Newark wins league title, but Serena, H-BR, IC win regionals
Two post players from Newark, one a freshman and the other a senior, garnered All-Little Ten Conference girls basketball honors in recent days, the league announced. They head up an annual team that had 10 players this winter.
Senior Kristine Zitt and Jasmine Mitchell were the two from Newark. The 5-10 Zitt averaged 8.4 points a game, 7.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 2.1 steals in league play this year. The 6-3 Mitchell averaged 10.8 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1.5 blocks a game for the Norsettes.
Newark was undefeated in the LTC regular season this winter by finishing with an 8-0 record, defeating Serena 45-40, though Serena won the conference tournament and bested Newark at the Class 1A Dwight Girls Regional. Serena was 7-1 in the regular season but defeated Newark 47-46 for the tournament championship. The best two of three then went to Serena when the Lady Huskers beat the Norse 61-48 in Dwight.
Serena also had two players named All-Conference. Senior sisters Demi Witter and Asgante Witter were named to the team for the third straight season. Like Zitt and Mitchell, they also were unanimous selections to the team. The 5-10 Demi Witter averaged 15.4 points a game, 8.4 rebounds per game and 3.6 steals a game while the 5-9 Ashante Witter averaged 14.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 3.9 steals.
While finishing third in both the regular season with a 6-2 record and the conference tournament after a 42-38 win over Indian Creek, the Royals won its eighth straight regional title by beating Harvest Christian Academy of Elgin in its own Class 1A regional. It then added to that late-season success by winning a fourth-straight sectional at Harvest Christian after beating Morgan Park Academy and Luther North. The surprise run by H-BR came to an end at the DeKalb Super-Sectional where it lost 36-33 to Eastland. Eastland went on to finish third in Class 1A in the state finals.
For H-BR, senior Lauren Paver and junior Jacqueline Madden were unanimous All-LTC selections this winter. Paver averaged 12.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 3.0 steals and she also shot at a very respectable 43.7 clip from the floor in 2013-14. Madden averaged 11.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 4.3 steals and she also shot 43.2 percent from the field. This is the second time Madden was named All-Conference.
Indian Creek also won a regional despite finishing fourth at the conference tournament and in the regular season (5-3). It was just the second time IC won a regional (the last in 1998) and it came after it beat Lamoille-Ohio 51-31 for the title in Earlville. Sophomore forward Jose Diehl was a unanimous choice from the Timberwolves after averaging 10.4 points and 8.9 rebounds in league action. She also shot 61.8 percent from the free throw line and 43.1 points against LTC foes. Senior forward Samantha Mosley joined her on the All-LTC team by averaging 8.8 points and 9.1 rebounds against the league. She also shot 42.1 percent against conference opponents.
Rounding out the All-LTC team this year was the unanimous selection of Shiela Browning and Vanessa Martinez. A senior guard, Browning averaged 14.6 points a game, 6.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 3.4 points while the senior forward Martinez averaged 10.3 points, 11.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals.
Filling out the regular-season league standings this winter were: Somonauk (4-4), LaMooille-Ohio (3-5), Earlville-Leland (2-6), Paw-Paw (1-7) and Hiawatha (0-8), None of those teams had players on the All-Conference team this year.
At the frosh-soph level, Newark (7-0) edged Serena (6-1) for first place in the regular season while also defeating the Huskers 54-20 in the conference frosh-soph tournament.