Area All-Star Teams
F Ashley Hermanson, Monroe
G Gwen Sutter, Monroe
G Kimee Chandler, Pecatonica
F Dana Lewis, Brodhead
G Kyleigh Sellnow, Monroe
G Chelsea Brice, Monroe
G Kylee Ritschard, Monroe
F Jamie Armstrong, Monroe
F Tanya Gruter, New Glarus
F Ellen Kiser, Juda
F Heather Boeke, Juda
F Kim Wellnitz, Black Hawk
G Bryan Tordoff, Monroe
G Michael Barrett, Monroe
F Kevin Frint, Monroe
F J.J. Panoske, Brodhead
G Alex Erickson, Darlington
G Jake Cole, Brodhead
G Tucker Wiegel, Darlington
G Tyler Ritschard, Monticello
G Tyler Meier, Monticello
F Ryan Bright, New Glarus
F Nick Stuessy, New Glarus
F Nick Jacobson, Brodhead
This year, the teams look slightly different. There are 11 returning players - eight from the girls team. This list isn't out of the realm of debate, but it is my list. If I were collecting a boys team and a girls team this year, these 24 players would be on my squads and we would be the Harlem Globetrotters of Wisconsin - going town to town and putting on a show.
First, the ladies. Starting guards would be Kimee Chandler of Pecatonica and Monroe's Gwen Sutter and Kyleigh Sellnow. Ashley Hermanson (Monroe) and Dana Lewis (Brodhead) would be in the post.
My bench may be the best yet. Forwards Jamie Armstrong (Monroe), Ellen Kiser (Juda), Heather Boeke (Juda), Tanya Gruter (New Glarus) and Kim Wellnitz (Black Hawk) would give me more than enough options in the post with the occasional 3-pointer. Chelsea Brice and Kylee Ritschard would be my backup guards, with Ritschard able to move to a post position if needed. Though, with this bench, that scenario seems unlikely.
This girls team has hustle and post written all over it. Not only can they dominate the paint, but they have the area's best 3-point shooters, with the exception of alternates Michelle Preston (New Glarus) and Hayli Peach (Albany).
Chandler, a UW-Milwaukee recruit, can both dribble-drive and pop a shot from anywhere on the court. Sellnow, Sutter and Brice have all proven that they can do the same.
Hermanson, Lewis and Armstrong are all so interchangeable, it almost begs the question - could I really just start these three and finish .500 for a season?
The answer is probably closer to "yes" than it is to "no."
The inside presence from Kiser, Boeke, Wellnitz and Gruter not only will give starters a nice chance to rest, but will impress the crowd with their blue-collar play. Ritschard, like Gruter, could be championed, "Miss Hustle" if there was such an award.
My team would pound it inside, then kick it out when needed. The full-court press defense would scare even the states most athletic teams. We would win, and we would win big.
Three of these players (Chandler, Hermanson and Lewis) are going to play college at the D-II or D-I level next year, and others (Wellnitz, Sutter and Brice) will likely get a shot at the next level. Armstrong will leave to play volleyball in Washington D.C., and Sellnow, Kiser and Ritschard will all be back next year.
Now for the gentlemen. There are only three returning players from a year ago, but I would take this crop up with just about any other team in the state.
I would chose Monroe guards Bryan Tordoff and Michael Barrett, along with center Kevin Frint, who would make up a formidable scoring threat. The three led the team to a first-round playoff bye. Darlington sharpshooter Alex Erickson and Brodhead's big man J.J. Panoske would round out a starting lineup that wouldn't give out nearly enough shots to one another.
A bench of Jake Cole (Brodhead), Ryan Bright (New Glarus), Tucker Wiegel (Darlington), Nick Stuessy (New Glarus), Nick Jacobson (Brodhead), Tyler Ritschard (Monticello) and Tyler Meier (Monticello) would be more than enough to keep me in every game.
Panoske and Erickson are each averaging over 20 points per game, with Panoske, a 6-foot, 9-inch D-I prospect, clocking seven games with 30-plus points.
Tordoff has seen his average go down since an ankle sprain nearly a month ago, but on any given night, Tordoff, like Panoske and Erickson, can knock down six 3s and pour in 25 points. Barrett can also shoot lights out and rounds out the three guards as a smart, distributing and scoring machine. Frint has blossomed this year as a senior. At 6-7 Frint has more than developed an inside game. When aggressive, he is as tenacious as nearly any post player in the state.
Backup guard Jake Cole would start on any team I would coach - except for this team. But I will tell you what, this Deron Williams-like creature from Brodhead is something special. He plays solid defense, moves the ball all around the floor while creating loads of spark, offense and, most importantly, keeps turnovers to a minimum. Wiegel is likely the smallest player in the area, but his jumping ability, quick hands and feet make him a great spark off the bench.
Ryan Bright is likely my sixth man, and that's saying something for the area's closest resemblance to Tim Tebow. Having the ability to play guard and forward, Bright goes about his business with a work ethic and competitive streak rarely seen. Yet talk to him after the game, and he is a stoic, modest All-American young man.
Stuessy is a solid post player with great touch. Not many 5's are called upon to shoot technical free throws. Stuessy is that guy. Jacobson also has a knack for being physical in the post, and isn't afraid to go on a mean streak.
Ritschard and Meier are not only on the team because they represent D-4's flashiest team, Monticello, but also because they are great decision makers and scoring threats. Meier can be the guy asked to rebound and pass to any open man and Ritschard can score points in a matter of seconds. Eighteen points in a half? No problem.
I guess it doesn't matter how many area athletes you throw on the floor, boys or girls. South central Wisconsin is riddled with talent that I get to witness play the game of basketball every day, and for that I, along with all those fans supporting these players, are fortunate.
- Adam Krebs is the sports editor at the Monroe Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.