Here’s a look at the top Minnesota girls basketball players from the area for the 2014-15 season.
Sam Haiby – Moorhead – Guard – Freshman
There’s a reason colleges are looking at Sam Haiby. She’s just a freshman and there’s not much she can’t do on a basketball court.
In her first year starting for the Spuds, Haiby averaged 20.7 points, 5.8 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 steals a game. She shot 41 percent from the field and 73 percent from the free-throw line.
Her assist-to-turnover ratio was more than 2-to-1.
Mackenzie Korf – Pelican Rapids – Guard – Junior
Mackenzie Korf averaged 18.5 points, 6.5 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 steals a game this season for 19-9 Pelican Rapids, while shooting nearly 80 percent from the free-throw line.
Not bad considering she tore her ACL last February. The picture above was the only real way to guard Korf.
Mira Ellefson – Hawley – Forward – Junior
She’s got the size of a power forward, but can handle the ball like a point guard. She can shoot, she can drive, she can work in the post. Hawley’s Mira Ellefson did it all for the Nuggets.
Ellefson averaged 18.3 points and 8.08 rebounds this season. She shot 54 percent from the field, hit 27 of her 66 (40.9 percent) of her 3-point attempts and shot 77.7 percent from the free-throw line. Ellefson also averaged 2.62 steals and 2.62 assists to go along with one block a game.
Lexi Merkens – Ada-Borup – Forward – Senior
Lexi Merkens was the No. 1 player on the No. 1 team in Class 1A in Ada-Borup.
Everything down low belonged to Merkens. Every rebound, every point, every defensive stop.
She averaged nearly 15 points and more than five rebounds a game. She shot 45 percent from the field and hit 47 of her 134 (35 percent) attempts from 3-point land.
She could score down low or beyond the 3-point arc and averaged 3.62 assists and 2.55 steals a game.
In the state tournament, Merkens had seven points, eight assists and nine rebounds in the quarterfinals, 12 points in the semifinals and a double-double in the state championship with 17 points, 11 rebounds and five assists to lead the Cougars to a state title.
Shay Nielsen – Detroit Lakes – Center – Senior
Shay Nielsen averaged 18.5 points and 11.3 rebounds this season for Detroit Lakes. The senior shot 51.4 percent from the field and 74.6 percent at the free-throw line.
Nielsen was a finalist for Minnesota Miss Basketball award and is headed to the University of Minnesota for shot put.
FIRST OFF THE BENCH
Lincoln Haiby – Pelican Rapids – Forward – Senior
Lincoln Haiby averaged 14.9 points and 9.4 rebounds a game for Pelican Rapids to go along with two assists and 1.9 steals a game. The senior shot 76.3 percent from the free-throw line as well.
Jody Noreen – Hawley – Guard – Senior
Stats will never show what Jody Noreen has meant to the Hawley basketball program, but the oddity in seeing someone else bring up the ball next season will.
Noreen has seemingly been the point guard and floor general for the Nuggets forever. She averaged 7.96 points, 4.07 assists, 2.81 rebounds and 2.46 steals a game this season for the Nuggets. She had one turnover for every three assists.
She played some of the best defense in the area, dove for loose balls and it’s hard to find someone who got more excited for every point than Noreen. Every intangible a coach could want, Noreen had.
Haley Poehler – Ada-Borup – Forward – Senior
Lexi Nelson – Ada-Borup – Guard – Junior
Miki Lee – Ada-Borup – Forward – Senior
Alli Skogen – Barnesville – Guard – Senior
Nicole Herbranson – Barnesville – Guard – Freshman
Peyton Boom – Barnesville – Center – Sophomore
Emily Friedrich – Brandon-Evansville – Center – Senior
Kyley Foster – Detroit Lakes – Guard – Senior
Alyson Brenna – Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton – Forward – Junior
Natalie Steichen – Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton – Guard – Freshman
Josi Tappe – Frazee – Guard – Senior
Kennady Barlund – Frazee – Forward – Senior
Olivia Olson – Hawley – Guard – Senior
Brooke Tonsfeldt – Moorhead – Forward – Sophomore
Lydia Rutten – New York Mills – Guard – Sophomore
Haley Henrickson – Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal – Guard – Senior
Katie Klein – Park Rapids – Guard – Senior
Megan Swedberg – Waubun – Center – Junior
Shania Glenz – Verndale – Guard – Sophomore
Hannah Gail – Wheaton-Herman-Norcross – Center – Sophomore
Jordan Stafford – Wheaton-Herman-Norcross – Guard – Junior
Chris Murphy can be reached at 701-241-5548 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SeeMurphsTweets for Minnesota prep updates and smart alecky remarks about sports, movies, music and life in general.