Superlative (su·per·la·tive): an exaggerated or hyperbolical expression of praise.
In sharing the story differently, we didn’t want to do the same old all-state teams that you see every year. Many deserving players are on those lists, but for us, we wanted to just something a little bit more unique. So, we reached out to coaches for some feedback, but also made some decisions on our own. We came up with these lists.
Presenting the 2022-23, Nebraska girls basketball “superlative” players and coaches.
Team of the Year: Millard South
Coach of the Year: Dominque Kelley-Johnson, Lincoln High
Player of the Year: Khloe Lemon, Sr., Millard South
Offensive Player of the Year: Mya Babbitt, Sr., Millard South
Defensive Players of the Year: Aniya Seymore, Sr., Lincoln Southwest and Cora Olsen, Millard South
Newcomer of the Year: Naomi White, Jr., Bellevue West
Bench Player of the Year: Kiana Wiley, Lincoln High
Freshman of the Year: Anni Lue, Lincoln North Star
Most Improved Player: Kayla Preston, Sr., Millard North
Why: A few extra categories to kick us off as we showcase some great players in Class A. Millard South gets the monkey off their back and title game mate Lincoln High has coach-of-the-year Dominque Kelly-Johnson. Had to figure out some way to honor the “Big Three” from Millard South so this is what we came up with. White at Bellevue West was a difference maker with Lue the head of a standout freshman class at LNS. Preston big strides leading MN in scoring for their state semifinal team. Wish we had room for: Mya Skoff, Bellevue East.
Team of the Year: Elkhorn North
Coach of the Year: Tyler Shaw, Sidney
Player of the Year: Britt Prince, Jr., Elkhorn North
Offensive Player of the Year: Peyton McCabe, So., Skutt Catholic
Defensive Player of the Year: Reese Booth, Jr., Elkhorn North
Freshman of the Year: Bailee Durant, South Sioux City
Bench Player of the Year: Chloe Koch, So., York
Most Improved Player: Reese Riddle, Sr., Sidney
Why: Clear frontrunners for team and player of the year at Elkhorn North with Prince, one of the top players in the junior class nationwide. Sophomore sharp-shooter Peyton McCabe of Skutt earns offensive honors after leading the Skyhawks to a 28-2 mark. Booth, who guarded McCabe in the B final, earns defensive honors. Tyler Shaw is coach of the year honors after leading Sidney to the semifinals with the smallest enrollment in the class. The Red Raiders improving team won a state game for the first time since 1984 and get leader Reese Riddle as most improved player. York’s Koch led the Dukes in most categories while coming off the bench. Wish we had room for: Molly Ladwig, Skutt Catholic.
Team of the Year: North Bend Central
Coach of the Year: Evan Smith, Adams Central
Player of the Year: Kaitlyn Emanuel, Sr., North Bend Central
Offensive Player of the Year: Olivia Loomis-Goltl, Jr., Bridgeport
Defensive Player of the Year: Ruthie Loomis-Goltl, Sr., Bridgeport
Freshman of the Year: Halle Dolliver, Malcolm
Most Improved Player: Megyn Scott, Jr., Adams Central
Why: While this was the hardest class to rank and pick most of the year, this may have been the simplest group to put together and most speak for themselves. NBC and Emanuel after a four-peat. Check. Smith after the upset of Bridgeport in the C-1 semis. Check. The sisters for fantastic seasons. Check. Dolliver one of 47 freshman in the United States to average 20 points as a freshman this season. Megyn Scott shined in the state tournament for AC. Wish we had room for: Kena Ayles, Lincoln Christian.
Team of the Year: Pender
Coach of the Year: Maggie Moon, Crofton
Player of the Year: Maya Dolliver, So., Pender
Offensive Player of the Year: Chloe Hanel, Sr., Clarkson/Leigh
Defensive Players of the Year: Chaney and Sadie Nelson, Sr., Oakland-Craig
New Star of the Year: Avery Wegner, Jr., Pender
Most Improved Player: Caitlin Guenther, Sr., Crofton
Why: How good was the East Husker Conference? Not only do they have North Bend, but they make a clean sweep of the POY honors in Class C-2 after Pender and Oakland-Craig met in the state championship game. Most coaches agreed on Moon, who took over a juggernaut and didn’t miss a beat with Crofton this season. Wish we had room for: Sam Ehlers, Ponca.
Team of the Year: Centura
Coach of the Year: Laethon Brown, Centura
Player of the Year: Makenna Noecker, Sr., Cedar Catholic
Offensive Player of the Year: Josilyn Miller, Jr., Niobrara/Verdigre
Defensive Player of the Year: Ashlynne Charf, Elgin Public/Pope John
Freshman of the Year: Avery Kissinger, Hastings St. Cecilia
Most Improved Player: Sydney Davis, Sr., Centura
Why: A nearly impossible class to pin down, save for Kissinger who appears to be ready to emulate big sister Bailey at HSC and Noecker, who may have been the best all-around player in the class. Centura’s Davis could have lead any of the other POY categories if we are honest. Miller led the class in scoring at over 22 points per game and filled the stat sheet for N/V. The deciding factor? N/V was a clear state contender at 17-4 when she went down with a torn ACL and they finished 17-7. Charf averaged over 10 rebounds per game, led D-1 in steals (171) and had 60 blocks. Wish we had room for: Macy Richardson, Sterling.
Team of the Year: Wynot
Coach of the Year: Alyssa VanWesten, McCool Junction
Player of the Year: Jessica Wertenberger, Falls City Sacred Heart
Offensive Players of the Year: Makenna Yates, Jr., McCool Junction and Zaili Benish, So., Leyton
Defensive Players of the Year: Olivia Eickhoff, Sr., Falls City Sacred Heart and Emma Baumgart, Sr., Humphrey St. Francis
Pack Leaders of the Year: Makenana Willis, Sr., Shelton and Amber Lawson, Sr., Wynot
Most Improved Player: Isabel Preister, So., Humphrey St. Francis
Why: Wynot edges FCSH for team of the year after advancing to the state finals as a 6-seed with nine losses and not hosting a sub-district. VanWesten and Yates lead McCool to a Crossroads Conference title and first state berth since 2003. Benish filled it up at nearly the same clip as Yates. Wertenberger did a little bit of everything for FCSH in their title run. Baumgart and Eickhoff each guarded Yates and Benish in state tournament wins. We honor Willis and Lawson for being leaders on deep teams that made great runs at state. Wish we had room for: Mya Hedstron, St. Mary’s.