakes Conference and a trip to sectionals.
Find our videos on the SLN Facebook pages and leave comments on the www.myracinecounty, mywalworthcounty and mykenoshacounty sites with your feedback, good or bad.
Please tell us what you think of the team, as it is sure to evoke some opinions from coaches, parents and players.
You can be assured we attend tons of games, talk to plenty of coaches and players and do our research, which was about a three-week process of gathering data.
Sit back, enjoy and experience the second annual SLN All-Area Girls Basketball squad:
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Janelle Shiffler, senior, Union Grove
One of the most eloquent talkers off the court, Shiffler is even louder on the court.
A 6-foot dominant paint presence, Shiffler perfected a mid-range jump shot this season and broke school records for shooting percentage and points scored in a season with 447.
The Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association first team all-state selection and all-Racine County player of the year averaged 18.6 points per game to lead the area and became the fourth girl in school history to surpass 1,000 career points.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Keiya Square, Wilmot
One of the best leaders in the area, Square always has the Lady Panthers at or near the top of the Southern Lakes Conference.
This season, he helped lead Wilmot to a sectional semifinal appearance, as the Panthers joined Whitewater and Mukwonago as the only teams to advance to sectionals.
At 16-8, Wilmot was second in the SLC with an 11-3 mark.
Wilmot battled with a buzz saw Milton squad, losing 62-57 in the sectional semifinal.
After the loss of four seniors from the 2016 squad, Square steered the Panthers to the regional title with up-and-coming sophomore guards, who played valuable minutes. Throughout the season, he guided the team to victories despite shorter guards.
Also, the Panthers won several close games at the end, which is a testament to how he kept his team composed.
Following an early-season loss to Waterford, he kept the team focused, helping them maintain a top spot in the Southern Lakes Conference until the last game of the season.
Myriama Smith-Traore, senior, Whitewater
A 6-2 force down low, Smith-Traore was the best player in Walworth County and was named the Rock Valley player of the year.
A transcendent player, the Marquette recruit was part of a state championship in 2015, and the top-seeded Whippets went 62-2 in conference in her four years. Whitewater has won 56 straight conference games.
Smith-Traore is a two-time first-team all-state Division 3 selection by the state’s coaches and a two-time RVC North player of the year.
The list goes on, as she was named the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association’s state defensive player of the year this season and was a unanimous first-team all-state selection. Smith-Traore had a state-best 126 blocks this season.
She averaged 16.9 points, 15.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.9 steals, and 5 blocks per game on a team that was ranked No. 1 in Division 3 most of the season.
She’s the school’s all-time leader in rebounds with 1,186 and blocks with 377. She’s second to Brooke Trewyn—who is now playing at UW-Whitewater—in points scored with 1,393.
“Myriama is an extraordinary once-in-a-lifetime player, and I just feel fortunate to have had her in a Whitewater uniform,” said coach Judy Harms. “I’ve had many good players over the years, but no one can match her ability to run the floor and rebound at both ends. Myriama’s overall athleticism is spectacular. I just love the excitement she has brought to our program, as well as the whole town of Whitewater.”
“Away from basketball, Myriama is an amazing person. Her parents have done a remarkable job raising her, and it will be exciting to see where the future takes her beyond basketball.”
Smith-Traore was feared and respected among opponents.
Big Foot coach Rick Schoenbeck called her “dominant,” adding she’s the “best player in the county.”
Also, East Troy girls coach Jeff Brown had high praise.
“In seven years, she’s the best player I’ve seen in this conference,” he said. “She’s an absolute stud.”
Grace Beyer, sophomore, Mukwonago
The Classic 8 player of they year helped the Indians to a 22-3 record and a sectional semifinal in only her second varsity season.
The crafty point guard was a unanimous WBCA Division 1 all-state pick.
Beyer led the team with 17 points per game, added 5.8 rebounds and nearly four assists while knocking down 40 percent from three-point range.
Beyer hit 52 triples in only 25 games and added nearly two steals per contest.
Mukwonago coach Rick Kolinske said Beyer is an extremely intelligent and skilled player who excels on both ends of the court.
“Her efficiency on offense is one of her most impressive stats,” Kolinske said. “She shoots the ball at a high percentage (45.7 percent), while only turning the ball over less than twice a game.”
“Being a point guard and having the ball in her hands the majority of the time makes that an impressive stat. Statistically, I would be very surprised if you find a more efficient player in all aspects of the game.”
Rebekah Schumacher, senior, Whitewater
Playing on one of the best teams in the area and alongside perhaps the best player didn’t stop Schumacher’s star from shining brightly.
The WBCA all-state honorable mention selection finished her brilliant career with 13.3 points per game in her senior campaign, along with four steals, four assists and four rebounds.
“Rebekah is a dynamic player, and I am just fortunate to have had her in a Whitewater uniform,” Harms said. “Rebekah dazzles the crowd with her ability to glide coast to coast in transition. She has surpassed the 1,000-point mark, demonstrating her ability to score inside and out.”
“I will miss her overall ability to fast break, shoot 3’s, her deceptive ability to steal the ball and her passion to play.”
Rebekah will join her sister, Sarah, as a University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawk next season.
Brooklyn Bull, junior, Union Grove
Perhaps the best pure scorer in the area, Bull can light it up on just about any defense, as evidenced in her 30-point outburst against Milton in the sectional semifinal.
A first team all-Racine County selection, she also earned first team all-SLC and has the potential to make all-state as a senior.
She shot 42 percent from downtown and broke the school record with 63 triples.
Bull also broke the Grove single-season scoring record of 391 this season, only to be passed by Shiffler.
Bull averaged 16.3 points per game.
“Brooklyn is a natural scorer, and I believe she has the best jump shot in Racine County,” said coach Rob Domagalski. “She is very difficult to defend because she has incredible range from the outside and the ability to accurately shoot off the dribble.”
“She is one of the best players I’ve seen who could improvise and score when a play breaks down.”
Bull and Shiffler have helped the Broncos to three consecutive conference championships and 20-win seasons.
Jessa Burling, junior, Burlington
One of the area’s best all-around players joins the SLN first team for the first time after earning second team honors as a sophomore.
What didn’t the 5-foot-8 point guard do for the Demons this season?
Her 16.6 points, nine rebounds and 4.8 steals per game helped Burlington to third place in the SLC, its best finish in head coach Mary Parker’s four years.
Burling added 2.4 assists and 1.4 blocks per contest, and she became the career single-season steals leader and is only 109 points away from 1,000 for her career.
With only 21 points, she will become the school’s all-time leading scorer, and she was in the top five in the conference in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.
The first team all-Racine County selection has room for growth, and with an improved outside shot, should dominate the SLC next season.
“Jessa has really developed into a force offensively by doing a much better job of reading the defense and exploiting weaknesses,” Parker said. “On the defensive end, her ability to see the entire court, be in the correct position and anticipate is unbelievable. She is one of the best man-to-man defenders I have seen. She is often tasked with guarding the other team’s best player.”
Natalie Andersen, sophomore, Mukwonago
The team leader in blocks and steals, Andersen added 10.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game for the 22-3 Indians.
A second team all-Classic 8 pick, Kolinske said Andersen is a “game changer.”
“She is one of the most athletic players that I have ever coached,” he said. “Her combination of length, speed and athleticism makes her a tough guard for a lot of teams. She is able to post smaller defenders and use her quickness against bigger defenders.”
Lauren Stefanczyk, junior, Palmyra-Eagle
The 5-foot-8 guard led the Panthers in scoring with 15.9 points per game and hit 42 percent of her shots from the floor.
A second team all-Rock Valley selection, she hit 68 percent on free throws and 32 percent from three-point range.
She added 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 steals per game.
Stefanczyk was the best player on the 5-18 Panthers.
Courtney Oomens, junior, Lake Geneva Badger
A first team all-SLC pick, Oomens led the conference in rebounding with 8.5 a game.
She added 11.7 points per contest, 1.7 steals and 1.2 blocks.
Badger coach David Jooss said Oomens had a great season for Lake Geneva.
“She was recognized as one of the best players in the conference and is a very versatile player that continues to get better and better each season,” Jooss said.
Delaney Sjong, senior, Wilmot
Selected to play in the WBCA Division 2 All-Star game, the post presence helped man the middle for the Lady Panthers.
The Panthers were 6-2 when she snagged 10 or more rebounds in a game, an indication that when she dominates the boards and scores Wilmot wins.
Sjong, a first team all-SLC selection, led the team with 13.4 points per game and 8.4 rebounds.
Named team MVP, Sjong played in the Kenosha vs. Racine County All-Star game.
“She was the leader on and off the court for us and brought an inside presence to our team,” Square said.
Olivia Briggs, senior, Walworth Big Foot
The 5-foot-10 senior guard was named team MVP and was the unquestionable leader as team captain.
She was named first team all-Rock Valley South, averaging 12 points, nearly six rebounds and nearly four assists per contest.
Briggs was also the best defensive player on the team with 70 steals, which comes out to about three per contest.
Kenna Timmerman, senior, Delavan-Darien
A prolific scorer at 6-feet, Timmerman averaged 14.7 points and 9.1 rebounds per contest to earn first team all-SLC honors.
Though the Comets struggled to a 7-17 record, Timmerman made her living at the line, leading the conference in free throws made for the season.
She was second in free throws attempted per game and connected on 71 percent of her foul shots.
She was tied for third in the SLC with 1.3 blocks per game.
Head coach Jose Lopez said Kenna was a superb defender and often guarded the opponent’s best player.
“She was our best rebounder and could finish with either hand in the post,” Lopez said. “She was a crunch time free-throw shooter who knew how to draw fouls. She understood what we were trying to accomplish on both sides of the floor.”
Megan Wallace, senior, Burlington
One of the most athletic players in the area, the SLN 2016 Girls All-Area Athlete of the Year uses her volleyball leaping ability and track speed to menace the opposition with a relentless motor near the basket.
The second team all-SLC and all-county pick scored 13 points and grabbed 7.3 rebounds per contest, along with 1.5 steals and 1.1 assists.
She shot an efficient 44 percent from the floor and would often get to the rim with ease and finish in traffic.
“Megan is a tremendous athlete, which is why she is such a great defender and offensive threat,” Parker said. “She often would have to guard girls much taller than her but could do it without issue. Offensively, she posed matchup issues for opposing teams, because of her quickness and ability to attack the basket.”
“She would finish with the strength of a post, but could get to the hoop with the quickness of a guard.”
Leslie Olson, junior, Williams Bay
– 12.1 ppg, 10.2 reb, 1.6 steals, 1.5 blocks
“Leslie is a great silent leader,” said coach Alyssa Arneson. “She is still learning the game but has put in a lot of work over the summer.”
Brooke Wellhausen, senior, Walworth Big Foot
9.9 ppg, 8.7 reb, 56 steals, 47%FG, co team MVP, first team all-RVC Southern Lakes Newspapers
Angie Cera, Mukwonago
10.7 ppg, 4.8 reb, 33 3-pointers, 2nd team all-Classic 8
“Angie was our best defender all year, and I believe she is the best defender in our conference,” Kolinske said.
Jenn Freeman, senior, Lake Geneva Badger
2nd team all-SLC, 12 ppg, 2.8 steals, 2.8 assists
“Jenn has been a tremendous leader in our program and had a great senior season,” Jooss said. “She plays the game the way it should be played, with grit and hustle. She averaged more than a charge per game.”
Erin Rice, sophomore, East Troy
2nd team all-RVC, 12 ppg
“She is a pure scorer that can shoot 3’s,” said East Troy coach Jeff Brown. “She can score in a variety of ways and get fouled.”
Mackenzie Lindow, sophomore, East Troy
12 ppg, led team in assists
“She’s a really smart player,” Brown said. “Nobody works harder than her.”
Ryley Rand, freshman, Elkhorn
Bridget Bittman, senior, Catholic Central
13.5 ppg, 4.6 reb, 2nd team all-Metro Classic
McKenna Stanek, senior, Wilmot
8.5 ppg, 28 3’s, 2nd team all-SLC
“She was voted captain by teammates, and when she shot the ball well, we won,” Square said.
Morgan Zenon, Wilmot
2nd team all-SLC, 8.5 ppg, 6.5 reb
“Morgan continues to develop and improve, she took a huge step this year,” Square said. “She was a dominant force on defense.”
Katie Rohner, freshman, Waterford
2nd team all-SLC, 2nd team all-county, 10.6 ppg, 3.5 reb, 2.2 asts, 1.8 steals
“She is a game changer,” said coach Dena Brechtl. “This kid knows how to play basketball and can get to the rim as she wishes. She has a nice outside shot and is a great defender.”
Lindsey Kimpler, Westosha Central
Led team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals, led SLC in assists per game, top 10 in SLC in rebounding
“She’s a hard worker who plays with tremendous passion,” said coach Ben Michelau.