Local girls receive all-state basketball honors
The Michigan Associated Press Division 1-4 girls’ basketball all-state teams were announced earlier this week and a handful of players from the Upper Peninsula were honored. Players are elected by the Associated Press’ 10-person voting panel.
In Division 3 voting, Hancock’s Bella Hebert received Second Team honors. According to her coach Ward Helakoski, she was the reason had a near perfect season at 20-2. The five-foot-nine senior averaged close to 19 points per game and pulled in nearly 10 rebounds per game. Appropriately, she was named Miss U.P. Basketball earlier this week by the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscaster Association
“Bella is very deserving of all these awards,” stated Helakowski. “While I did not see every player in Division 3 and perhaps, I am a little bit biased, but I can say with all honesty that Bella was the best player I had seen all year. She had a great season.”
Helakowski credits her dad working with her as a youth coach, and her freshman coach Dan Pertile, as both helped lay a strong basketball foundation.
“There was a lot of good work that went into her before I got to her as a sophomore,” noted Helakowski. “Bella is very competitive and has a strong work ethic.”
He added that Hebert’s time in the gym transformed her from an average post player to a more aggressive player under the hoop.
“She has become one of the best at driving to the hoop and getting by people,” he said.
In Division 4 voting, two local girls earned first team honors. Baraga senior Corina Jahfetson and Ewen-Trout Creek senior Kate Borseth made the starting five for the Michigan Division 4 girls’ team.
Jahfetson’s high school career ended in a state-final loss. It was the sharp shooter’s second time to the Final Four in two years.
“We would not have gotten as far as we did without Corrie,” said her coach Tyler Larson who was named the Division 4’s Second Team Coach of the Year. “She does it all as a leader on the court and playmaker.”
The Copper Mountain Conference tri-player of the year averaged 18 points per game and was known for her tenacious play on defense where she averaged more than four steals per game. Her three-point precision was hard to stop. Jahfetson had 13 games this past year with four or more triples. In five of those games, she had more than five three pointers.
“Her dependability to score points in hitting a big three or slowing another team down was crucial for us in winning like we did this season,” Larson added. “She is an unbelievable talent on the floor. She has a strong understanding of what it is going to take to win the game night in and night out and that was key to our success. She certainly made my job easier as a coach.”
Joining Jahfetson on the first team squad was Borseth. The feisty guard led the Panthers to an 18-7 record. At 5-foot-6, she averaged 20 points per game and more than six rebounds per contest this past season. With those kinds of numbers, her coach Jacky Besonen summed it up best.
“She will be sorely missed,” she said. “Kate has been a five-year starter for us. With her in the lineup we have won three Copper Mountain Conference titles and three district championships.
“To say that she has played a key role in all of that would be an understatement.”
She finished her career at Ewen with 1,596 points. This season alone she scored more than 20 poits in nine games.
“Kate is an excellent shooter and defender,” said Besonen. “She draws the other team’s best defender and even some extra help to try and slow her down.”
Editor’s note: Two other girls from the Upper Peninsula who earned all-state honors were Ella Mason, of Negaunee and Engadine’s Lean French. Mason was named to the Division 3 second team. French was named to Division 4’s second team.