Union Grove duo, scoring sensation among top players

By Mike Ramczyk

Correspondent

Sorry folks, this is coming a bit late this year.

We have been covering a full slate of spring sports this past month, trying to report on the few games that haven’t been rained out, so All-Area basketball has taken a backseat.

But no worries, the seventh annual Southern Lakes Newspapers All-Area Girls Basketball team is back.

We will run the 2022 girls squad this week in most of our 15 newspapers spanning four counties, and next week we will run the boys squad.

Correspondent Mike Ramczyk reached out to coaches and a few players from 16 schools, including Burlington, Waterford, Union Grove, Elkhorn, Delavan-Darien, Westosha Central, Wilmot, Lake Geneva Badger, Catholic Central, East Troy, Whitewater, Walworth Big Foot, Williams Bay, Mukwonago, Palmyra-Eagle and Williams Bay Faith Christian.

Ramczyk also covered several games in person this past season to use the tried and true eye test.

Using measurable attributes, like postseason accolades, stats, team record and impact on the game, SLN presents a first team, second team and honorable mention.

The Union Grove girls basketball team was the pride of the area, going 25-3 and advancing to a WIAA Division 2 sectional final.

The Broncos feature four girls on the All-Area first and second teams, including University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee recruit and player of the year Sophia Rampulla.

Westosha Central also enjoyed its best season in school history at 19-7. Head coach Brian Garoutte is our coach of the year for his efforts.

After the season, however, Garoutte was let go as the head varsity basketball coach. He no longer works for Westosha Central.

Wilmot, Catholic Central and Palmyra-Eagle were the only other area teams with winning records this season.

Without further adieu, please sit back, grab a beverage and a snack, and enjoy the 2022 SLN All-Area Girls Basketball team.

 

Player of the year

Sophia Rampulla

Sophia Rampulla, junior, Union Grove

Rampulla set a school record for steals in a game with 10 her freshman season, and the stage was set for one of the best all-around players to pass through Union Grove High School.

One of two All-State players in the area (honorable mention WBCA and AP), Rampulla became Union Grove’s second all-time rebounder (578), second in blocks (106) and first in assists (258).

She also earned the single-season record for assists in a season with 115. Sophia averaged 11.1 points, 9.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 3.2 steals and 1.2 blocks per game.

“Sophia is an unselfish all-around basketball player,” Union Grove coach Rob Domagalski said. “She led our team in every major statistical category except for scoring, which was second behind her teammate Syd Ludvigsen. She is a great example that a player can be great at basketball by contributing in other categories other than scoring. Sophia has a great vision of the floor and is one of the best passers I’ve ever coached in my 22-year coaching career at Union Grove.”

Rampulla will play college basketball in 2023 at Division 1 UW-Milwaukee.

See separate story.

Coach of the Year

Brian Garoutte, Westosha Central

The coach, who was let go after the season despite going 19-7 and leading the Falcons to their best record in school history at 19-7, was able to put Westosha girls hoops on the map and boast an impressive 12-2 record.

 

First team

      McKenna Johnson, sophomore, Wilmot

McKenna Johnson has been tearing up opponents and filling up scoreboards for two years now and is nearly a 1,000-point scorer after only two seasons.

She hit 11 3-pointers and broke her own single-game school record with 41 points in a victory over Delavan-Darien Feb. 4, then followed it with 28 points the next game with nine triples and 28 points at state-ranked Union Grove.

Coach Jerod Boyd, who coached McKenna the past two seasons, said she is one of the best players he has ever seen at the high school level.

A natural scorer, the left-handed Johnson can dominate offensively from anywhere, including beyond the arc and at the rim.

McKenna Johnson led the SLC and ranked eighth in state in scoring and also led team in rebounding and was second in assists.

Johnson averaged 23.9 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists, while adding 27 steals, 52 3-pointers made and shot 75.8 percent from the free-throw line.

She earned Southern Lakes Conference first team honors and received recognition as fourth team all state by the Associated Press.

“All-around player, offense, defense, passing, rebounding, the whole package, should’ve been conference player of the year,” said Wilmot coach Keith Skryznecki.

Sydney Ludvigsen

      Sydney Ludvigsen, junior, Union Grove

The second-best player on the area’s best team, Ludvigsen led the Broncos in scoring at 12.0 points per game and added 3.9 rebounds and 2 steals.

Ludvigsen is perhaps the area’s best 3-point shooter.

She made 59 from beyond the arc this season and is now second all-time at Union Grove High School with 123 3-pointers made.

Ludvigsen earned first team all-conference and first team all-Racine County.

“Syd’s hard work in the offseason helped her become the team’s leading scorer this season and helped her earn first team all-conference in the Southern Lakes,” Domagalski said. “Syd is a perfectionist and does not like any type of failure. She will continue to help herself get better and set high goals for her team and herself to achieve next season.”

Rampulla said Ludvigsen is a knock-down shooter from anywhere on the court.

“She can hit a 3 or pull-up jumper,” Rampulla said of Ludvigsen. “She also has amazing court vision to drop a dime.”

      Ellie Reynolds, senior, Westosha Central

A first team all-SLC pick, Reynolds was the leading scorer at 12.9 points per game for a Falcons squad that had its best season in school history at 19-7.

She added 2.7 assists per game, 37 steals, 52.5 percent from the field, a stunning 38.3 percent from 3-point range, and 69 percent from the free-throw line.

The senior guard was named all-Kenosha County for the second straight season.

Reynolds ranked third in the SLC in scoring, tied for fifth in rebounding and was third in assists.

She had five games of 20 or more points, including a season-high 30 at a holiday tournament at Carthage College.

Reynolds added three double-doubles, including a 25-point, 11-rebound, four-assist, two-steal performance in a win at county rival Wilmot on Jan. 27.

She finished her three-year varsity career with 780 points.

     

Emma Henningfield

Emma Henningfeld, senior, Waterford

A double-double machine for the Wolverines, Henningfeld earned first team all-SLC and second team all-Racine County honors.

She averaged 11.8 points, 12.8 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.1 steals per game.

Waterford coach Dena Brechtl said the senior captain Henningfeld was a force inside and drew the attention of defenses. She averaged a double-double the entire season.

“Emma was a leader for us all season,” Brechtl said. “The younger members of the team looked up to her both on and off the court. She is the kind of kid every coach loves to coach, as she was in the gym all offseason working to improve her game. The improvements she made in one offseason were amazing to see. She will be missed for not only her dominance on the court but also her leadership off the court.”

      Rylee Crull, junior, Delavan-Darien

After missing the beginning of the season with an injury, Crull returned after Christmas and was a scoring machine for the Comets.

She averaged 18.5 points per game, good for second in the area, 8.6 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game.

Though Delavan went 4-19 for the season, Crull showed her immense talent with six 20-point games, including three straight to end the season (25.7 points per game).

Crull would’ve been higher on the list had she not played only 14 games.

 

Second team

 

Maddy von Rabeneau

    Maddy von Rabenau, senior, Catholic Central

A four-year starter for the Hilltoppers, von Rabenau was an outside shooting threat and a walking bucket.

The senior leader led the team with 12.4 point per game and earned second team all-Metro Classic Conference and second team all-Racine County honors.

Von Rabenau finished with 940 points in her illustrious career.

She affected the game in many ways, adding 5.4 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 1.9 assists per game.

“Maddy is just a competitor,” said Catholic Central coach David Beebe. “She wants to win and compete. I think that showed multiple times in late-game situations.”

“She hit two free throws with less than 10 seconds left to beat Shoreland Lutheran for the first time in 14 years and then with .6 seconds left to beat Black Hawk and advance to the regional finals. Having that competitive fire in someone is great to coach, and I look forward to her having success moving forward.”

      Madelyn Johnson, senior, Wilmot

The older sister of McKenna, Madelyn had her best high school season as a senior.

The MVP of the Kenosha County vs. Racine County All-Star game, Johnson averaged 12 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game.

She made 40 3-pointers on the season.

A second team all-SLC selection, Madelyn earned all-Kenosha County second team honors after tying for fifth in the SLC in scoring and ranked fourth in 3-pointers made.

She scored in double figures 16 times, including a season-high 24 against Johnsburg, Ill. on Jan. 29.

“Hardworking senior,” Skryznecki said. “All-around leader on and off the floor. She never came off the floor. She’s an all-around player, always looking for the open player. She never gave up.”

      Reese Rynberg, junior, Westosha Central

The junior forward was named second team all-SLC and second team all-Kenosha County after ranking ninth in the SLC in scoring, seventh in rebounding and third in blocks.

She scored in double figures 18 times, including a season-high 20 against state-ranked Union Grove.

Rynberg was a force down low, averaging 10.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.4 steals a game, along with 27 blocks and an efficient 56 percent shooting from the field.

She had four double-doubles this season and blocked six shots against Elkhorn Dec. 9.

      Emmy Pettit, senior, Union Grove

Rampulla had high praise for her teammate.

“Emmy is very aggressive and a well-rounded player,” Rampulla said. “If you need her on offense she’s there to be an amazing point guard and leader. If you need her on defense, she is there to get you a steal and quickly move the ball up the court.”

Pettit was a team captain along with Rampulla.

She was named second team all-SLC and honorable mention all-Racine County.

Pettit was a four-year varsity player. She averaged 8.5 points per game this past season.

She was a senior leader for the 25-3 Broncos that finished No. 5 in the final Division 2 AP state rankings.

The Grove won conference seven of the last eight years, including the final three of Pettit’s four seasons.

      Payton Calouette, senior, Union Grove

The stat-stuffing senior was the team’s third-leading scorer at 9.3 points per game, and the 5-foot-10 star added 4.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.5 steals per contest.

She has an NAIA offer to play college basketball at Cardinal Stritch.

Calouette was named second team all-SLC and honorable mention all-Racine County.

      Bayla Strandlie, senior, Mukwonago

The 5-foot-7 guard led the Indians to an 11-15 finish in the tough Classic 8 Conference.

She averaged a team-high 12.7 points per game and connected on 43 3-pointers.

Strandlie also shot 80 percent from the free-throw line.

The talented player was named second team all-Classic 8.

 

Honorable mention

      Big Foot: Lydia Larson, 12.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg.

Burlington: Anika Preusker, 7.1 ppg, Ella Clapp, 5.7 rpg, 2.3 spg

Catholic Central: Julia Klein, 10.6 ppg, 9.1 reb, 3.9 assists, 2.2 steals

Delavan-Darien: Addison Stallings, 12.7 ppg.

East Troy: Amya Pluess, 8.1 ppg, Lauren Lindow, 6.8 ppg.

Elkhorn: Sommer Tuescher, 10.4 ppg, Mikayla Champeny, 9.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg

      Faith Christian: Emily Sorenson, Annabelle Schmidt.

Lake Geneva Badger: Molly Deering, 7.9ppg, 3.1 reb, 2.2 steals, 1.2 assists

Mukwonago: Taylor Rogosienski, 11.3 ppg, Lili Hartel, 11.0 ppg.

Palmyra-Eagle: Kyler Koutsky, Madyson Nettersheim.

Union Grove: Carolyn May, Ali Torhorst.

Waterford: Megan Cornell, 8.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 2.3 apg, 2.7 spg, Madison Krueger, 6.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.8 spg.

Westosha Central: Kialis Anderson, Maddie Haubrich.

Whitewater: Gwen Truesdale, Kindyl Kilar.

Williams Bay: Morgan Bronson, Margaret Higgins.

Wilmot: Jasmine Delaney.