Corner Conference NEW

(KMAland) -- The winter sports season is right around the corner, and we are getting you ready with daily conference previews. No. 17 is the Corner Conference girls basketball preview.

PREVIOUS WINTER SPORTS PREVIEWS

Hawkeye Ten Conference Boys Basketball

Bluegrass Conference Boys Basketball

Western Iowa Conference Girls Basketball

Rolling Valley Conference Girls Basketball

KMAland Girls Bowling

Western Iowa Conference Wrestling

Missouri River Conference Boys Basketball

Hawkeye Ten Conference Girls Basketball

Hawkeye Ten Conference Wrestling

Pride of Iowa Conference Boys Basketball

Corner, Rolling Valley & Bluegrass Conference Wrestling

Missouri River Conference Girls Basketball

Bluegrass Conference Girls Basketball

Pride of Iowa Conference Girls Basketball

Missouri River Conference Wrestling

KMAland Boys Bowling


2021-22 CORNER CONFERENCE GIRLS BASKETBALL PREVIEW

Four of the six teams in the conference were able to put together positive point differentials last season. Stanton led the conference in points per game (53.1) and points against per game (37.3). Here’s how the standings lined up last year:

Stanton Viqueens — 20-3 overall, 9-1 conference

Sidney Cowgirls — 11-9 overall, 7-3 conference

Fremont-Mills Knights — 11-9 overall, 6-3 conference

East Mills Wolverines — 12-8 overall, 4-5 conference

Griswold Tigers — 5-15 overall, 3-7 conference

Essex Trojanettes — 4-15 overall, 0-10 conference

COACHES

East Mills: Alexis Moreno

Essex: Rob Erickson

Fremont-Mills: Brett Weldon

Griswold: Chris Hamilton

Sidney: Paige Landwehr

Stanton: Dave Snyder

NOTES FROM HOOP SCOOP

•East Mills has never been to the state tournament. Emerson, though, was the 1958 state runner-up, led by KMA Sports Hall of Famer Vivian Perkins. And Malvern also went to state in 1962. Mindy Sowers of Nishna Valley fame is listed in the Hoop Scoop twice for leading the state in rebounds and “interceptions” in 1993, and Tami Peterman is in for leading the state in blocks in 1987. 

•Essex went to state in 1991 and 1993 and won their first round games over Newton and Pella, respectively, in those two years. KMA Sports Hall of Famer Allen Stuart was the head coach for both teams. He was also there in 2008 when they met a state record 19 3-pointers during a win over Clarinda Academy (since broken). Another KMA Sports Hall of Famer Brandy Ossian is in the Hoop Scoop, too, as a 3,000-point scorer.

•Fremont-Mills is also a two-time state qualifier, advancing in 1965 and in 2015. Keith McGinnis was the head coach in the first trip while Rod Williams led the Knights in 2015. The latter allowed just 28.68 points per game — one of the lowest averages in state history. 

•Griswold’s lone state tournament trip came in 1934. They lost to Dana(?) by a rousing score of 19-15. The head coach was someone by the name of V.P. Patterson. Also of note, Nancy Coughlin led the state in “interceptions” in the 1976 season (9.3).

•Sidney’s only trip to state in school history came a little more recently in 2017. They took a first round loss to Exira/Elk Horn-Kimballton in that trip, and I was live and in living color court side. The Cowgirls led the state that year with 29.1 points allowed per game. 

•Stanton put together a solid run of state tournaments appearances in 1921, 1922 and 1923. The Viqueens, though, did lead the state in points allowed per game in 2006, 2010 and 2011.

Let’s get on with a look at some of the top-returning players in the league.

TOP-RETURNING SCORERS

All of the top six and 10 of the top 11 scorers from last season in the conference are back. Here’s the top 15:

1. Jenna Stephens, Junior, Stanton: Stephens was the top scorer in the conference last season with 17.3 points per game. Pretty solid stuff from the then-sophomore.

2. Emily Williams, Junior, East Mills: Another junior ranked second in the league, and it was Williams with 15.9 points per game.

3. Marleigh Johnson, Junior, Stanton: And here is another from this terrific class. Johnson put in 13.2 points per game to rank third.

4. Avery Dowling, Junior, Sidney: And yet another! Dowling put in 12.8 points per game, ranking fourth in the Corner.

5. Izzy Weldon, Sophomore, Fremont-Mills: The top freshman in the conference last season, Weldon posted 12.7 points per game.

The rest of the top 15:

6. Chay Ward, Senior, Sidney: 12.7 PPG

7. Miah Urban, Junior, East Mills: 10.8 PPG

8. Aspen Crouse, Junior, East Mills: 10.6 PPG

9. Kaelynn Driskell, Senior, Fremont-Mills: 10.5 PPG

10. McKenna Wiechmann, Junior, Griswold: 8.1 PPG

11. Abby Burke, Junior, Stanton: 8.0 PPG

12. Riley Jensen, Senior, Essex: 7.4 PPG

13. Teagan Ewalt, Junior, Fremont-Mills: 7.2 PPG

14. Emma Barrett, Sophomore, Essex: 6.8 PPG

15. Brenna Rossell, Senior, Griswold: 6.2 PPG

East Mills, Fremont-Mills and Stanton all boast three of the top 15 returning scorers in the conference. Essex, Griswold and Sidney have two each in the list above.

TOP-RETURNING REBOUNDERS 

Seven of the top 10 rebounders from last season have returned for this year. Here’s a look at the top 15:

1. Olivia Baker, Junior, Essex: The Essex junior led the conference with 9.0 rebounds per game, including a Corner-best 3.7 offensive grabs per game.

2. Emily Williams, Junior, East Mills: Williams finished the season with 6.9 rebounds per game, ranking fourth in the league.

3. Marleigh Johnson, Junior, Stanton: Stanton’s top rebounder is back in Johnson, who pulled in 6.3 rebounds per game.

4. Jenna Stephens, Junior, Stanton: Stephens was not far behind her classmate, finishing the year with 6.1 rebounds per game.

5. Miah Urban, Junior, East Mills: Another from East Mills, Urban finished with 6.1 rebounds per game — just decimal points behind Stephens.

Here’s the rest of the top 15:

6. Chay Ward, Senior, Sidney: 5.8 RPG

7. Aspen Crouse, Junior, East Mills: 5.6 RPG

8. Riley Jensen, Senior, Essex: 5.3 RPG

9. Mia Goodman, Sophomore, East Mills: 5.2 RPG

10. Kaden Payne, Junior, Sidney: 5.1 RPG

11. Avery Dowling, Junior, Sidney: 4.9 RPG

12. Brenna Rossell, Senior, Griswold: 4.6 RPG

13. Harley Spurlock, Senior, Sidney: 4.5 RPG

14. Teagan Ewalt, Junior, Fremont-Mills: 4.0 RPG

15. Malea Moore, Senior, Fremont-Mills: 3.7 RPG

East Mills brings back four of the top nine rebounders in the league while Sidney has four of the top 13. Essex, Fremont-Mills and Stanton all have two on the list above.

TOP-RETURNING ASSISTS 

The top five and — get this — 18 of the top 20 in total assists last year are back in the league. Here’s the top 15:

1. Miah Urban, Junior, East Mills: An expert floor leader for the Wolverines, Urban handed out 98 assists last season to lead the league.

2. Marleigh Johnson, Junior, Stanton: Johnson was right behind Urban with 93 assists on the year.

3. Izzy Weldon, Sophomore, Fremont-Mills: Weldon was third in the conference a year ago — and the top freshman — with 69 assists. 

4. Emily Hutt, Junior, Sidney: Hutt ranked fourth in the Corner last season, finishing with 68 assists.

5. Abby Burke, Junior, Stanton: Burke was a sharpshooter that also found 47 assist son the season.

The rest of the top 15:

6. Makenna Laumann, Senior, Sidney: 40 assists

7. Jenna Stephens, Junior, Stanton: 39 assists

8. Teagan Ewalt, Junior, Fremont-Mills: 38 assists

9. Chay Ward, Senior, Sidney: 37 assists

10. Avery Dowling, Junior, Sidney: 36 assists 

11. Harley Spurlock, Junior, Sidney: 33 assists

12. Emma Barrett, Sophomore, Essex: 32 assists

13. Kaelynn Driskell, Senior, Fremont-Mills: 30 assists 

13. Mia Goodman, Sophomore, East Mills: 30 assists

13. Riley Jensen, Senior, Essex: 30 assists 

Sidney leads the way here with five of the top 11 in total assists. Fremont-Mils and Stanton have three each, and East Mills and Essex have two apiece. The top-returning assist girl for Griswold is…

17. Brenna Rossell, Senior, Griswold: 26 assists

TOP-RETURNING STEALS 

Eight of the top nine in total steals last year are back this season. Here’s that top 15:

1. Miah Urban, Junior, East Mills: Another category and another with Urban at the top. She finished last season with 89 steals.

2. Marleigh Johnson, Junior, Stanton: And here’s Johnson again. She was third in the conference with 78 steals as a sophomore.

3. Izzy Weldon, Sophomore, Fremont-Mills: Weldon had a strong season with 72 steals, joining Urban as the only players with 200+ points, 60+ assists and 70+ steals.

4. Emily Williams, Junior, East Mills: Williams was fifth in the conference last season with 55 steals.

5. Jenna Stephens, Junior, Stanton: Stephens is the last of six that had 50+ steals last year, ranking sixth with 52.

The rest of the top 15:

6. Emma Barrett, Sophomore, Essex: 43 steals

7. Chay Ward, Senior, Sidney: 41 steals

7. McKenna Wiechmann, Junior, Griswold: 41 steals

9. Abby Burke, Junior, Stanton: 39 steals

10. Mia Goodman, Sophomore, East Mills: 37 steals

11. Kaelynn Driskell, Senior, Fremont-Mills: 36 steals

12. Aspen Crouse, Junior, East Mills: 31 steals

13. Avery Dowling, Junior, Sidney: 29 steals

13. Teagan Ewalt, Junior, Fremont-Mills: 29 steals

15. Olivia Baker, Junior, Essex: 27 steals

15. Riley Jensen, Senior, Essex: 27 steals

East Mills is out here leading the way again with four returnees while Essex, Fremont-Mills and Stanton have three apiece. Sidney also has two on the list.

TOP-RETURNING BLOCKS 

Three of the top four and seven of the top 11 shot blockers are returning to the league this year. Here’s the top 15:

1. Jenna Stephens, Junior, Stanton: Stephens was second in the conference last year with 38 blocks.

2. Teagan Ewalt, Junior, Fremont-Mills: Ewalt ranked third in the league with 29 blocks.

3. Kaden Payne, Junior, Sidney: Payne was fourth last season with 27 swats.

4. Marleigh Johnson, Junior, Stanton: Johnson had 20 blocks a year ago, ranking seventh in the conference.

5. Emily Williams, Junior, East Mills: Williams finished last season tied for eighth with 19 blocks.

The rest of the top 15:

6. Miah Urban, Junior, East Mills: 16 blocks

7. Olivia Baker, Junior, Essex: 15 blocks

8. Harley Spurlock, Senior, Sidney; 12 blocks

9. Chay Ward, Senior, Sidney: 11 blocks

10. Riley Jensen, Senior, Essex: 9 blocks

11. Aspen Crouse, Junior, East Mills: 7 blocks

12. Cindy Swain, Sophomore, Essex: 6 blocks

13. Kaelynn Driskell, Senior, Fremont-Mills: 5 blocks

13. Male Moore, Senior, Fremont-Mills: 5 blocks

15. McKenna Wiechman, Junior, Griswold: 4 blocks

East Mills, Essex, Fremont-Mills and Sidney all have three each on this list while Stanton has two. 

TOP-RETURNING SHOOTERS 

All of the top 12 in 3-point makes are returning to the Corner this season. Here’s the top 10 in total 3-point makes:

1. Avery Dowling, Junior, Sidney: 59 3PM (35.1%)

2. Abby Burke, Junior, Stanton: 45 3PM (37.2%)

3. Jenna Stephens, Junior, Stanton: 35 3PM (37.2%)

4. Chay Ward, Senior, Sidney: 33 3PM (29.5%)

4. McKenna Wiechman, Junior, Griswold: 33 3PM (32.0%)

6. Teagan Ewalt, Junior, Fremont-Mills: 25 3PM (26.6%)

7. Kaelynn Driskell, Senior, Fremont-Mills: 24 3PM (22.6%)

8. Natalie Goodman, Junior, East Mills: 23 3PM (25.0%)

8. Izzy Weldon, Sophomore, Fremont-Mills: 23 3PM (29.1%)

10. Aspen Crouse, Junior, East Mills: 18 3PM (36.7%)

Fremont-Mills has three of the top seven returning 3-point shooters while East Mills, Sidney and Stanton all have two on the list. Here’s the top-returning Essex long-range shooter:

12. Emma Barrett, Sophomore, Essex: 15 3PM (28.3%)

On to the top free throw shooters, which has the top four and 10 of the top 12 coming back. Here’s the top 10 in free throw makes:

1. Jenna Stephens, Junior, Stanton: 68 FTM (66.0%)

2. Marleigh Johnson, Junior, Stanton: 62 FTM (60.2%)

3. Emily Williams, Junior, East Mills: 60 FTM (74.1%)

4. Aspen Crouse, Junior, East Mills: 54 FTM (76.1%)

5. Chay Ward, Senior, Sidney: 38 FTM (77.6%)

6. Kaelynn Driskell, Senior, Fremont-Mills: 37 FTM (67.3%)

7. Miah Urban, Junior, East Mills: 34 FTM (60.7%)

8. Mia Goodman, Sophomore, East Mills: 33 FTM (51.6%)

8. Riley Jensen, Senior, Essex: 33 FTM (57.9%)

8. Izzy Weldon, Sophomore, Fremont-Mills: 33 FTM (63.5%)

East Mills has four of the top eight returning free throw shooters on the list while Fremont-Mills and Stanton have two apiece. Griswold’s top-returning free throw shooter:

11. Brenna Rossell, Senior, Griswold: 18 FTM (51.4%)

ONE FINAL TAKE FOR EACH TEAM 

Here’s one final take for each team listed in the order of projected finish:

Stanton: The defending champions will miss their two senior starters from last year, but there is a sophomore class that should be ready to fill in. Their top five will likely match up with most other 1A schools in the area.

East Mills: They played for the Corner Conference Tournament championship last season and were on their way to a higher finish in the league until Emily Williams’ injury. With Williams — and everybody else — back I could see them playing the full year like they did for the first 15 last season.

Sidney: Sidney is coming off a terrific volleyball season, so I wouldn’t put it past them to double up in basketball. They return mostly intact with the loss of one senior starter, but there remains plenty of experience. Their depth might be the best in the league.

Fremont-Mills: There could very well be an argument by the end of the year that Fremont-Mills has the best player in the conference. Izzy Weldon had a hugely successful debut season, and she’ back for more along with four others with starting experience. They also lost just one senior, and it was a very good one. Still, Weldon, Driskell and Ewalt make for a terrific trio.

Griswold: Four seniors with starting experience have graduated for the Tigers. However, they are still a pretty talented group of girls that can throw any ball out on any court and have some success. It’s just tough for anybody to make too much of a move with all the talent returning atop the league.

Essex: Essex played a lot of freshmen last season, and those (now) sophomores will have to be ready to replace their two senior starters that were a major piece of their production. Again, this is a team that could be improved, but it’s tough to make much headway in this league.

Send any questions, comments, corrections and/or concerns to dmartin@kmamail.com.

Thank you for reading kmaland.com

At KMA, we attempt to be accurate in our reporting. If you see a typo or mistake in a story, please contact us by emailing kmaradio@kmaland.com.