10 players to watch in the Section 1AAA, 1AAAA girls basketball playoffs

The Section 1AAA and 1AAAA girls basketball tournaments begin this week at gyms around southeastern Minnesota. Here are 10 players to watch as the postseason gets underway.

Stewartville, Byron girls basketball
Stewartville’s Haylie Strum (2) controls the ball defended by Byron’s Kendra Harvey (24) during a girls basketball game on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, at Stewartville High School in Stewartville.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin


Haylie Strum, Stewartville

Strum is an ultimate player for the Tigers, who are ranked No. 4 in Class AAA and winners of 20 straight games. The senior guard does some of everything and almost all of it in excellent fashion. She is averaging 16.3 points, 3.7 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 4.5 steals per game. The 1,000-point scorer is also a great end-to-end defender.

Austin, Stewartville Section 1AAA Championship girls basketball
Stewartville's Keeley Steele (25) drives towards the basket defended by Austin's Cassidy Shute (25) during a Section 1AAA Championship girls basketball game on Friday, March 11, 2022, at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

Keeley Steele, Stewartville

Steele is another Stewartville senior on a team that, other than Steele and Strum, is mostly a mix of freshmen and sophomores. Steele — fast, aggressive and an ultimate leader for this team — is averaging 9.6 points (shooting a blistering 42% on 3-pointers), 2.6 assists and 3.7 steals per game. Like Strum, a multi-year starter, Steele is also often asked to guard the other team's best player.

Lake City's Ella Matzke (14) is defended by Byron's Kendra Harvey (24) during a girls basketball game on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, at Byron High School in Byron. Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin
Traci Westcott

Kendra Harvey, Byron

A 5-foot-8 sophomore shooting guard, Harvey is one of southeastern Minnesota’s top scorers. She’s already surpassed 1,000 career points. Harvey is averaging 17 points per game, as well as 3.4 steals and 4.4 rebounds and shoots 73% from the free-throw line.


Austin girls state basketball
Austin's Olivia Walsh goes up for a layup during the Packers' Class AAA quarterfinal against Becker on Wednesday, March 16, 2022 at the Maturi Pavilion in Minneapolis.
Alex VandenHouten / Post Bulletin

Olivia Walsh, Austin

After Mayo’s Hannah Hanson, this is likely the second best all-around athlete in southeastern Minnesota. Walsh stars in swimming, track and field and basketball. The 5-foot-10 senior forward is a terror on defense and averages 14.4 points (43% field-goal shooting), 9.1 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2.6 blocks per game.

Century, Red Wing girls basketball
Red Wing’s Sammi Chandler (14) drives towards the basket during a girls basketball game against Century on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022, at Century High School in Rochester.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

Sammi Chandler, Red Wing

A senior guard, Chandler has been crucial to the Wingers in almost every way. She averages 16.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 4.2 steals per game. Chandler also is frequently asked to guard the other team’s top player.


Century, Mayo girls basketball
Mayo’s Hannah Hanson (1) goes up for a shot defended by Century’s Taylor Clarey (1) and Nisha Wetter (10) during a girls basketball game against Mayo on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023, at Century High School in Rochester.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

Hannah Hanson, Mayo

Likely southeastern Minnesota’s top all-around athlete (basketball, volleyball, track and field), Hanson has turned in a strong senior basketball season. The speedy and sturdy 5-foot-8 guard likely does her most damage on the defensive end, where she is tenacious and tough. But she can also score, averaging 15.8 points per game, much of that on transition baskets. Her 3-point shooting has also picked up this season. Hanson also averages 7.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 3.5 steals.

Mayo vs. Farmington Rotary Holiday Classic Girls Basketball
Mayo's Ava Miller (15) is introduced before a Rotary Holiday Classic girls basketball game against Farmington on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

Ava Miller, Mayo

Miller is a fantastic mix of strength, size (6-feet-2) and agility. All of that has allowed the junior to average 15.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, while also being her team’s most efficient player. Miller demands double teams, which have come often of late, slowing her scoring just a bit. Ankle injuries have bothered her some the last month.


Century, Winona girls basketball
Century’s Taylor Clarey (1) controls the ball during a girls basketball game against Winona on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, at Century High School in Rochester.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

Taylor Clarey, Century

Clarey is one of the top shooters around. A junior and already a 1,000-point scorer, Clarey averages 14 points (43% field-goal shooting, 78% on free throws) per game and has made 55 3-pointers. Clarey, who also averages 2.7 assists and 2 steals per game, takes advantage of excellent speed and quickness on defense.

John Marshall, Lakeville North Section 1AAAA Championship girls basketball
John Marshall's Lilly Meister goes up for a shot defended by Lakeville North's Trinity Wilson during a Section 1AAAA Championship girls basketball game on Friday, March 11, 2022, at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

Trinity Wilson, Lakeville North

Wilson grabbed the attention of Rochester fans one year ago in the Section 1AAAA championship game, when she gave then-John Marshall senior star center Lilly Meister trouble down low with all of her size and strength. This season, the 6-foot-3 junior is averaging 14 points per game and is a strong rebounder.

Finley Ohnstad, Lakeville South

The daughter of former Faribault boys basketball star and one-time University of Minnesota player Mitch Ohnstad and former Gophers women's star Angie Iverson, Finley is a big-time player for the Cougars, averaging 16.1 points, 5 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. The junior is already a 1,000-point scorer and has committed to play at Division I Kansas State University.

Pat has been a Post Bulletin sports reporter since 1994. He covers Rochester John Marshall football, as well as a variety of other southeastern Minnesota football teams. Among my other southeastern Minnesota high school beats are girls basketball, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls track and field, high school and American Legion baseball, volleyball, University of Minnesota sports (on occasion) and the Timberwolves (on occasion). Readers can reach Pat at 507-285-7723 or
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