by Angie Asam — Staff Writer
With winter sports’ season over the postseason awards have started to come in. Wednesday the Associated Press (AP) announced the Class D all-state team and senior Lexi Szymoniak was named to the first team.
Szymoniak started all 21 games for the Cardinals this season and shot 48 percent from the floor. She set a new
school record for rebounds in a season with 262 as she averaged 12.5 rebounds per game. The old school record was set in 1987.
She had 40 blocks on the season and 59 steals. She scored 247 points averaging 11.8 per game. Szymoniak was also named to the second-team all-Ski Valley Conference.
“Lexi is just elite. It has been a long time since we have seen an athlete like this. She is two-thirds of the way through from hitting the trifecta again making all-state in all three sports. I think the best thing about her is just how humble she is. The level of intensity she brings is so much different from her personality. She is an animal on the game floor; she will go on the floor for the ball. What more can you say about her? She is the epitome of what any coach would be proud of, she is just a great kid,” said coach Marty Mix.
Senior guard Morganne Badgero was named to the Ski Valley Conference honorable mention team and also started all 21 games for the Cardinals this season. She led the team in steals with 77, averaging 3.67 per game and averaged 2.9 assists per game as the teams’ leader in that category.
Badgero also shot 33 percent from the floor and averaged 4.9 rebounds per game. She scored 160 points on the season and averaged 7.6 points per game.
“Morganne is a kid who is a competitor in every aspect of the game. She is one of the most athletic kids in the school, one of the most athletic kids we have ever had. You can tell her to do anything and she will do it above average if not elite. She was our primary ball handler all season and our toughest defender all season. She never backed down from anything. There were a lot of games that she came away bumped and bruised but was the first one to go at it again the next day. What I will miss the most about her is her level of intensity; she demands it out of her teammates. She makes her teammates better players. She did a great job for us this season and is deserving of the accolade,” said coach Mix.
Junior Jade Galer also earned honorable mention all-conference honors. She started 17 of the 21 games for the Cardinals and shot 34 percent from the floor. She shot 25 percent from 3-point territory and led the team in free-throw percentage at 62. She averaged 8.9 rebounds per game and 8.1 points per game. She had 12 blocks and 55 steals on the season.
“Jade is absolutely our spark plug on the team. She is one of the hardest working kids on the floor. I think if she plays another season like she did this year she will be all-state, I thought her numbers were good enough this year. She is just a workhorse, she’s not afraid to go and bang with anybody; she may be the smallest girl on the floor at times but she is out jumping anyone on the floor. She is very easily coached; never do you have any issues with her. She is one of our biggest threats on both sides of the ball. It will be her turn next year to take over and lead,” said coach Mix.
THE CARDINALS finished 13-8 this season and lost to the Hillman Tigers in the district tournament. Hillman would go on to win the district title and a regional semifinal before falling to St. Ignace in the regional final.
Coach Mix thinks it will be interesting to see how his team comes together next season as they will lose Lexi Szymoniak, Morganne Badgero, Elise Arkwood, Shelby Wolgast, Shyanne Corey and Sophia Gardea.
“This year’s senior class was full of good leadership. We have five girls coming back next year from this year’s team. We have a nice nucleus coming back. We have some big shoes to fill but shoes are made to be filled. The best thing about this season is the chemistry of this crew. I have never, in all my seasons of coaching, seen a group this unified and together. They were amazing. As a coach it made it as enjoyable as any season, it was fun every day. We had good parent support and from start to finish it was a positive season. Where they came over four months, how they did it and the class that the did it with. They have set a good example for the younger kids coming up and every parent of these girls should be proud,” said coach Mix.