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Indianhead Girls Basketball Preview

12/30/2020, 11:00pm CST
By Norbert Durst
2019-20 Recap: 
Hurley went undefeated to capture the Indianhead title. The NorthStars advanced to a Division 5 sectional semifinal, falling to Northwood, 36-30, to end the year with a 22-4 record. Drummond and South Shore each went 12-4 in the league and were followed by Mellen (11-5) in the top four. Ironwood (MI) and Mercer tied for fifth, each going 8-8. Bayfield (5-11), Solon Springs (4-12), Butternut (3-13) and Washburn (1-15) rounded out the standings. 
2019-20 Season Information (Standings, Stats, All-Conference)
2020-21 Preview 
Predicted Order of Finish: 
1) Hurley 
2) South Shore 
3) Mellen 
4) Drummond 
5) Ironwood (MI)
6) Butternut 
7) Mercer 
8) Bayfield 
9) Solon Springs 
10) Washburn 
Players to Watch: 
Lexi Barningham, sr., Washburn – Barningham averaged 12.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 5.2 steals per contest as a junior for the Castle Guards. 
Ava Barton, sr., Mercer – Barton tallied 10.5 points per game as a junior for the Tigers. 
Jordan Bjork, jr., Drummond – Bjork was named third-team all-conference as a sophomore for the Lumberjills. 
Courtney Corullo, soph., Hurley – Corullo netted 9.5 points per game and took home third-team all-league as a freshman for the NorthStars. 
Jordyn Delegan, jr., Mellen – Delegan was named first-team all-conference as a sophomore, averaging a team-best 21.5 points per game. 
Nicole DiGiorgio, jr., Hurley – DiGiorgio received first-team all-Indianhead honors as a sophomore, tallying 9.6 points per game. 
Autumn Gordon, sr., Bayfield – Gordon was named third-team all-Indianhead as a junior for the Trollers. 
Kylee Hewitt, jr,. Hurley – Hewitt (5-7) was voted first-team all-league as a sophomore, averaging 9.1 points per game for the NorthStars. 
Natalie Knaack, sr., South Shore – Knaack (5-9) tallied 8.8 points, 2.2 assists and 2.4 steals per game on her way to being selected second-team all-conference as a junior. 
Kyra Latvala, soph., Solon Springs – Latvala tallied a team-high 12.8 points per game as a freshman for the Eagles. 
Gwen McCorison, sr., Butternut – McCorison averaged 14.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 3.0 steals per game on her way to earning second-team all-conference as a junior. She entered her senior year with over 1,000 career points. 
Chloe Sipsas, sr., South Shore – Sipsas (5-10) was named first-team all-Indianhead as a junior, averaging 21.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game for the Cardinals. She has over 1,400 career points. 
Lily Truchon, soph., South Shore – Truchon averaged 10.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.9 steals per game as a freshman for the Cardinals. 
2020-21 Team Previews: 
1) Hurley went undefeated in the Indianhead last season and is the favorite to repeat as league champions. The NorthStars welcome back all of their key players that helped them advance to Division 5 sectional play and a 22-4 overall record. Leading the way are juniors Kylee Hewitt and Nicole DiGiorgio (returning first-team all-league picks), who each averaged over nine points per game last season. Another top returner is Courtney Corullo, a third-team all-league choice, who netted 9.5 points per game as a freshman. Other key returners include Hailey Edyvean (sr., 8.5 ppg), Olivia France (jr., 7.9 ppg), Melissa DiGiorgio (soph., 6.3 ppg), Darian Bender (jr., 5.6 ppg) and Alyana Kukowski (jr.), amongst others. 
2) South Shore returns three starters from its 2019-20 team that tied for second (12-4) in the Indianhead and went 18-6 overall. Coach Ryan Tiberg enters his 8th year at the helm and has compiled a 191-59 record in 10 years as a head coach, which includes guiding the Cardinals to the state tournament in 2013. Coach Tiberg told that experience, athleticism and depth are strengths while leadership and strength are weaknesses. Highlighting the team is Chloe Sipsas, a first-team all-league pick, who averaged a team-high 21.6 points per game as a junior. Joining her as returning starters are fellow seniors Natalie Knaack (8.8 ppg, 2nd team all-conf.) and Taylor Nicoletti (5.4 ppg). Sophomore Lily Truchon (5-9) also returns as a key contributor, posting 10.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in her debut season. Other returners include juniors Abby Lahti and Leila Tuura, and sophomores Beau Reijo, Maggie Ostrenga and Ruthann Robinson. A number of freshman could also contribute, including Emily Montgomery. 
3) Mellen welcomes back the majority of its roster that went 11-5 in the Indianhead and 14-9 overall last season. Highlighting the Granite Diggers’ squad is Jordyn Delegan, a first-team all-league pick, who averaged 21.5 points per game last season as a sophomore. Other top players are sophomores Ava Jokinen (9.3 ppg), Kadence Beeksma (8.3 ppg) and Makenah Stricker (5.5 ppg), and seniors Elizabeth Rossberger (6.2 ppg) and Abby Lutz. 
4) Drummond finished tied for second in the league with a 12-4 record and went 18-7 overall in 2019-20. The Lumberjills’ top returner is Jordan Bjork, a third-team all-league selection last season as a sophomore. Other key returners are sophomore Kaitlyn Miller, and seniors Noelle Hurula and Breanna Kinnunen. Additional returners include seniors Avery Rasmussen and Hannah Swanson, and sophomore Autumn Shanks. 
5) Ironwood (MI) went 8-8 in the Indianhead last season. McKenzie Boyd was named the player of the year of the league last season as a junior. Sophomore Alaya Ruotsala is another key returner for the Red Devils. 
6) Mercer welcomes three starters from its 2019-20 team that finished 8-8 in the conference and 12-11 overall. Adam Miller, who enters the year with an 113-137 career record, takes over the program after previously coaching the boys at the school. Coach Miller told WSN that speed and shooting ability are strengths while post play is a weakness. Leading the group of returners is Ava Barton, who averaged 10.5 points per game as a junior. Joining her as returning starters are KD Knipp (soph., 6.2 ppg) and Molly Hohner (sr.). Other returners are sophomores Hana Joustra, April Klopatek, Ivy Delgado and Aurora Summerhill. Additional players who could contribute include freshman Amber Eith and Isabella Payen, and senior Marjorie Alvy. 
7) Solon Springs finished 4-12 in the Indianhead and 8-16 overall in 2019-20.  Leading the way for the Eagles is Kyra Latvala, who averaged a team-high 12.8 points per game as a freshman. Other top returners include fellow sophomores Claire Holmstrom (7.5 ppg), Gretchen Hammond (4.7 ppg) and Bailey Monson, along with junior Jori Gehl and senior Muree Ahlberg.
8) Butternut returns four starters from last year’s team that finished 3-13 in the Indianhead and 7-16 overall. Second-year head coach Troy Scherwinski told WSN that they will look to improve upon their shooting and depth. Highlighting the team is Gwen McCorison, a second-team all-league pick, who averaged 14.9 points and 7.9 rebounds per game last season as a junior. Other returners are seniors Emma Herbst (7.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and Riannon Kolar, juniors Cassy Bortz (5.4 rpg) and Olivia Lawyer, and sophomore Natalee Pollitt. Freshman Jersey Polencheck, Kaycie Scherwinski, Ivy Popowski and Lauren Sales will also be in the mix for playing time. 
9) Bayfield posted a 5-11 record in the league and went 5-17 overall last season. Highlighting the Trollers’ squad is Autumn Gordon, who was named third-team all-league as a junior. Other key players back include senior Isabelle Cornelius and sophomore LeAhnah LaPointe. 
10) Washburn went 1-15 in the league and 2-21 overall last season. The Castle Guards’ top returner is Lexi Barningham, who averaged 12.2 points per game as a junior. Other top returners are Riley Johnson (sr., 7.9 ppg) and Vanessa Weber (6-0, soph., 4.3 ppg). Additional returners include Caitlyn Wheeler (sr.), Lily Wheeler (5-11, sr.) and Leah Hawbaker (jr.). 

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