The St. Ansgar girls basketball team finished out their 2017-2018 season with a 13-10 record, a big improvement from last year’s record of 4-18. St. Ansgar opened their season in Riceville on November 21. Their season ended 3 months later in Central Springs in the second round of the regional tournament when they faced off against the Central Springs Panthers.
St. Ansgar’s season started in dominating fashion, running wild on the Riceville Wildcats in the season opener. The Saints won that contest 62-25. Their next game came against Central Springs in Manly on November 28. St. Ansgar and Central Springs had quite the rivalry this year with every game coming down to the final seconds. St. Ansgar lost the first contest 47-44, but came back with a 48-43 victory on January 9 in St. Ansgar. The tiebreaker in the series came in the second round of the regional tournament. It was a close game throughout, but the Panthers were able to make the most of their free throw opportunities and St. Ansgar’s turnovers, defeating the Saints 50-43 to end their season.
Throughout the course of the season, St. Ansgar played in some very competitive games. They were able to give themselves a shot to win every game they played. There was a tremendous improvement from last year’s team to this year’s squad.
Other highlighted games for the Saints this season came against Newman Catholic on February 2. After a 51-47 loss to the Knights on January 5 in St. Ansgar, the Saints came back and defeated them by one point with a final score of 54-53 in Mason City. St. Ansgar also won a close game against Lake Mills in the first round of the regional tournament in St. Ansgar. The Saints held on late to win 59-55.
The Saints were led by their senior Elizabeth Jenkins this season. Jenkins made a big impact on both ends of the court all season long, leading the team in PPG with 14.2 on 49.8% from the field and finishing third in the state in blocks over the course of the year with 128. Her school leading career blocks sits at 401 from 2015-2018. Jenkins also averaged 9.9 Reb/G, first in the Top of Iowa Conference East Division. Her 14.2 PPG were third and first in blocks in the TIC East.
For her efforts this season, Jenkins was selected to the 2A Northeast All-District team. She was also a 1st team TIC Conference East Division selection and a IBCA Region 3 All-Region team selection for the Saints.
Freshman Hali Anderson had a record breaking season for St. Ansgar this year. Hali first broke school record for steals in a single season back on January 26 against West Fork, breaking the old record of 76 held by Rachel Hannam, Cari Cimmiyotti, and Kim Shoars. Anderson added more steals in the remaining 6 games, bringing the total to 103, shattering the old record. Her 103 steals were third in the TIC East Division.
If it wasn’t enough to break the steal record, Hali added to her great freshman season by breaking the single season assist record on February 6 against Bishop Garrigan. The record previously had been held by Amy Ask with 79 in 2001. When the season was over, Hali had 87 assists for the year which was also first in the TIC East Division. Anderson also averaged 11.5 PPG, 5th in the conference and second on St. Ansgar’s team. Hali was a 2nd team TIC East selection.
Molly Jenkins and Jadyn Anderson were big players in St. Ansgar’s success as well this season. Jadyn was limited to 14 games out of 23 due to a ankle injury that sidelined her for 9 games. In her 14 appearances this season, she averaged 8.4 PPG and rebounded well for a guard, finishing with 5.7 Reb/G. Jadyn also had 38 assists and 35 steals. Molly finished with 8 PPG and adding 31 assists, 43 steals, and averaging 3.3 Reb/G. Molly was a Honorable Mention selection to the TIC East team.
Other players for St. Ansgar that made an impact on this year’s team were Brooklyn Hackbart (3.3 PPG, 3.5 Reb/G, 18 assists, 16 steals), Hannah Patterson (3.2 PPG, 26 assists, 23 steals), Tanyon Schutjer (2.7 PPG, 28 assists, 22 steals, 3.6 Reb/G), and Sam Hemann (1.6 PPG, 14 assists, 11 steals and 2 Reb/G). Sam Hemann was also the recipient of the IBCA Team First Award. Other Saints that played variety action this season were Addy Carlson, Lily Vasquez (E. Wayne Cooley You Can Award recipient), Sarika Rademacher, Taylor Hanna, Megan Gooder and Gracie Urbatsch.
“John Wooden has a saying about success that shapes a lot of what we want as a program,” said Head Coach Brian Birkedal. “Success is peace of mind, only obtained through self satisfaction in knowing that you made the effort to do the best of which you are capable. I believe that we as a program are starting to see that wins and losses do not measure the success of the season. Knowing the process is more important than the outcome and I think that is key for us.”