The Hiawatha Valley League is one of the premier conferences for girls' basketball. Goodhue, Stewartville, Lake City, Lourdes, Kasson-Mantorville, Triton, Zumbrota-Mazeppa and Byron all won at least 11 games last year.
The fight could be even more intense in 2020-21. Twelve players who were named all-HVL return this season. But only 10 can make the list.
Here are the top 10 girls basketball players in the HVL.
1. Natalie Bremer, Lake City
Natalie Bremer was honorable-mention All-State last year and an all-conference selection in the HVL after a dominant sophomore season. She dropped at least 30 points four times and averaged 21.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and a rare 4.3 steals per game.
Bremer can score from all areas of the floor. She had 10 games last season where she drained at least two 3-pointers. In a 69-63 win over Lourdes, Bremer splashed five 3-pointers and scored 27 points. It was one of just two losses that Lourdes suffered all season.
Bremer is only going to be a junior in 2020-21, but she’s already the premier player in the HVL. Every time Lake City steps on the floor, the main objective from opposing defenses will be to stop Bremer.
Lake City is on track for a special season. Bremer’s going to be a huge part of the Tigers’ success.
2. Sacia Vanderpool, Byron
Sacia Vanderpool had a monster junior campaign, totaling 15.1 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game. But she’s had an even bigger offseason. Vanderpool committed to Wisconsin and will play Big Ten basketball in 2021.
Vanderpool was so highly recruited by elite programs because she’s an outstanding shooter. She's 6-feet-4 and shot 54 percent overall from the field last year, including 43 percent (12-for-28) on 3-pointers. She’s also deadly from the free-throw line, converting 81 percent of her tries last season.
Vanderpool averaged a double-double as a sophomore and then big numbers yet again as a junior. And she will continue to improve. If her post moves take a step forward and her jumper continues to be refined, Vanderpool will put up tremendous numbers as a senior. It’s already a given what she’ll add on the defensive end with her length and agility, but if the offense takes another stride forward, Vanderpool could be the most unstoppable player in the HVL.
3. C.J. Adamson, Lourdes
CJ Adamson was the Robin to Alyssa Ustby’s Batman last season for the Eagles, who made it to the state semifinals last spring before the season was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, she’ll have a chance to take the reins of the Lourdes program while Ustby heads off to North Carolina. Even though Ustby took the lion’s share of the shots last season, Adamson did everything to help Lourdes be one of the best programs in the state. Adamson averaged 12.4 points., 3.8 rebounds., 3.3 assists and shot 53 percent from the field.
Adamson can get to the basket at will and drain deep 3-pointers. She’s a threat to score from everywhere on the floor and she’s a tough, hard-nosed defender. She could be Lourdes’ next high-major recruit.
4. Aby Shubert, Kasson-Mantorville
Aby Shubert might just have finished her freshman year, but she’s already a bona fide star in the HVL. The Kasson-Mantorville point guard is wired to score and she’s got a tremendous feel for the game. Even if the first couple shots don’t fall, Shubert refuses to play timid or scared. She’s always on the attack.
Shubert scored almost 400 points as a freshman. Her 15.2 points per game was a team-high for the KoMets. She added 4.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.1 steals per contest while shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc.
Bremer, Vanderpool and Adamson are a little more proven than Shubert, but another big year could mean that Shubert is atop this list next season.
5. Mya Suess, Kasson-Mantorville
Mya Suess and Shubert might be the best 1-2 combination in the HVL. Suess was impossible to keep off the glass. She averaged 13.0 points and 11.3 rebounds per game last year. Oh, and she swatted away 3.0 shots per game. Suess doesn’t really get fooled on shot fakes and head fakes. She has a knack for staying down on the shot fakes and exploding into the air for blocked shots.
Shubert patrols the perimeter for K-M and Suess dominates the interior. Suess is also a pain to guard because she often draws a ton of fouls, and her footwork always puts defenders on their heels.
You can pretty much mark down Suess for a double-double next year. K-M will win a ton of games if Suess, Shubert and Avery Irish are on the floor in 2020-21.
6. Lilly Meincke, Lake City
Lilly Meincke was a fearless shooter and her style of play paired perfectly with Bremer. Meincke and Bremer were two outstanding shooters that had to be run off the line constantly. Meincke is only going to be a junior but she proved last season that she can be an impactful player at both ends.
She averaged 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game while swiping nearly two steals. Lake City does a tremendous job of developing shooters. Meincke is another one in the pipeline.
7. Elissa Lodermeier, Goodhue
Goodhue just attacks in waves and they use their depth to just wear opponents out. That strategy obviously works but sometimes it leads to some players not putting up super monster numbers. But that doesn’t mean they’re not as talented as some players who might have better statistics.
Elissa Lodermeier is a prime example. She averaged 11.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game last year. If she played 33 minutes per game and averaged 15 shots per game, those numbers might be slightly higher. But her value to Goodhue is insurmountable. Lodermeier is absolutely tremendous defensively and she runs the show offensively. She picks her spots really well and when she gets going, she’s hard to stop. Lodermeier scored in double figures in six of Goodhue’s first seven games, and she’s poised for another big senior season.
8. Joslyn Carlson, Goodhue
Joslyn Carlson is a player to be watched on both ends of the floor for Goodhue and a nightmare matchup for some HVL teams. She scored 20 points against Stewartville and tallied an 11-point, 11-rebound double-double against Lake City last year as just a sophomore. She finished her campaign averaging 10.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.0 assists. Carlson’s ability to be in almost every single passing lane is one of her biggest strengths. She’s so long and really instinctive. She’s playing in the perfect system that utilizes her skillset both offensively and defensively. She thrives in transition and Carlson also attacks the glass relentlessly.
9. Grace Bany, Lake City
Grace Bany was one of just seven girls in the Post Bulletin coverage area to average a double-double last season. Bany finished the season with the exact same number of points and rebounds. To go along with her 11.2 points and 11.2 rebounds per game, Bany also dished out 2.3 assists and denied 4.4 blocks per game. Bany was a difference-maker for the Tigers and Bremer, Bany and Meincke are probably the best trio in the HVL.
10. Brylee Iverson, Triton
Seven of the 11 HVL teams finished with a winning record last season. The conference was absolutely daunting. But even with all the veteran talent, freshman Brylee Iverson still stood out. Iverson scored 17 points a game and tallied seven rebounds per contest for Triton. She’s long, athletic and a really good shooter.
Iverson was really strong with her dominant left hand, but she wasn’t afraid to go to her right on the block. Her ability to stretch the floor was a huge asset, and she’ll only grow as a player as she continues to age. Iverson is already really good, but she’s got a chance to be special.