By Randy Whalen
For the Bugle
Prep Shootout All-Star Game
When the geographical teams were made for the Voyager Media Girls Basketball All-Star Shootout, the South team ended up with a bit of an advantage.
They pretty much all knew each other.
Led by 10 points from MVP Brooklyn Bachmann and a team-high 13 points from Jaianna Brooks, the South squad pulled away for a 64-43 victory on a fun-filled final game for the all senior teams on Sunday, March 19 at the University of St. Francis in Joliet.
Katie Jaseckas, who helped lead Benet Academy to back-to-back Class 4A state championships in 2015 and 16, led the North team and all scorers with 14 points. But the balance of the South team, which was made up of mostly members of the Southwest Prairie Conference and had 12 of 13 players score, won out.
No matter the outcome, it was a final opportunity to put on their high school uniforms for the players.
“It was definitely special,” said Bachmann, who helped guide Minooka to a 24-4 record this past season. “Especially after ending the season on a bad note [losing 56-49 to Bolingbrook in the regional final].
“I loved playing with them [all-star teammates] after playing
[against] them for four years.”
Bachmann had a variety of assists in the shootout game, to help net her the MVP.
“I wasn’t thinking about it, but after everything it was nice to get,” she said of the MVP. “It was just nice to come out and play, a nice way to end [high school].”
But it’s not the end for Bachmann as far as basketball goes. She was also the setter on the Indians state-runnerup volleyball team and was heavily recruited in both basketball and volleyball. But she decided to continue with basketball in college and will attend Bemidji State University in Minnesota.
“I decided on basketball,” Bachmann said. “In volleyball I ended my career finishing second in the state. But in basketball, especially after the way this season ended, I felt like I still had something to prove.”
With the South team clinging to a 23-22 lead in the opening moments of the second half, Plainfield East’s Maddie Sidman nailed a 3-pointer to trigger a 9-0 run. During the spurt, Bachmann drove to the hoop and was fouled on consecutive possessions. She made 3-of-4 free throws to help extend the lead to 10.
Ahead 32-24, Brooks – who is from Plainfield South, connected on a pair of 3-pointers in a 12-2 burst that extended the lead to 44-26. That pretty much wrapped it up as both teams substituted every four minutes.
Plainfield East, which had the most successful season in school history – finishing 25-8 and advancing to the title game of the East Aurora Sectional, had four players represent at the all-star game.
“I think the chemistry helped,” Sidman said. “We were all in the same conference and that really helped. It was fun playing against them for four years and then playing together.”
Sidman scored five points and her teammate, Ashley Smoldt – who scored six points, agreed.
“I has three teammates out there and knew the other players too,” Smoldt said. “Once we got to talk to each other on the bench, we knew what to expect. We just had to play some more defense [to win] and it was fun.”
Kennedy Collins (7 points) and Lotanna Onua (2 points) also played for Plainfield East.
Mariah Collins (8 points), Tierrah Farris (5 points), and Madison McGath (1 point) represented Plainfield North. Erin Graefen (1 point) was there from Plainfield Central while Tylenea Hood (2 points) and Gabrielle Robertson represented Joliet Central. The only player on the South squad not from the SPC was Lockport’s Elena Woulfe (4 points).
Woulfe, however, had a key steal that she converted into a layup that triggered the South team to a 9-2 spurt to end the half. Collins capped the burst and the first half by draining a 3-pointer right before the buzzer to give South the lead for good at 23-20.
Jaseckas scored six points as the North team oped the game by jumping out to an 8-2 lead.
“It was really fun out here to meet other girls from other teams and it was one more time with the [Benet] seniors. It was nice to put on the jersey one more time.”
She was one of four Benet players that participated in the shootout. The others were Ali Kramer, Emma Lyne (2 points), and Kendal Schramek (6 points), who helped lead the Redwings (28-5) to a third straight sectional title.
“I watched this all-star game a couple of years ago when my older sister was in it,” Schramek said of her sister – Emily Schramek, who is now a sophomore at Northern Michigan University. “So it was great to play in it.
“Obviously the way we ended [a 59-38 loss to eventual Class 4A runner-up Edwardsville in the Wesleyan University Supersectional] was disappointing. So it was great to play with my teammates and the other girls again.”
TyAnn Legrand-Melton, helped Lisle to a Class 2A regional title this season and she scored seven points for the North team. Being a smaller school, she may not have seen some of the other teams and players that were represented, but she was familiar with them.”
“I played against some of them on my travel team,” she said. “This was fun. It was a good experience and was fun just to watch how competitive everyone was.”
Nicole Cyranoski, who is also from Lisle, got to play. Talia Edwards, from Bolingbrook, chipped in with six points for the North team.
“This was pretty fun,” Edwards said. “I got to play with a lot of Plainfield people and we lost to Plainfield East (69-60) in the sectional [semifinals]. So we got to see how relaxed they are on the court and be able to play with them in a game.”
Rounding out the North team was Maine East’s Lauryn Alba-Garner; Downers Grove North’s Hannah Ilyavi and Brigid Miller; Downers Grove South’s Kasandra Rugienius and Addyson Wesolowski; Romeoville’s Lexi Marin (2 points) and Aynna Shelby (4 points); and Resurrection’s Ivy Witczak (2 points).
“I got to play with a lot of people I didn’t know,” Alba-Garner said. “I got to meet other people and they were cool and they played well. It was a fun experience overall.”