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Messenger names all-decade girls basketball teams

Ruffridge, Huss among those honored

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Elle Ruffridge of Pocahontas Area waves to the crowd after breaking the all-time assist record during Class 3A quarterfinal action in Des Moines.

Iowa’s all-time leading scorer for girls basketball, a budding career hampered by injuries, a local star taken too soon and a handful of state championships.

That sums up the past decade of basketball in the area, as we have been blessed with some incredibly talented individuals and gold-medal-level teams.

Elle Ruffridge led Pocahontas Area to back-to-back state titles and cemented her legacy as one of the all-time greats in the process.

Manson Northwest Webster’s Ellie Herzberg was well on her way to doing the same when injuries took her senior year away. Herzberg recovered and excelled at the collegiate level.

Alli Huss was the type of player you could build your program around, and that’s exactly was St. Edmond did.

Newell-Fonda’s Renee Maneman and Olivia Larsen helped continue to Mustang dynasty, while Twin Lakes Conference rivals Haley Birks and Maddie Jones from South Central Calhoun were always on their heels.

Those seven comprise the first-ever Messenger all-decade first-team, with seven others forming the second-team.

To be considered for the honor roll, the player had to have graduated between the 2010-11 and 2019-2020 seasons.

Selected players are listed in order of their graduating class.

MESSENGER ALL-DECADE FIRST TEAM

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Haley Birks of South Central Calhoun shoots over IKM- Manning's Kali Rasmussen (22) and Morgan Muhlbauer (30) during Class 2A Quarterfinals on Monday inside Wells Fargo Arena

Ellie Herzberg, Manson NW (2014)

An injury deprived fans and Ellie Herzberg of what was shaping up to be a storybook senior year. Herzberg was averaging 25.6 points and five rebounds a night through eight games when she was hurt in 2014.

Herzberg, who would go on to play for the University of Northern Iowa, also had 50 steals and 44 assists at that time.

As a junior, she averaged almost 26 points per game with team-highs in rebounds (173), steals (142), assists (103) and blocks (21).

Alli Huss, St. Edmond (2014)

Northern Iowa guard Ellie Herzberg (10) dribbles past DePaul forward Kelly Campbell (20) during the first half of a first-round game in the women's NCAA college basketball tournament in Starkville, Miss., Friday, March 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

During her time as a Gael, no single player competed with more heart and determination than Alli Huss.

As a senior, Huss averaged a double-double, scoring 19 points with 10 rebounds a night for St. Edmond. She also had 60 assists, 58 blocks and 46 steals that year as the Gaels.

St. Edmond won a share of the North Central Conference that year, winning 21 games before falling in a thriller in the postseason.

Renee Maneman, Newell-Fonda (2014)

A run to the state finals for Newell-Fonda in 2014 was spearheaded by Renee Maneman, as she averaged 15 points a five rebounds per game.

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Maddie Jones of South Central Calhoun drives towards the basket against Manson NW Webster

Even more impressive was her 145 assists and 115 steals, which included nearly a 3-to-1 assists to turnover ratio.

Haley Birks, South Central Calhoun (2015)

Another player from the ultra-talented Twin Lakes Conference during the past decade was South Central Calhoun’s Haley Birks.

Birks averaged 16 points and six rebounds a night in 2015 as a senior, adding 90 steals, 58 assists and 25 blocked shots.

The Titans won 23 games and reached the state semifinals that year before falling to eventual champion North Linn.

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Olivia Larsen of Newell-Fonda puts up a shot against St. Edmond on Monday

Elle Ruffridge, Pocahontas Area (2017)

The queen of the Twin Lakes Conference in 2017 was Elle Ruffridge, as she led Pocahontas Area to a second consecutive state championship.

The current Missouri State University player averaged 30 points a night in setting the state scoring record. She made 157 three-pointers, dished out 203 assists and had 130 steals.

Ruffridge led the state in scoring, made 3-pointers, assists and was 10th in steals.

Olivia Larsen, Newell-Fonda (2019)

Part of the current success for Newell-Fonda started during Olivia Larsen’s time in a Mustang uniform.

In helping Newell-Fonda win the Twin Lakes Conference, a state title and go undefeated, Larsen averaged 14 points per night and reached triple digits in rebounds (151), steals (143) and assists (119).

Maddie Jones, South Central Calhoun (2019)

Competing right there night in and night out with Newell-Fonda for Twin Lakes Conference bragging rights was Maddie Jones and South Central Calhoun.

As a senior, Jones averaged 20 points per night with 111 rebounds, 100 assists and 95 steals.

MESSENGER ALL-DECADE SECOND TEAM

Anna Yung, St. Edmond (2015)

Part of an incredible run through the North Central Conference for St. Edmond, Anna Yung finished off her career by averaging 17.5 points and seven rebounds per game. She also had 63 assists and 60 steals.

Jaci Stumpf, St. Edmond (2015)

Completing the Gael backcourt duo with Anna Yung was Jaci Stumpf, who set a junior record with 200 assists.

Stumpf followed that up by averaging 16 points per game with 123 assists and 75 steals in 2015.

Johanna Vaske, Bishop Garrigan (2016)

Bishop Garrigan’s Johanna Vaske did a little bit of everything as a senior in 2016, averaging 19 points per game with 222 rebounds, 70 steals, 43 blocks and 42 steals.

Shareece Smith, Fort Dodge (2018)

Throughout her career at Fort Dodge, Shareece Smith flashed the versatility that made her a college standout, averaging 16 points with 110 rebounds, 64 steals and 42 assists as a senior.

Jenna Boelter, Bishop Garrigan (2018)

Jenna Boelter helped Bishop Garrigan end a lengthy state tournament drought in 2018, helping the Golden Bears reach the elite eight by averaging 20 points per game with 89 steals and 77 assists.

Taylor McKinney, Webster City (2020)

The Webster City girls basketball history books are filled with Taylor McKinney’s name, as she went out this past year by averaging 18 points a night with 67 rebounds, 31 steals and 30 assists.

Chloe Lofstrom, North Union (2020)

Along with helping North Union reach state during her career, Chloe Lofstrom finished things off by posting 20 points per game with 259 rebounds, 30 assists, 15 steals and 15 blocks this past year as a senior.

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