Friday, January 20, 2012

100 Years of Minnesota High School Tournament Basketball #3: Top Girls Players

The MSHSL continues its weekly series of the "best of" the Minnesota state high school basketball tournaments. This week it's the top girls players. You can view their choices and their commentary for yourself at, then click "100 Years of BB" in the upper left. And you should  because I'm not repeating their commentary here, but rather inserting my own.

It's hard to argue with 4 of their 1st 5 choices.

Janet Karvonen, New York Mills 1977-79-79-80
Coco and Kelly Miller, Rochester Mayo 1993-95-96-97
Angel Robinson, St. Paul Central 2006-07
Tayler Hill, Mpls. South 2007-08-09

I won't say which of the 5 isn't like the other 4, but I will say this. There's no "big" on the top 5. There ought to be a "big" on the top 5 and the obvious choice there is:

Liz Podominick, Lakeville 2001-02

Luckily, the MSHSL goes on to pick 15 "Other Notable Players," and Podominick is one of those. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say that I helped the MSHSL pick their list of the best girls players, and all their other "best of" lists, and I didn't find too much fault with this list at the time. So it's not fair to complain now. But with that as a caveat, I will now complain a little bit, or at least suggest some names of girls who might be as good as the 20 who have been identified by the MSHSL.

My second comment, then, is that only 4 of the 20 girls selected played in the 1970s and '80s, and 16 played in in the 1990s and 2000s. Now that I see it in the cold light of day, that doesn't seem quite right. In order to have the same number of girls per year for the 1st 2 decades as for the most recent 2 decades, you'd need about 10 girls from the 1970s and 1980s.

I agree wholeheartedly, of course, with the choices of Karvonen and:

Laura Gardner, Bloomington Jefferson 1976-77-78
Kelly  Skalicky, Albany 1978-79-80-81
Mary Jo Miller, Milroy, Tracy-Milroy 1985, 1987-88

But in addition to that, I would just say that the following get you to 10:

Joan Kowalsky, St. Margaret's, Benilde-St. Margaret's 1976-77
Lisa Lissimore, St. Paul Central 1976-77-78
Leah Blackwell, Edina 1983-84
Judy McDonald, Chisholm 1984
Janice Streit, Eden Valley-Watkins 1983-84
Laurie Decker, Rochester Lourdes 1986-87

Then you've got 11 more honorable mentions from the 1990s through the present day:

Shannon Loeblien, St. Paul Harding 1990-91
Tamara Moore, Mpls. North 1997-98
Hana Peltjo, Osseo 1997, 20000
Shannon Bolden, Marshall 2001-02
Kelly Roysland, Fosston 2001-02-03
Leslie Knight, Hopkins 2002-03-04
Mia Johnson, Mpls. North 2001-02-03-04-05
Katie Ohm, Elgin-Millville 2002-03-04-05
Kiara Buford, St. Paul Central 2005-06-07-08
Brittney Chambers, Jordan 2007-08-09
Rachel Banham, Lakeville North 2007-10-11

This gets you to 25, which is a good round number, except there's 1 other name that is missing, and that is Jenna Smith of Bloomington Kennedy 2004-2005. I don't remember how we managed to overlook her, but she would clearly be the #2 post behind Podominick.

And if there are 4 more girls who deserves to be listed--and who get you to another round number (30)--it would be:

Stacy Sievers, Rochester Lourdes 1989-90-91
Lori Lawler, Rochester Lourdes 1989-90-91
Tricia Wakely, Burnsville 1991-92
Erin Ditty, Hastings 1996

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