The three teams in The Fairfield Ledger coverage area that are represented today are represented very well.
The girls? basketball programs from Fairfield, Pekin and Van Buren had a combined win/loss record of 58-15, and had 17 players at least named as an honorable mention in their conference, plus our two captains were named Player of the Year in the Southeast and Southeast Iowa Super Conferences, respectively.
There may never be an all-GTNS team this stacked with so many more girls that could have made this list.
Coach: Brian Witzenburg, Fairfield
Witzenburg is fighting just to be in the top three coaches in his immediate family with his parents long-time coaches and his sister Penny and her husband Roman coaching the USSSA softball team, but he definitely earned his spot as the large school girls? coach in his first season as the Trojans skipper after leading Fairfield to a 19-5 record, an SEC title and the program?s first state tournament berth since 1990. This is the first GTNS selection for the father of three who also coaches hurdles for the track team and is an assistant on the softball team.
Captain: Nicole Buch, Sr., Fairfield
The Trojans all-time leading scorer in the five-on-five era with 1,493 points, Buch is a four-time GTNS all-area selection in girls? basketball. The future college-baller was also named SEC Player of the Year three consecutive times and accomplished a life-long dream by leading Fairfield to the state tournament quarterfinals in Des Moines for the first time in 28 years. Buch amassed 201 rebounds, 331 assists, 332 steals, and three blocks in her illustrous career. Buch was also selected to the all-state first team and will continue her playing days for the Missouri Southern State Lions.
Maddie Williamson, Jr., Mt. Pleasant
Williamson continued to be a vocal point of the Mt. Pleasant offense in 2017-18. The junior guard led the team with 16.1 points per game and hit 32 there-pointers on the year. Williamson was active o the defensive end as well, coming up with 42 steals and seven blocks.
Kalynn Batey, Sr., Mt. Pleasant
Mt. Pleasant?s four-year starter wrapped up a magnificent high school career for the Panthers this season.
Kalynn Batey scored 14.5 points per game this season, hitting a team-high 34 three-pointers along the way.
Batey filled the stat sheets once again this season, leading the team with 173 rebounds and 46 steals, and adding 53 assists and 15 blocked shots to her resume.
Shaylin Drish, So., Fairfield
The best sophomore in the program since Buch in 2015, the younger Drish scored 271 points in her breakout season for 11.8 ppg, fifth in SEC play. Shay was also a high-percentage option regardless of floor location, shooting 42.7 percent from the field which was also fifth in the league, and she made the second most threes in the conference behind Buch while shooting nearly 41 percent from the outside. Shay also made it to the charity stripe 100 times during the season and was fourth in assists with 62, second in steals with 81, and eleventh in total rebounds with 94.
Sarah Nacos, Sr., Washington
There aren?t many shooters in the Southeast Conference more feared than Washington?s Sarah Nacos. Nacos scored 11.5 points per game for the Demons this season and hit 35 of the team?s 71 three-pointers this season. Nacos also led the team with 44 steals this year, as she closed out her high school career in style.
Ashtyn Drish, Sr., Fairfield
The senior catalyst in the Trojans run to state, the elder Drish sister scored 17 points, including 4-4 from the perimeter in the 22 point thrashing of Keokuk in the first round of the playoffs to avenge many season?s worth of trouble from the Chiefs. She then hit another three three?s in the regional final at defending state champion North Scott on her way to an 11 point, six rebound, three steal and two assist stat line. Once at state, she hit a three-ball :15 into the quarterfinal matchup with No. 1 Marion and ignited Trojan nation with hope. Although, the Trojans run stopped versus the Indians, the consensus throughout the program is that Drish? decision to rejoin the team after taking a season off, paired with her performance in the playoffs was the extra push needed to break Fairfield?s 28 year state tournament drought.
Coach: Davis Eidahl, Pekin
A legendary coach all-around, Eidahl has led his team to a 98-17 record over the last five years and was named ?Coach of the Year? in the SEISC north division.
The Pekin staple coaches cross country in the fall, basketball in the winter and track in the spring and is successful at each, regardless of that years? team?s win/loss record. Eidahl is a regular member of the all-GTNS teams and will likely remain a fixture until he retires.
Captain: Taryn Scheuermann, So., Van Buren
This season, 6?3 Van Buren sophomore Taryn Scheuermann scored 498 points on 57 percent shooting from the field, including 36 percent from the perimeter, to give her a career total of 806. She also improved her rebounding numbers from 170 as a freshman to 221 as a sophomore for a grand total 391. Scheuermann has made a total of 51 assists from the post, and not only blocked 157 shots this season, she had 132 last year for a total of 289, and the best part is she has only committed 73 fouls in two seasons while playing in 47 games.
Maci Gambell, Sr., Pekin
Gambell scored 1,422 points in her high school career as a four-year player while shooting at least 47 percent from the field each season, including 59 percent as a junior. She grabbed 602 total rebounds, made 180 assists, blocked 97 shots and swiped 219 steals. With the exceptions of assists and steals as a freshman, Maci was in the top three in each of those five listed categories each of her four seasons, including leading the team in those categores eight times in 20 opportunities. Pekin?s win/loss record over Gambell?s four years on the team was 82-12 and she will take her winning attitude to Central College in the fall where she will continue her career for the Lady Dutch.
Madison Bartholomew, So., Van Buren
The guard half of the best duo in the region, the sophomore point for the Warriors was again named first-team all SEISC for scoring 200 points while dishing 153 assists, grabbing 86 rebounds and making 67 steals. She also had 13 blocks for good measure. Halfway through her high school career, Bartholomew has 389 points, 263 assists, 194 rebounds, 157 steals and 19 blocks.
Isabel Manning, Fr., Van Buren
In junior high just a year ago, the 5?7 freshman is on her way to 1,000 point career with 269 in her first campaign for Van Buren. She also had 159 rebounds, 80 assists, 77 steals and six blocks while committing only 37 fouls in 24 games. Manning will have two more seasons to learn from and succeed with her sophomore counterparts before taking over in 2020.
Haley Gambell, Jr., Pekin
A year younger but an inch taller than her cousin at 5?9, junior Haley was also named first-team all-SEISC for the 2017-18 season and has been right there with Maci leading the Pekin program over the last two seasons.
She has accumulated 448 points, 305 rebounds, 82 assists, 64 steals and 11 blocks in her three seasons of play and is a two-time all-GTNS selection after making the volleyball team in the fall.
Addie Rath, Sr., Mid-Prairie
Rath did everything for the Mid-Prairie girls in 2017-18. Rath led the team with 17.2 points per game, 162 rebounds and 76 steals.
One of her biggest games came at Washington in Mid-Prairie?s final win, where she scored 22 points, nine rebounds and five steals.
Rath will be a big hole to fill for the Golden Hawks when they return to the court next winter.
The All-GTNS basketball team was selected by Justin Webster of The Fairfield Ledger, Andy Krutsinger of the Mt. Pleasant News and Matt Bryant of the Washington Evening Journal.