BROOKINGS — It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the top players in Class AA girls’ basketball all helped lead their teams to the 2019 state tournament.
Not only did the six members of the first team put up outstanding individual numbers, their teams had stellar years, as well, as evidenced by Player of the Year Jeniah Ugofsky of Harrisburg. The Tigers posted a 16-4 regular-season record to earn the second seed in the postseason; defeated Sioux Falls Roosevelt, 65-35, in the SoDak 16; and eventually placed third at the state tournament after falling in the semifinals, 42-39, to third-seeded Sioux Falls Lincoln before bouncing back with a 49-42 win over Mitchell for third.
Along the way, Ugofsky averaged 11.5 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game while totaling 52 steals and 24 blocks on the season. In earning All-Tournament honors, she averaged 9 points and 7.7 rebounds and had four blocks against the Kernels.
“Jen is in the top 10 in numerous statistical categories at Harrisburg High School, but her lasting impact on our program will be her indelible leadership,” said Tiger head coach Nick Mayer of his senior post. “She displayed the qualities of a great leader early on in her career and that continued throughout her senior year.
“Jen has been a joy to coach and we wish her the best in the future.”
The only player in Class AA girls’ basketball to average a double-double in points (19.0) and rebounds (10.6), Brookings senior Michaela Jewett helped lead the Bobcats to a 14-4 regular season record and a 75-47 SoDak 16 win over Douglas for a state-tournament berth – the ‘Cats’ first since 2008.
Seeded fifth, the Bobcats finished eighth as Jewett averaged 14.6 points and 4.6 boards in the three losses to earn All-Tournament honors.
“I am incredibly happy with the season Michaela has had as a leader on and off the court,” said Bobcat head coach Mitch McLagan. “The fact that she led AA girls’ basketball in scoring and rebounding is quite an accomplishment, especially when a good portion of her shots came from beyond the 3-point line. She has a special skill set which makes her a very tough matchup – most post players cannot defend her around the perimeter and guards have a tough time defending her in the paint.
“When we needed a bucket, she just seemed to always have the ball in her hands and made the right decision. I think what makes Michaela special is that, not only is she a great scorer, but she has become a really good passer – she has the ability to make her teammates better which is something you just cannot coach.”
Brandon Valley senior Trinity Law capped off her high school career with a state championship as the fourth-seeded Lynx defeated Brookings (68-37), Mitchell (52-38) and Sioux Falls Lincoln (60-40) to claim the title and finish with a 20-4 record.
During the regular season, she averaged 10.2 points, 3.3 assists and 2.5 steals while pulling down 3.2 rebounds and adding seven total blocks. In the tournament, she averaged 9.0 points and 4.3 rebounds with five steals, five assists and a block to garner All-Tournament accolades.
“Trinity has been a great leader in our program and always one of our hardest workers,” said Lynx head coach Mark Stadem. “She’s a player that never wastes a rep – everything she does is at game speed.
“After her sophomore year, she had to make the move from the wing to the point for us, and she grew into one of the best point guards in the state – she is the best tempo setter in the state. If we got a rebound or turnover and put the ball in her hands to run our break, she was just deadly. She has tremendous speed, and vision to get us going, and is a great passer and finisher at the end of the break.”
Sioux Falls O’Gorman junior Emma Ronsiek helped lead the Lady Knights to an 18-3 record and top seed in the state tournament by averaging 15.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game and added a total of 23 steals and 13 blocks. She bumped her scoring to 18.6 points per game to go along with 6.3 boards and 2.1 assists in the tournament to earn All-Tournament honors as O’Gorman placed sixth.
“Emma is a tremendous basketball player and had another great season,” said Lady Knight head coach Kent Kolsrud. “She can score in a variety of ways, is a very good ball-handler and an excellent passer. She draws so much defensive attention and still maintains a high level of production. She is an excellent rebounder and provides our team with great leadership.
“We are very excited about her leading our team her senior season.”
Another junior that could dominate play was Sioux Falls Lincoln’s Morgan Hansen, who helped lead the Patriots to a second place finish at the Class AA State Tournament as the No. 3 seed coming in with a 14-6 record.
Hansen averaged 14.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game, to go along with 29 steals and 13 blocks during the regular season. She posted a double-double average of 12 points and 10.1 rebounds in the tournament for a spot on the All-Tournament squad.
“Morgan made outstanding strides in improving in all aspects of her game, especially consistency in perimeter shooting and post play,” said Patriot head coach Matt Daly. “Her skill set – both inside and outside – made her one of the main assets in getting us to the state championship game.”
Rapid City Stevens’ Kyah Watson rounds out the first team as the junior helped lead the Raiders to a 15-6 regular-season mark and a fifth-place finish in the state tournament, while picking up All-Tournament honors.
She averaged 14.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.2 steals in 2019 while posting an average of 10.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.0 steals in the tournament, in addition to three assists and three blocks in a 62-38 win over Sioux Falls Washington in the consolation semifinals.
“Kyah was the heartbeat of our team she really bought in this year to being a scorer and changing her mindset from a facilitating point guard into an attacking, aggressive offensive player,” said Raider head coach Michael Brooks. “That mental switch allowed our team to become very dynamic and gave others opportunities to be successful, especially in the open court.
“In the state tournament it was evident the impact that Kyah made on the offensive side, but what really sets her apart is her willingness to guard opposing positions 1 through 5. Against Washington, she played the middle of the zone and was able to create issues swarming opposing post players and getting the defensive board to lead the break.
“We saw continued growth with each game and really look forward to what her senior season has in store.”
Earning All-State Second Team honors were seniors Emily Mikkelsen of Pierre and Danica Kocer of the state champion Lynx. They were joined by juniors Emma Osmundson of Lincoln, Watertown’s Megan Fannin, Havyn Heinz of Huron and Yankton’s Madison Wuebben.
S.D. CLASS AA GIRLS’ ALL-STATE
As selected by the South Dakota Basketball Coaches Association
Emma Ronsiek, Sioux Falls O’Gorman – Jr., 6-1 G/F: 15.3 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.6 apg, 36% 3-pt. FG (29-of-81)
Jeniah Ugofsky, Harrisburg – Sr., 6-1 F/C: 11.5 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 3.7 apg, 2.5 spg, 24 total blocks
Michaela Jewett, Brookings – Sr., 6-0 F: 19.0 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 2.0 apg, 38% 3-pt. FG (32-of-84)
Morgan Hansen, Sioux Falls Lincoln – Jr., 6-1 G/F: 14.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 2.4 apg, 2.5 spg, 36% 3-pt. FG (26-of-73)
Trinity Law, Brandon Valley – Sr., 5-9 G: 10.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.3 apg, 2.5 spg
Kyah Watson, Rapid City Stevens – Jr., 6-0 G/F: 14.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.0 apg, 2.2 spg, 0.4 bpg
Emily Mikkelsen, Pierre T.F. Riggs – Sr., 5-6 G: 18.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.7 rpg, 33% 3-pt. FG (39-of-117)
Emma Osmundson, Sioux Falls Lincoln – Jr., 5-10 G: 15.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.6 apg, 2.0 spg
Megan Fannin, Watertown – Jr., 5-8 G: 15.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.5 spg, 39% 3-pt. FG (33-of-84)
Havyn Heinz, Huron – Jr., 5-6 G: 18.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.3 spg, 37% 3-pt. FG (37-of-98)
Madison Wuebben, Yankton – Jr., 5-9 G: 14.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.0 spg, 40% 3-pt. FG (47-of-117)
Danica Kocer, Brandon Valley – Sr., 5-9 G: 10.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.8 spg, 38% 3-pt. FG (31-of-98)