Long, Dietz lead Class B all-state girls basketball team
Throughout her career, Shauna Long proved she could shoot a basketball as well as just about anyone.
The 5-foot-4 senior guard from Standing Rock ended her career as one of the greatest scorers in North Dakota history, so it's no surprise that Long is making her third consecutive appearance on the Class B girls basketball all-state first team, which is selected by members of the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
Long is joined on the first team by Beach senior Brittney Dietz, Kenmare senior Katie King, Central Cass senior Taylor Kraft and Four Winds-Warwick-Minnewaukan senior Jessica Hale.
None of them, however, could cast the ball quite like Long.
She scored 2,839 points in her career. According to the Miss Hoopster basketball reference book, she ranks second in state history behind only Bowman's Tanya Fischer.
"Sometimes I just shake my head," said Margaret Gates, Long's mother and Standing Rock's head coach. "She just amazes me every time she steps on the court."
The Miss Basketball runner-up and Region 5 player of the year averaged 28 points, six rebounds and six steals per game and led the Warriors to back-to-back state tournament appearances her sophomore and junior seasons.
"She was a good team leader on the court, off the court, just a really good role model," Gates said. "She walked her talk. She did everything to try and do the best she could every time she stepped on the floor."
Dietz, a 5-foot-10 forward from Beach who was the coaches' choice as Class B senior athlete of the year and a Miss Basketball candidate, is making her second appearance on the team.
As a junior, Dietz was named the Class B state tournament's most valuable player after leading the Buccaneers to the state championship. Her senior season, she led Beach to a 26-1 overall record and a fifth-place finish at state.
Dietz averaged 16.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3 steals and 2.5 assists per game while helping the Buccaneers to a 51-game win streak that stretched the past three seasons. The Buccaneers compiled a 93-8 overall record in Dietz's final four seasons.
"I kept thinking about how hard she worked, the time she put in," Beach coach Bob Waldal said of Dietz's career. "Every open gym, she would be there."
Before earning a spot on the first team this season, King was a two-time selection to the second team.
However, as a senior, she was at her best.
The 6-foot center led the Honkers to a fourth-place finish at the Class B state tournament as she averaged 19.1 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.1 blocks per game and shot 58 percent from the field. She was also a Miss Basketball candidate and Region 6 senior athlete of the year.
"She's a great player and she's even a better kid," Kenmare head coach Jason Schwarz said. "She's the centerpiece of our chemistry off the court as well. Without her -- it's the truth -- we're pretty average. She kind of puts you over the top."
Kraft rewrote the Central Cass record books during her career and ended it by leading the Squirrels to a runner-up finish at the Class B state tournament.
The Miss Basketball candidate and Region 1 player of the year, who was on the second team last season, averaged 13.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1 block per game. She ended her career as the Squirrels' all-time leader in points and rebounds.
"She's really propelled our basketball program into the next level," said Central Cass head coach Barb Kraft, who is Taylor's mom. "There's a lot of young girls who look up to her. We hope it keeps the whole program moving in the right direction."
Travis Risovi entered his first season as head coach of Four Winds-Warwick-Minnewaukan knowing he was getting a great player in Jessica Hale.
He had no idea Hale would showcase her skills the way she did.
The Region 4 player of the year averaged 24.8 points, 9 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 3.4 steals and 1.1 blocks per game while leading the Indians to the region title game, where they lost to eventual state champion Carrington.
"Her game, it's just so nice because she's an all-around basketball player. She can shoot from everywhere, plays good defense and rebounds," Risovi said. "The things she can do just amazes you."
Second-team all-state picks are:
- Abby Weinreis, Beach senior: The 5-7 senior guard averaged 14 points, 3.5 steals, 3 rebounds and 3 assists per game. She combined with Dietz and two-time all-region selection Jill Rising to lead the Buccaneers to back-to-back state tournaments.
"I'm going to miss those kids," Waldal said. "Not just because of their quality of play, but as people."
- Ashley Bentz, Grant County: The 5-9 sophomore forward averaged 21.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals per game.
- Kenzie Church, Fairmount-Campbell-Tintah: The 5-10 senior forward/guard averaged 19.2 points, 9 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 1.6 assists per game.
- Sheridan Dewald, Napoleon: The 5-6 sophomore forward averaged 19.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.4 steals and 2.3 assists per game while shooting 52 percent from 3-point range.
- Jessica Henningsgard, Central Valley: The 5-5 senior guard averaged 15.2 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.6 steals and 1.4 assists per game while shooting 75 percent from the free-throw line. This is her second all-state second-team selection.
- Olivia Johnson, Richland: The 5-9 junior center averaged 18.1 points, 13.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.4 steals and 1.6 blocks per game.
- Maggie Lorenz, Harvey-Wells County: The 6-1 senior center averaged 18.7 points, 12.9 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 2 steals per game while shooting 51 percent from the field.
- Sabrina Rude, Dakota Prairie: The 5-8 senior guard/forward averaged 17.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 3.2 steals per game
- Whitney Sponsler, Thompson: The 5-8 senior forward averaged 18.1 points, 10.6 rebounds, 5.8 steals and 2.8 assists per game while earning Region 2 Senior Athlete of the Year honors. This is her second all-state second-team selection.
- Emily Thompson, Carrington: The 6-1 junior center averaged 15 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game and led her team to a Class B state championship.