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West Bend's Maddison Baker and Racine Lutheran's Caroline Strande head to college with AP all-state distinction

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Buy Photo West Bend West's Maddison Baker (left) and Racine Lutheran's Caroline Strande were first-team all-state selections by the Associated Press (Photo: Curt Hogg, NOW Newspapers and Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

The Associated Press announced its all-state girls basketball team Wednesday and two area standouts earned elite status.

Racine Lutheran’s Caroline Strande and West Bend West’s Maddison Baker were named to the first team, meaning that out of the approximately 10,000 girls playing the game in the state that the two are considered among the five best players of any class or division

Neither selection should be considered a surprise.

Strande, a 5-foot-11 senior, guard, was a unanimous selection. The University of Minnesota recruit led Racine Lutheran to an undefeated season in the Metro Classic and a 24-1 record overall.

She averaged 35.3 points, 10.2 rebounds and 5.4 assists, all team highs. She shot 53.9% overall and connected on 39% of her three-point attempts. She had eight 40-point games and scored a career-high 45 points against Wilmot Jan. 3.

Five days later she became the 25th girl in state history to score 2,000 points.

Always strong attacking the basket, Strande improved her jump shot over her time in high school. This year not only marked her highest three-point percentage – she shot 39% – but it also marked the most that shot has been part of her game. Here 141 attempts – she made 55 – were 40 more than she’d shot in any of her previous seasons.

“Her junior and senior year you could see she put a lot of time in that,” Martin Luther coach Corey Scheel said.

Baker, a 6-2 forward, is also headed to Minnesota, but on a soccer scholarship. She is a special talent on the basketball court, too.

She averaged 23.1 points, 11.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 3.2 assists, 4.3 steals and 2.1 blocks per game and led the Spartans to their second straight North Shore Conference title, a 23-3 record and a sectional final berth. She had 28 points and 17 rebounds to lead West past Germantown, the area’s top-ranked team, in the sectional semifinal.

Baker finished with 1,734 points and scored a career-high 35 in a 66-34 win over Hartford on Feb. 28.

“Maddie is the best post player and open court player out of all that I have seen this year,” West coach Joe Pintens said. “She is a player that makes everyone around her better. She raises everyone else's confidence level.”

The top honors for the all-state team were claimed by La Crosse Aquinas’s Lexi Donarski, who was the unanimous player of the year, and her father, Dave, who was named coach of the year. He led the Blugolds, the two-time defending state champion in Division 4, back to the final before the completion of state tournament was cancelled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here is the complete team. Area players and listed in bold.

AP all-state team

Player of the year: Lexi Donarski, La Crosse Aquinas (unanimous)

Coach of the year: Dave Donarski, La Crosse Aquinas

First team

Maddison Baker, 6-2, sr., West Bend West

Lexi Donarski, 5-10, sr., La Crosse Aquinas (unanimous)

Leilani Kapinus, 5-11, sr., Madison Memorial

Caroline Strande, 5-11, sr., Racine Lutheran (unanimous)

Maty Wilke, 5-10, jr., Beaver Dam

Second team

Leah Earnest, 5-11, sr., Stevens Point

Macy McGlone, 6-3, sr., Hortonville

Anna Mortag, 6-0 sr., Brookfield Central

Jaddan Simmons, 5-9, sr., Green Bay Southwest

Sitori Tanin, 6-2, sr., Middleton

Third team

Courtney Becker, 6-0, sr., La Crosse Aquinas

Bridget Froehlke, 5-9, sr., Wrightstown

Anna Lutz, 6-1, jr, Marshall

Sami Martin, 6-2, sr., Platteville

Natalie McNeal, 5-8, sr., Germantown

Fourth team

Abbie Aalsma, 5-9, soph., Waupun

Jada Donaldson, 5-6, sr., Beaver Dam

Natalie Leuzinger, 5-9, sr., Black Hawk

Khamya McNeal, 5-7, sr., Milwaukee King

Olivia Sobczak, 6-0, sr., Oconomowoc

Honorable mention

Kamorea Arnold, fr., Germantown; Paige Banks, sr., Evansville; Bailey Butler, jr., Black Hawk; Mesa Byom, sr., Melrose-Mindoro; Angie Cera, sr., Mukwonago; Ella Diny, sr., Wrightstown; Carley Duffney, jr., Green Bay Preble; Olivia Gamoke, jr., Onalaska; Morgann Gardner, jr., Racine Lutheran; Remi Geiger, sr., Loyal; Caelan Givens, sr., Chippewa Falls; Erin Hedman, sr., New Berlin Eisenhower; Emily Herzberg, sr., Melrose-Mindoro; Dru Henning, sr., Mukwonago; Ellie Hoesley, sr., Arcadia; Natalie Jens, jr., Beaver Dam; Mackenzie Johnson, sr., Bay Port; Nicole Johnson, sr., Mineral Point; Lily Krahn, soph., Prairie du Chien; Jasmine Kondrakiewicz, sr., Pius XI; Emily La Chapell, soph., Appleton East; Isabella Lenz, jr., Prescott; Peyton McGinnis, sr., Waupun; Sarah Mueller, sr., Stevens Point Pacelli; Brianna Nelson, sr., Eleva-Strum; Laura Nickel, jr., Marshall; Olivia Pitrof, sr., Racine Horlick; Olivia Rangel, jr., Franklin; Emmoni Rankins, sr., Madison Memorial; Haley Rens, jr., Laconia; Katie Rohner, sr., Waterford; Becca Schauer, sr., Ozaukee; Lauren Schill, sr., Pewaukee; Grace Schmidt, soph., Watertown Luther Prep; Kylie Schmidt, jr., Mishicot; Maddy Schreiber, jr., Kimberly; Julia Seidel, sr., Wausau Newman Catholic; Kylie Strop, sr., River Falls; Taylor Theusch, sr., La Crosse Aquinas; Maggie Trautsch, sr., DeForest; Liz Uhl, sr., Oregon; Kennedy Van Zile, sr., Rhinelander; Hailey Voelker, sr., Colby; Julianna Wagner, jr., Lake Mills; Emma Wollert, sr., Sheboygan Falls; Madison Zimmer, sr., Clear Lake.

Contact Mark Stewart at Mark.Stewart@jrn.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkStewartMJS.