YORK – The high school girls’ basketball season is just around the corner, with the first area teams set to tip off their year on Thursday, Dec. 2. With that in mind, it’s time to take a look at the top returning players in the YNT coverage area, based on 2020 stats and accolades.
McKenna Yates, SO., McCool Junction
Yates topped the area scoring leaderboard as a freshman, racking up 17.0 points per game. She added 4.4 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 1.9 blocks per contest to pair with her scoring output, and she finished with 65 steals on the season.
Last season, Yates shot 40 percent from the floor – including an area-best 34 percent from beyond the arc – and 62 percent from the free throw line. She scored in double figures in 18 of 21 games and cracked the 20-point barrier eight times with a season-high 31 against Harvard in January.
Yates notched one double-double last season, dumping in 26 points and grabbing 11 boards in a February loss to East Butler.
“McKenna was an efficient scorer all year against a variety of teams,” McCool Junction head coach Alyssa VanWesten said at the conclusion of last season. “She can shoot on the perimeter and drives into the lane as well. She is also a key distributor for passing in our offenses, and gets steals defensively as well.”
Yates earned first-team all-CRC honors as a freshman and was named to the YNT all-area team.
Cameran Jansky, SR., Exeter-Milligan
Jansky turned in a breakout junior season for the Timberwolves last winter, as she averaged 10.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 1.6 assists per game. She led Exeter-Milligan in scoring and shot 45 percent from the floor, the fifth-best mark among area players.
In addition to her offensive production, Jansky used her length to make her presence felt defensively. She tallied 120 deflections to pair with 87 steals and 144 total rebounds. She notched four double-doubles as a junior, including three in the season’s opening month.
“Her ability to use her length was huge for our team on the defensive end,” T-Wolves head coach Jackson Krejci said at the end of last season. “She improved her shooting and finishing around the basket this year, leading us in scoring at 10 points per game. She had the ability to bring the ball down and also post up on the block. Also a great leader and teammate which helped us have a successful season.”
Jansky earned a first-team all-CRC selection and was a member of the YNT all-area team.
Lexi Theis, SR., Fillmore Central
Theis did a little bit of everything for the Panthers last winter, leading Fillmore Central in scoring, rebounding and steals. She also finished second on the team in assists. Theis scored 15.3 points per game – the third-highest figure among area players – and grabbed 5.6 rebounds to pair with 2.3 steals and 1.4 assists a night.
She tallied double figures in 19 of 22 games and shot 48 percent from the floor, the second-best percentage in the area and top mark among this year’s returnees. Theis scored 20 or more points in three games, including a season-high 30 against Thayer Central.
“Lexi had a very solid season this year and really stepped up into a more prominent role on our team,” Fillmore head coach Shad Eberhardt said last season. “She was a highly efficient scorer and was our leading rebounder. She was a great defender and was great in our transition game.”
Theis was a member of the YNT all-area team.
Masa Scheierman, SR., York
Scheierman made her presence felt on the glass and in the paint as a junior, averaging 8.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game. She rejected 77 shots over the course of the season and grabbed 267 total rebounds, both York single-season records. She’s also the Dukes’ career rebounding leader at 696 boards with one season still to go.
Though her biggest impact came defensively and on the glass, Scheierman scored in double figures 10 times and shot 43 percent from the floor with six double-doubles. She also reached double-digit rebounds in 14 of 25 games last winter, including a 14-point, 20-board double-double against Elkhorn in December.
“Masa was an imposing force in the middle on offense and defense for us this season,” York head coach Matt Kern said at the end of the 2020 season. “She averaged 8.6 points per game and over 10 rebounds per night. She set records for most rebounds in a season and career as a junior. She also set records for most offensive boards and blocked shots.”
Scheierman earned first-team all-Central Conference accolades and was a member of both the Class B All-Tournament team and the YNT all-area team.
Destiny Shepherd, SR., York
Shepherd, a Concordia basketball commit, averaged nine points per game for the Dukes last winter. She reached double figures in nine of 25 games with a season-high 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting against Ralston.
As a junior, Shepherd shot 41 percent from the floor and 31 percent from beyond the arc. She also connected at a 68 percent clip from the free throw line. Shepherd earned YNT-all area honorable mention.
Mattie Pohl, SR., York
Pohl averaged 7.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game last season and topped the area leaderboard in free throw percentage, converting from the charity stripe 76 percent of the time.
She scored in double figures four times in 20 games and cracked the 20-point barrier twice, including a season-high 21 on 8-of-12 shooting against Schuyler. Pohl finished her junior season shooting 33 percent from the floor and 21 percent from three-point range. She was YNT all-area honorable mention.
Josi Noble, SR., Cross County
Noble did a little bit of everything for the Cougars last season, averaging 5.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.5 assists per game. She shot 44 percent from the floor and finished in double figures three times as a junior.
In a December matchup against Shelby Rising-City, Noble scored a season-high 12 points and racked up seven steals, five boards and four assists. She was a YNT all-area honorable mention.
Emma Olsen, SR., Exeter-Milligan
Olsen scored 8.4 points per game for the Timberwolves last fall and shot 42 percent from the floor. She reached double figures in 11 games and scored a season-high 23 points against Osceola. Olsen also averaged 4.9 rebounds a night.
In a game against Nebraska Christian in late February, Olsen notched 11 points and 10 boards and finished one block away from a triple-double along with dishing two assists and recording two steals. She was a YNT all-area honorable mention.
Lily Otte, JR., Nebraska Lutheran
Otte scored 7.4 points per game and averaged 7.2 rebounds, 2.7 steals and 1.5 assists a night for the Knights last season. She finished in double figures in both points and rebounds four times.