KINGSFORD — Menominee’s Avrie Stewart was a coach’s dream and an opponent’s nightmare on the basketball court.
Stewart, a 5-foot-10 senior forward, has been named to the Great Northern Conference basketball first team.
Marquette senior Amber Huebner earned two major basketball awards from the GNC. League coaches named Huebner as the player of the year along with the top defender.
Kingsford’s Hannah Carlson and Jordyn Kriegl joined Stewart on the GNC first team, along with Jenny Brandt of Escanaba and Claudia Hale of Marquette.
The second team consisted of Menominee’s Morgan Roman, Marquette’s Kellsey Grange, Gladstone’s Taylor Hunter, Kingsford’s Renee Roberts and Escanaba’s Maddy Willis.
A three-year varsity player, Stewart became Menominee’s career rebound leader with 393. She pulled down 20 rebounds in a Dec. 19 win over Marinette. She was a vital part of the offensive and defensive game plan.
“Overall she had a great year,” Maroon coach Lucas Chouinard said. “She’s one of those kids that’s very hard to guard. Even though teams knew she’s left-handed, she’s very versatile inside and outside.”
Stewart averaged 13.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.
“She was very aggressive on the offensive boards,” Chouinard said. “When teammates missed she attacked the glass well.”
Stewart added a new dimension to her game this season by shooting 40 percent from 3-point range.
“Her favorite thing to do this year was pick and roll and pop outside,” Chouinard said. “Credit her for working on that in the offseason.”
Honorable mention went to Paige Reiswitz and Corrina Anderson, Menominee; Taylor Gauthier and Lexi Chaillier, Escanaba; Sara Iwanicki and Stasha Warchock, Marquette; Alyssa Polley and Kaitlyn Hardwick, Gladstone; and Abby Tomasoski and Sam Cross, Kingsford.
Roman, Brandt, Hardwick and Kingsford’s Bri Robinson and Kriegl comprised the all-defensive team.
Ben Smith, from unbeaten GNC champion Marquette, was named the coach of the year.
Menominee’s other three all-GNC players share a common trait with Stewart — they’re all hard workers, very coachable and good students.
Roman, also a three-year starter, averaged 10.4 points and 2.5 steals per game as a senior. She improved her passing as a senior and averaged 3.5 assists per game.
“She really did a good job distributing the ball to her teammates,” according to Chouinard. “Whenever the ball was in her hands we felt safe. She could break a press and she could get to the lane very, very well.”
Roman also improved her 3-point shooting. She shot 33 percent from behind the arc this season. When Roman was on a roll, she was instant offense for the Maroons. But defense was her forte; Roman guarded the best scorer, and she set the school steals record with 204.
“She just has great anticipation skills, and she has quick hands when she has to guard somebody 1 on 1,” Chouinard said.
Reiswitz and Anderson are also seniors. Reiswitz (6.8 ppg) set an example in the summertime. For two straight years, she was the leading shot-maker in the Menominee Hoops Club.
“She’s a player that dedicated a lot of time to the game of basketball,” Chouinard said. “She never missed an open gym. That passion was greatly appreciated by me in her four years in the program.”
Chouinard was pleased that the 5-9 Anderson earned honorable mention, because her game is about intangibles rather than statistics. She’s a player who will dive for a loose ball, box out and provide relentless pursuit.
“She does all the little things very well that don’t show up on the stats,” he said. “It was nice to see the other coaches recognize what a hard worker she is.”