MITCHELL -- Mitchell girls’ basketball coach Wes Morgan was ready to form a college basketball team.
After being read the six players who earned 2013 Class AA all-state girls’ basketball honors, Morgan started explaining who would play each position and how dominant the squad could be.
Mitchell’s Macy Miller and Kerri Young, Sioux Falls Washington’s Emma Hanson, Sioux Falls Lincoln’s Cera Ledbetter, Sioux Falls Roosevelt’s Tagyn Larson and Aberdeen Central’s Sami Knecht comprise this year’s Class AA all-state team, which was announced Thursday by the South Dakota Basketball Coaches Association and state sportswriters association.
“That’s a pretty solid team,” said Morgan, whose Kernels squad was represented by Miller and Young on the first team for the second consecutive year. “They’d give a lot of college teams good competition right now. There’s a lot of talent there.”
Both South Dakota State University recruits, Miller and Young led Mitchell High School to its second consecutive state championship game this season and a 22-4 record.
Miller, a 6-foot junior point guard, led Mitchell in scoring at 19 points per game and set the school’s single-season scoring record with 493 points. She also averaged 5.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists in her fourth year on varsity.
Young, a senior guard/forward, averaged 16.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. She was named the state’s Gatorade player of the year earlier this month and wrapped up her high school career as Mitchell’s career all-time leading scorer with 1,760 points, which even tops Mike Miller, who now plays for the NBA’s Miami Heat.
“I think they complement each other in the fact that people can’t key on one or the other,” Morgan said. “Kerri and Macy are both scorers and their defense created a lot of offense for us this season.”
Denying Miller and Young a second consecutive Class AA state championship this year was Sioux Falls Lincoln. The Patriots’ Cera Ledbetter, a 6-foot senior center, helped her team slow down Miller and Young in the championship game, holding the Kernels to a season-low 36 points.
Ledbetter, who’s looking to play junior college basketball, averaged 15.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game en route to the title and helping her team to a 17-8 record. Last year, she was a second-team all-state selection.
“When athletic ability combines with physical strength that Cera is blessed with, you have a player that other teams have an extremely difficult time dealing with,” Lincoln coach Lyle Pearson said. “Cera was clearly the object of other teams’ game planning and was the core of our state championship team.”
Knecht, another senior, averaged 15 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals this year, helping the Golden Eagles to a fourth-place finish at state. Knecht led Aberdeen to a 21-3 record and shared the Eastern South Dakota Conference championship with Mitchell.
The 6-foot-2 center is headed to the University of Sioux Falls this fall to continue her basketball career. She was a second-team all-state selection as a junior.
“Sami is a great competitor with an outstanding attitude,” Aberdeen Central coach Dawn Seiler said. “Her work ethic has allowed her to improve on a daily basis.”
Hanson, a senior, and Larson, a sophomore, each earned their first all-state basketball honors. Hanson helped the Warriors to a 22-3 record and third-place state tournament finish, averaging 10 points and 6 rebounds per game. Despite having a strong season on the basketball court, Hanson has chosen to play volleyball at the University of Kansas.
“Emma’s skills, athleticism and leadership were a big asset to the Washington Warriors,” Washington coach Nate Malchow said.
Larson is the youngest member of this year’s all-state team. The 6-foot-3 sophomore guard averaged 11.9 points, 8 rebounds and 3.9 blocks per game, helping Roosevelt to a 17-8 record and a sixth-place spot at state.
“She is an amazing defender and adds more and more offense to her game all the time,” Roosevelt coach Chris Clark said.
The Class AA all-state second team includes three seniors, a junior and a pair of sophomores. Lincoln’s Darby Hugunin, Aberdeen’s Brynn Flakus, Washington’s Ellie Benson, Brandon Valley’s Allison Koehn, O’Gorman’s Jessica Mieras and Pierre’s Sydney Palmer round out the second team.