The Hiawatha Valley League had some of the best non-seniors in southeastern Minnesota last season, led by guards Natalie Bremer (Lake City), Aby Shubert (Kasson-Mantorville), C.J. Adamson (Lourdes) and Lilly Meincke (Lake City). All except Shubert will be seniors this fall and all are shaping up as future college players.

Two of them, Bremer and Adamson, have already committed to Division II colleges.

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Each has easily made our "10 Players to Watch" list for 2021-22. There is some length to watch on this list, too, led by Lake City's 6-1 senior Mya Shones and Lourdes' 6-2 junior Ella Hopkins.

It's never too early to be thinking about hoops. So here we go.

1. Natalie Bremer, Lake City

Lake City's Natalie Bremer (5) dribbles past Goodhue's Tori Miller (11) during a girls basketball game Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Goodhue. Lake City beat Goodhue 62-50. (Joe Ahlquist / jahlquist@postbulletin.com)
Lake City's Natalie Bremer (5) dribbles past Goodhue's Tori Miller (11) during a girls basketball game Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Goodhue. Lake City beat Goodhue 62-50. (Joe Ahlquist / jahlquist@postbulletin.com)

It's tough not to make Bremer the top pick from the HVL after what she did last year: 21.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 4.1 steals per game. All of that led to the smooth, fast and bouncy 5-foot-11 guard being named the HVL Player of the Year in 2020-21. Bremer is a true do-it-all type, with the ability to drive to the hoop or shoot it from deep, as well as be a menace on defense. Division II Minnesota State, Mankato thought enough of her to offer her a basketball scholarship. Bremer accepted.

2. Aby Shubert, K-M

Kasson-Mantorville’s Aby Shubert (11) takes a shot during a girls basketball game against Lourdes on Thursday, March 11, 2021, at Lourdes High School in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Kasson-Mantorville’s Aby Shubert (11) takes a shot during a girls basketball game against Lourdes on Thursday, March 11, 2021, at Lourdes High School in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)

Shubert gets better every year. That has to make the rest of the HVL nervous as the 5-8 guard will only be a junior. She’s already scored 1,000 points and was honorable-mention All-State last year. Shubert is coming off a season in which she averaged 19.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.5 steals. She’s quick, excellent with the ball and one of the best shooters around, having hit 41 percent of her 3-point shots, a robust percentage at any level of basketball. Shubert will likely get Division I looks before she’s through.

3. C.J. Adamson, Lourdes

Lourdes’ Caroline Adamson (24) controls the ball while defended by Goodhue’s Hannah Gadient (21) during a Section 1AA girls basketball game on Tuesday, March 23, 2021, at Kasson-Mantorville High School in Kasson. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Lourdes’ Caroline Adamson (24) controls the ball while defended by Goodhue’s Hannah Gadient (21) during a Section 1AA girls basketball game on Tuesday, March 23, 2021, at Kasson-Mantorville High School in Kasson. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)

This is another elite guard and another who seems to have been around forever. Also a star sprinter in track and field, the incoming senior is still running track but is more committed to basketball than ever. She cemented that in May when she verbally committed to Division II Augustana (Sioux Falls, S.D.) for basketball. One of the top all-around athletes in the state (also a soccer player), the 5-9 Adamson averaged 15.1 points, 3.3 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 2.1 steals last year and figures to up that point total next season. She shot 48 percent on 2-pointers but is looking to become a knock-down shooter on 3-pointers, too.

4. Lilly Meincke, Lake City

Lake City’s Lilly Meincke (4) controls the ball while guarded by Goodhue’s Elisabeth Gadient (25) during a Section 1AA championship girls basketball game on Thursday, March 25, 2021, at Century High School in Rochester. Lake City defeated Goodhue 37-35. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Lake City’s Lilly Meincke (4) controls the ball while guarded by Goodhue’s Elisabeth Gadient (25) during a Section 1AA championship girls basketball game on Thursday, March 25, 2021, at Century High School in Rochester. Lake City defeated Goodhue 37-35. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)

Late last season, Meincke had the look of a player who is on the verge of tearing it up. It was in the Section 1AA semifinals against Cotter that Meincke had a coming-out party, scoring every which way and the 5-11 incoming senior showing off excellent quickness and strength in scoring 15 points in the first half against Cotter and 21 for the game. She averaged 14 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists last year and has already scored 1,089 career points.

5. Mya Shones, Lake City

Lake City's Mya Shones (23) takes a shot over Goodhue's Anika Schafer (33) during a girls basketball game Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Goodhue. Lake City beat Goodhue 62-50. (Joe Ahlquist / jahlquist@postbulletin.com)
Lake City's Mya Shones (23) takes a shot over Goodhue's Anika Schafer (33) during a girls basketball game Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Goodhue. Lake City beat Goodhue 62-50. (Joe Ahlquist / jahlquist@postbulletin.com)

All of that length (6-1) and ability makes Shones special. The incoming senior put up big numbers last year, and they were well-rounded. Shones averaged 14.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists. She’s already scored 1,345 career points. Shones is a forward for the Tigers, with her excellent mobility, shooting range and footwork defensively. She figures to be a part of a Lake City starting five that will be among the school’s best ever.

6. Keeley Steele, Stewartville

Stewartville’s Keeley Steele (25) drives the ball towards the basket during a girls basketball game against Kasson-Mantorville on Tuesday, February 9, 2021, at Kasson-Mantorville High School in Kasson. Steele scored 17 points in Stewartville's 77-71 victory. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Stewartville’s Keeley Steele (25) drives the ball towards the basket during a girls basketball game against Kasson-Mantorville on Tuesday, February 9, 2021, at Kasson-Mantorville High School in Kasson. Steele scored 17 points in Stewartville's 77-71 victory. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)

Steele was one of the fastest rising players in all of southeastern Minnesota last winter. She went from a non-starter as a freshman to starting and making a big impact on a great team as a sophomore. Her No. 1 skill is her ability to drain 3-pointers. Steele shot a sizzling 44 percent on 3-pointers last year while averaging 12.6 points per game. She also grabbed four rebounds an outing.

7. Haylie Strum, Stewartville

Stewartville’s Haylie Strum (2) is guarded by Kasson-Mantorville’s Aby Shubert (11) during a girls basketball game on Tuesday, February 9, 2021, at Kasson-Mantorville High School in Kasson. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Stewartville’s Haylie Strum (2) is guarded by Kasson-Mantorville’s Aby Shubert (11) during a girls basketball game on Tuesday, February 9, 2021, at Kasson-Mantorville High School in Kasson. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)

Steele has a heck of a backcourt mate in fellow incoming junior Strum. Strum, who also had a big role as a freshman, blossomed this past season when she scored 14 points per game and shot an excellent 80 percent from the line. Strum got bigger and stronger in a year and figures to make another jump this season when she’ll be one of the area’s top guards.

8. Vivica Bretton, Lourdes

Lourdes’ Vivica Bretton (22) controls the ball during a Section 1AA girls basketball game against Goodhue on Tuesday, March 23, 2021, at Kasson-Mantorville High School in Kasson. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Lourdes’ Vivica Bretton (22) controls the ball during a Section 1AA girls basketball game against Goodhue on Tuesday, March 23, 2021, at Kasson-Mantorville High School in Kasson. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)

A full-time starter last year as a sophomore, the guard/forward was also an integral piece for the Eagles as a freshman, when Lourdes was the No. 1-ranked team in Class AA. Bretton is quick, strong and relentless. She averaged 9.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game last year. Bretton, who likes to take defenders off the dribble, is just starting to tap into what looks to be great potential.

9. Ella Hopkins, Lourdes

Lourdes’ Ella Hopkins (31) brings down a rebound during a Section 1AA girls basketball game against Goodhue on Tuesday, March 23, 2021, at Kasson-Mantorville High School in Kasson. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Lourdes’ Ella Hopkins (31) brings down a rebound during a Section 1AA girls basketball game against Goodhue on Tuesday, March 23, 2021, at Kasson-Mantorville High School in Kasson. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)

There is a lot to work with here. Not only is the incoming junior tall (6-2), she can also move and shoot. Doing much of her casting from the perimeter, Hopkins showed a deft touch en route to averaging 9.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. She shot a sizzling 59 percent from the field. Hopkins figures to keep adding to her game and to eventually be a top defender as she fully grows into her body.

10. Rylie Schnell, Byron

Byron’s Rylie Schnell (15) dribbles the ball during a girls basketball game against Lourdes on Tuesday, January 26, 2021, at Lourdes High School in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Byron’s Rylie Schnell (15) dribbles the ball during a girls basketball game against Lourdes on Tuesday, January 26, 2021, at Lourdes High School in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)

Schnell has gone somewhat under the radar, much of that to do with 6-foot-4 star Sacia Vanderpool having shared the court with her. Vanderpool will play at Wisconsin in the fall. But Schnell is plenty good in her own right. At 5-11, she is a versatile guard/forward who can also play point guard. Schnell wasn't a big scorer for the Bears last year, about 10 ppg., but she is a terrific court general who reads the court extremely well. Schnell has a pack of Division III college offers.