Jessica Hagman missed her sophomore season with a knee injury, but she came back at full strength, earning All-Middle Border Conference girls basketball honors.
Hagman was one of two New Richmond girls to receive all-conference status. Sophomore Leah DeYoung was an honorable mention selection.
St. Croix Central and Somerset both had one senior make the All-MBC team and both landed on the second team. Central's selection was Katherine Cottrell and Somerset's selection was Georgia Hammer.
Hagman ranked fourth in the MBC by averaging 15.6 points per game, and was a second team All-MBC choice as a freshman before missing her sophomore season due to knee surgery. Tiger coach Chad Eggert said Hagman came back at full strength this season and she was one of the most feared players in the conference.
"When teams played us, she was their number one concern," Eggert said, "and she was still able to put up pretty decent numbers."
Eggert said the game that showed Hagman was completely back at full strength was when she scored a career-high 31 points in a win over Osceola. In that game, Hagman drained six 3-pointers.
DeYoung has been an honorable mention selection in both of her high school seasons. Eggert said DeYoung is respected for her strong all-around game. He said DeYoung is the Tigers' best defender and she's a skilled rebounder, especially at the offensive end of the court. She also averaged eight points per game.
The Tigers return all five starters next year and Eggert said the team understands that there is the possibility for even more success after winning 14 games this season.
"The kids I have coming back are a passionate group," he said.
St. Croix Central
With no starters returning this season, Central needed someone to step up this season. Cottrell advanced her game to help the Panthers fill that need.
"She was our best all-around offensive and defensive player," said Central coach Ty Ketz.
In the past, Cottrell was primarily a perimeter player. She recognized the need that the Panthers had for someone to become a factor in the paint and became the Panthers' leader in rebounding and blocked shots and was one of the team's leading scorers.
Cottrell turned herself into an essential player, and Ketz said that became clear when the Panthers nearly upset Nicolet in a Christmas tournament.
"From that point on, she needed to be on the floor. She did so many good things for us," Ketz said.
Cottrell was one of six seniors on the Panther roster.
"They all had a role, so there are roles to be filled," Ketz said. He said the Panther JV team went 8-2 in its final 10 games and several players from that team will be pushing for varsity game time next season.
Hammer was the lone senior on the Spartan roster, but she took the veteran's role to heart, providing the team with spirited leadership. Hammer ranked sixth in the conference by averaging 14.7 points per game. She was an excellent perimeter shooter, but she became much more of a slasher this year, driving to the paint to create open looks for her teammates.
Somerset coach Cory Lindenberg pointed to the fact that Hammer ranked among the MBC leaders in points, steals and assists and that her rebound total increased drastically as a senior. Hammer was part of Somerset teams that reached the sectional tournament during her freshman and sophomore seasons.
"From a leadership standpoint, she tried to get every ounce out of her teammates," Lindenberg said.
The Spartans bring back a large percentage of their players and Lindenberg said the responsibility role grows for each of those players.
"For next year the message is, if we're going to win, you have to take on more for next year," Lindenberg said.