Best of AAU Best 3-Point Shooter—Katie Borowicz, Stars 9th Hersch and Roseau I went through all the box scores of the entire tournament for every semi-finalist and, trust me, there were precious few successful 3-point shooters this tournament. That…
Best of AAU
Best 3-Point Shooter—Katie Borowicz, Stars 9th Hersch and Roseau
I went through all the box scores of the entire tournament for every semi-finalist and, trust me, there were precious few successful 3-point shooters this tournament. That was one thing that set Stars Hersch apart from pretty much every other team—well, that and the fact that they won a championship. But, bottom line, Stars Hersch can shoot it from downtown and, while they’re at it, they can hit the mid-range jumper as well. So, no, those are not quite lost arts just yet. Borowicz was the best of the best, scoring 31 points in a semi-final win over Suns Coley and 14 in the final against North Tartan Sinn. She started out slowly in the final but shooters shoot, as they say, and she knocked down a couple of bombs down the stretch that were the difference in that game.
Runner-Up—Paige Kindseth, Stars 9th Hersch and Farmington
Best Rebounder—Mallory Brake, North Tartan 10th Starks and Hastings
Brake is a 6-0 jill of all trades. She can play 5 positions and she hits the boards like somebody a few inches taller and 50 pounds heavier. She combines the 2 things that make for a great rebounder which is, of course, jumping ability and anticipation—the vertical and the horizontal. Oh, and desire is in there somewhere, and Brake just wants that damn ball.
Runner-Up—Dlayla Chakolis, Stars 9th Nelson and Hopkins
Best Ball Defender—Paige Bueckers, North Tartan 10th Starks and Hopkins
Neither Cos nor Tara Starks asks Bueckers to play really really tough defense most of the time. She’s gonna be on the floor for 32 or 36 minutes or pretty close to that, so they don’t want to wear her out. But late in the 1st half, the Fury was giving Buecker’s team all they could handle when coach Starks put Bueckers on the Fury’s Kenzie Kramer, and Paige just totally shut down and frustrated Kramer. Bueckers never guarded Kramer again after that, but it was a statement and a successful statement. If the game came down to the final minute and if we need to shut Kenzie down, we can do it. Statement made and received.
Runner-Up—Somebody from among North Tartan 9th Sinn’s group including Haleigh Timmer, Carolyn Adamson and Kendal Cox. All did a good job collectively of slowing down Fury 2021 Gauntlet and Stars 9th Hersch.
Best Ball Handler—Mimi Schrader, Suns 11th Kietzer and Wayzata
It’s not just that Schrader has the best handles or that she generally avoids turnovers, though both of those things are true. It’s the almost endless variety of things that she can do, and that she does, to fend off aggressive defenders. She put one dribble drive on North Tartan Herbie that said it all. I have never seen so many different moves in one dribble drive—changing speeds, behind the back, left to right crossover, right to left cross, between the legs, a hop step, and there was probably some more. All in one dribble drive while keeping the ball on a string the whole time. Even Herbie could not quite believe what he had seen.
Runner-Up—Sara Scalia, North Tartan 11th Coury and Stillwater
Best Passer—Ashley Gustavson, North Tartan Herbie and Mankato East
Now, here, I’ll have to say that there’s lots of different ways to measure this and I could come up with a half dozen “best passers.” But for now, let’s say the best passer is somebody who penetrates the lane at a very high rate of speed and in the middle of a spin can find a post with a no-look pass that is right on the money for an easy 2-on-1 conversion, then Gustavson is your girl.
Best Hands (Post edition) (tie)—Sophie Hart, Fury 2021 Gauntlet and Farmington, and Natalie Mazurek, Fury 2020 Gauntlet and Eden Prairie
Two somewhat similar players though we’ll note that Hart is both younger and bigger. Still, both are very mobile posts for the size and both have very nice, soft hands.
Most Relentless Attacker (and Also Effective)—Adalia McKenzie, Stars 9th Hersch and Park Center (?)
OK, so it’s the 21st century and everybody is in attack mode. Well, McKenzie is in double attack mode. She almost never fails to go to the rim, and she almost never fails to get to the rim. Everybody knows what’s coming. And, yet, nobody can stop her. Well, OK, North Tartan 9th Sinn had some success for awhile. But, then, she scored on a dribble drive at 5:10 to get her team within one, and did it again at about one minute to make it 49-43 and, as it turned out, her team needed every single one of those points.
Runner-Up—Amaya Battle, North Tartan 8th Contreras and Hopkins
Quickest First Step—Masengo Mutanda, North Tartan Coury and Armstrong
Still coming back from a serious knee injury but it is already in the realm of possibility that her 1st step is again the fastest in the state. They say that college recruiters want to see her shoot it a little more and with a little more range before taking the leap. She’s not as big as Kenisha Bell and she’s not a 1, but she may be the quickest player since Kenisha Bell.
Under-utilized—Emma Carpenter, Fury 2019 Gauntlet and Eastview
I’m sure somebody can say what her role is. She’s the backup point guard, maybe? Or she’s a backup at the 2? Or she’s a power forward? I’m sure somebody can define what her role is. But after watching her team play one game—and, yes, for sure, it was only one game—I don’t know what it is.
Runner-Up—Emily Russo, Stars Antl and New Prague
Intangibles—Macy Guebert, North Tartan 11th Coury and Eastview
Macy is one of the quietest kids you’ll ever see on a basketball court in terms of, you know, body language and expressing emotions and all of that. And, then, out of the blue, she hits a buzzer-beater or makes a couple straight 3s or whatever the dagger might be, she throws it, and then runs downcourt like nothing happened. But her teammates take note and it’s always, you know, holy crap, I wanna be on her team.
Runner-Up—Lauren Jensen, North Tartan 10th Starks and Lakeville North
Pound-for-Pound, Inch-for-Inch—Katie Borowicz
Nothing much to add. Just, wow, her basketball IQ is like a million or something.
Runner-Up—Joey Batt, Rise 11th Wolfe and New Ulm