2014-15 Girls' All-Area Basketball Team
BRIANNA MARKUSIC, Oak Lawn, C, Sr.
* The South Suburban Conference Red Player of the Year was a logical choice to receive that same designation from this paper. Markusic averaged 19.9 points and 9.4 rebounds per game for the Spartans while becoming the program’s career scoring leader with 1,345 points. Markusic amassed 617 of those points during the 2014-15 campaign to establish a single-season record for Oak Lawn. She bumped her per-contest numbers up to 21.5 and 10, respectively, against SSC foes and burned Bremen for 40 points, which represented one more team standard. Named to the all-tournament squads at all three holiday events in which the Spartans took part, Markusic complemented her scoring and rebounding stats with 2.2 steals and 1.3 blocks per game.
ALEX ABED, Stagg, G, Sr.
* A reliable outside shooting threat, Abed converted 37 percent of her attempts from behind the 3-point arc while scoring 264 points and finishing as the Chargers' second-best threat at 9.1 points per contest. She also paced Stagg with 69 assists (2.4 per game) and 66 steals (2.3). Abed converted 107-of-127 free throws (84.3 percent) and despite standing just 5-foot-1 led her team in charges taken. She’ll play soccer and possibly basketball next year at Moraine Valley College.
ABBIE BULTHUIS, Chicago Chrstian, G, Sr.
* An All-Metro Suburban Conference selection, Bulthuis was part of a solid core that led the Knights to their third league title. Also a valuable member of Chicago Christian’s softball team, Bulthuis averaged nearly nine points per contest – the second-highest mark among Knights players -- and pulled down 95 rebounds (3.4 per game). And she delivered at crunch time -- Bulthuis scored 17 points in Chicago Christian’s 49-41 win over Timothy Christian that clinched the conference title and was also the Knights’ top scorer in their season-ending defeat to Morgan Park at the Class 3A Brooks Regional.
MIA DIGIACOMO, Stagg, F, Sr.
* A three-year varsity player for the Chargers, DiGiacomo led them in points (333; 11. 5 per game) and rebounds (222; 7.7 per game) as a senior. She posted eight double-doubles. DiGiacomo also registered 47 blocked shots, giving her 92 for her career and making her Stagg’s all-time leader in that statistical category. She was nominated for the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association All-State team after being selected as an All-SouthWest Suburban Conference Blue performer and tabbed as a member of the all-tourney contingent at the Hillcrest Holiday Classic. Chargers coach Bill Turner called DiGiacomo “a player that every coach would love to have, [who] always gave her best effort and had a great attitude.” She’s been offered to play basketball at Elmhurst College.
NICOLE LARKIN, Evergreen Park, F, Sr.
* A four-year starter for the Mustangs, Larkin served as a cornerstone for a program that enjoyed a resurgence over the past three seasons. During that span Evergreen Park captured three straight regional titles, this year’s being part of a 21-win campaign. Making her first appearance on the all-area squad, Larkin averaged 10 points and 7.4 rebounds per contest in her final prep go-around. She scored a team-high 13 point in the Mustangs’ regional-semifinal victory over Goode Academy and added 12 in the championship-game triumph over DuSable.
EMILY LEMMENES, Chicago Christian, G, Sr.
* Lemmenes was another of the Knights’ four All-Metro Suburban Conference athletes after playing a pivotal part in Chicago Christian’s turnaround from a 9-17 season in 2013-14 and its winning of the East Division title. She was perhaps its best all-around performer as she finished as the team’s top scorer (276 points; 9.6 per game) and made significant contributions as a rebounder (108; 3.9 average), defender (93 steals; 3.3) and assist person (72; 2.8). Lemmenes, who also is a valued member of the Knights’ soccer team, went 53-of-85 at the free-throw line.
LEAH KAMP, Chicago Christian, G, Sr.
* The third member of the Knights’ main quartet, Kamp earned her all-conference and all-area status by producing 246 points (8.8 per game) and pulling down 137 rebounds (4.5). Her scoring total ranked as third-best on the team. Kamp is best known as a soccer player at Chicago Christian but decided to give basketball a try as a senior – with some highly favorable results.
JESSICA MERINO, Sandburg, G, Jr.
* A two-year starter and co-captain for the 24-8 Eagles, Merino averaged 11 points and seven rebounds per game while helping her team secure the program’s first regional championship in a decade. Sandburg coach Chris Hellrung boasts that Merino can play -- and guard -- any position on the floor. Her presence was definitely felt in Eagles victories and her importance to Sandburg was perhaps most vividly illustrated in a season-ending loss to Homewood-Flossmoor in a sectional semifinal. While the Vikings would have been a handful under any circumstances, beating them became an impossible task for the Eagles when a sprained ankle limited Merino’s effectiveness in that contest.
ABBIE NEWSOME, Shepard, G, Jr.
* An All-South Suburban Conference Red performer, Newsome proved to be the Astros’ most consistent player. Coach Jenna McCormick defined Newsome as a true leader, knew what to expect from her and stated the squad would have struggled without her. Newsome averaged 12 points, six rebounds and four assists per contest. She led Shepard with 13 points in a late-season loss to Chicago Christian.
MOLLY O’MALLEY, Mother McAuley, G, Sr.
* The Mighty Macs’ most durable player, O’Malley led Mother McAuley in scoring at 12.2 points per game while sinking 48 3s and 82 percent of her free throws (47-of-57). Her 15 points led the way in the Macs’ season-ending 46-36 loss to Crete-Monee in the Class 4A Marian Catholic Regional. O’Malley scored 18 points on six 3-point baskets in a big road win against Kokomo, one of the better teams in Indiana.
MEGAN PFISTER, Evergreen Park, G, Sr.
* Named an All-South Suburban Conference Red member for the third season in a row, Pfister once again led the Mustangs in scoring (14.1 ppg) and assists (4.5). She included 58 3s among her baskets and participated in the state’s 3-point-shooting contest for the second straight year. A four-year starter and big contributor to Evergreen Park’s 21-9 season and regional championship this winter, Pfister once again provided a vital inside presence as she pulled down 6.4 rebounds per contest. Her defense was sharp too as she made off with an average of 2.5 steals per game.
KARA SHIMKO, Queen of Peace, G, So.
* Shimko made an immediate impact on a young and rebuilding Pride program that went from two wins in 2013-14 to eight this season and lost seven other encounters by four points or less. An honor-roll student and All-Girls Catholic Athletic Conference pick, Shimko was Queen of Peace’s most consistent offensive threat as her 390 points accounted for almost one-third of the Pride’s output. The daughter of Peace coach George Shimko also paced the team in assists and steals, shot 91 percent from the free-throw line (80-of-88) and a sizzling 62 percent from 3-point land (72-of-118).
VICTORIA STAVROPOLOUS, Sandburg, F, Jr.
* A two-year starter for the Eagles, Stavropolous was both an inside and outside threat who played a significant role in Sandburg’s regional championship. The co-captain averaged 12 points and six rebounds per game for the 24-8 Eagles. She scored that number in Sandburg’s
20th win of the season, a 15-point decision over Joliet West, and poured in a team-high 19 in the Eagles’ 19th win, a 49-28 verdict over Lockport.
SYDNI TEARS, Richards, G, Jr.
* Tears continued to be an offensive force for the Bulldogs in her third varsity season and is in good position to conclude her career as the program’s all-time leading scorer. A three-time All-South Suburban Conference Red choice and two-time all-area selection of this paper, Tears averaged 16.9 points, eight rebounds, 2.6 steals and 1.8 assists per game. She recorded a double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds in Richards’ 60-54 regional win over Shepard.
SAM YOUNGWRITH, Sandburg, G, Sr.
* Youngwirth, a two-time All-SouthWest Suburban Conference Blue selection, finished as the Eagles’ leading scorer and had a huge impact on their drive to the first regional title in 10 years. The co-captain, who boasts a glossy 4.8 grade-point average, tallied at a 17-points-per-game clip while nailing 80 3-point buckets and was staunch defensively with an average of three steals per contest. Youngwirth exploded for 27 points in Sandburg’s regional-semifinal win over TF South and notched 24 in the championship-clinching 51-47 victory over Marist.
LEXI VANRYN, Chicago Christian
MADDIE VOJACEK, Evergreen Park
DAJAE BLACK, Marist
TEHYA FORTUNE, Marist
ERIN DRYNAN, Mother McAuley
TARA O’MALLEY, Mother McAuley
TAKESHA POWELL, Richards
MYRISSHA MITCHELL, Shepard
NOOR ELMOSA, Stagg
COACH OF THE YEAR
CHRIS HELLRUNG, SANDBURG
Hellrung led the Eagles to their first regional championship in a decade, compliments of a thrilling 51-47 victory over Marist. Sandburg finished the 2014-15 season with an impressive 24-8 record and an 11-3 mark in the SouthWest Suburban Conference Blue.