Messenger all-area girls basketball team revealed
Three seniors, three underclassmen comprise team
Youth was definitely served around the area this past winter.
But some of the “older” players still found ways to have success, as well.
The Messenger area all-girls basketball team features two freshmen, a junior and three seniors, led by the ninth-grade duo of Audi Crooks and Molly Joyce from Bishop Garrigan.
Flanking Crooks and Joyce are Newell-Fonda junior Ella Larsen, Webster City senior Taylor McKinney, Algona senior Abbey Holmes and North Union senior Chloe Lofstrom.
All three of the seniors surpassed a scoring milestone during their respective careers, while the other three underclassmen reached the same Class 1A state championship game and put on a performance for the ages.
To be included for selection, the player must have been named either first team all-conference or first team all-state.
Honorable mention status went to Macy Sievers, Newell-Fonda; Maggie Walker, Newell-Fonda; Molly Schany, Emmetsburg; and Kaylee Shivers, Pocahontas Area.
Bishop Garrigan, fr.
The daughter of Fort Dodge Senior High graduate Jimmie Crooks and former Bishop Garrigan standout Michelle (Vitzthum) Cook, Audi Crooks came into the season with plenty of hype surrounding her.
And she delivered.
Crooks set an Iowa freshman scoring record with 626 points, breaking the previous marks for field goals made (270) and percentage (70.7) along the way.
She also had 320 rebounds as the Golden Bears made their first state finals appearance.
On the big stage of state, Crooks was at her best, scoring 76 points with 45 rebounds over three games.
Molly Joyce, Bishop Garrigan, fr.
It can be tough enough for one freshman to break into a talented returning lineup, but Bishop Garrigan had two accomplish the feat.
Molly Joyce took control of a new fast-break approach for the Golden Bears and ran with it, averaging 17.6 points with 109 steals, 71 assists and 52 rebounds. She knocked down a team-high 65 three-pointers.
Joyce scored a career-high 35 in a win over Cherokee at the Tyson Events Center in January.
Taylor McKinney, Webster City, sr.
Fans of Webster City basketball, and the North Central Conference, will never forget Taylor McKinney. The senior guard became the program scoring leader for 5-on-5 basketball and provided memories to last a lifetime along the way.
McKinney averaged 17.6 points per game this past year, shooting 46 percent from the field, 79 percent from the free throw line and knocking down 52 three-pointers. She also led the Lynx in assists, steals and was third on the team in rebounding.
She had one of her best games inside the Jefferson Gym with 31 points in a 49-39 victory over St. Edmond.
Ella Larsen, Newell-Fonda, jr.
Four members of the state champion Newell-Fonda girls scored in double figures, but junior Ella Larsen earned her spot on this team thanks to her do-everything abilities.
Larsen, the sister of former Mustang standout Olivia Larsen, averaged 10 points per game on 51 percent shooting from the field. She also led Newell-Fonda with 149 rebounds, 116 steals and 22 blocks, placing second on the team with 112 assists.
The Mustangs have posted back-to-back perfect seasons, and Larsen has been a key piece to that run for head coach Dick Jungers.
Abbey Holmes, Algona, sr.
Over the past four years, the success of the Algona girls was driven by senior Abbey Holmes. A future member of the Northern State University basketball team, Holmes was a multi-time all-North Central Conference and all-state selection.
This past winter, Holmes scored 353 points with 94 rebounds, 54 assists and 43 steals. She concluded her Algona career with 1,355 points, 262 made 3-pointers and 70 victories in uniform.
Chloe Lofstrom, North Union, sr.
A future member of the Morningside basketball team, Chloe Lofstrom battled constant double teams to still average just under 20 points per night to lead North Union.
Lofstrom, a senior, shot 54 percent from the field and made 128 of her 197 free throws. She also led the Warriors with 259 rebounds and 15 blocks, adding 30 assists and 15 steals to her totals.
For her career, Lofstrom scored 1,554 points and helped North Union reach the state tournament.