Typically, an all-state athletic team is not the preserve of underclassmen.
But then there's nothing typical about all-state athletes. They're chosen because of their atypical abilities.
So it is that the state Class A girls all-state basketball team chosen by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association features three non-seniors.
Minot High’s Cassie Askvig is one of two sophmores named to the Class A girls all-state team.
The team features sophomores Sarah Jacobson and Cassie Askvig, junior Alexis Klabo and seniors Paige Peterson and Keisha Engelhardt. Jacobson and Klabo were unanimous picks.
Jacobson, state champion Fargo Shanley's point guard, is the only repeater on the team.
Engelhardt, a Bismarck forward, and Peterson, a Jamestown post, were Miss Basketball finalists.
Askvig, a Minot forward, was the driving force behind the Magicians's surprising drive to the state championship game. Klabo, a junior forward, led Fargo Davies to a fourth-place state tournament finish.
The second team includes two Bismarck Century players, Macy Lynch and Jordyn Jossart. Cassidy Thorson of West Fargo, Dierra Diegel of Valley City and Madison Walford of Devils Lake make up the remainder of the second team. Thorson was a Miss Basketball finalist.
Jacobson, five-foot-9, led the East Region in scoring (21.7), assists (6.8) and 3-pointers (59. She was credited with 42 percent efficiency on both 3-pointers, and field goals and averaged 2.9 steals. She's a two-year starter.
Klabo, 6-2, was the No. 2 scorer in the East Region (21.1) and ranked third in rebounding (9.9). She was a 47 percent shooter from the floor and averaged 2.8 assists and 2.5 steals. She blocked 27 shots.
Klabo missed most of her sophomore season with a foot stress fracture, but returned to lead the Eagles to a 17-8 season.
Askvig, 6-1, led the West Region in blocked shots (75), was second in scoring (17.9), third in rebounding (9.3) and fourth in field goal shooting (54 percent). She swished 41 3-pointers, shooting 38 percent from outside the arc.
She helped he Majettes to eight wins in their last 11 games to finish 16-9.
"She's a young lady who's set some pretty lofty goals for herself. I think one of her goals was to help get the team to the state tournament and another goal was to become a first-team all-state player," Minot coach Todd Magnuson said. "When she was double- and triple-teamed she was good at finding someone who was open. ... When you've got a 6-1 girl who can step up and shoot the 3, post up and do things inside and block shots on defense, that's huge."
Peterson, 6-0, was the West Region's top scorer (18.7) and rebounder (13.5) and ranked third in field goal accuracy (55 percent). She helped the Blue Jays regroup after a 5-7 start and qualify for the state tournament, finishing 12-12.
Coach Andy Skunberg said Peterson expanded her offensive game between her junior and senior years.
"Paige developed more of a 15-foot shot. The last couple of years she was kind of a block-to-block player but over the summer she worked on expanding her range and that showed up during the season," Skunberg said.
Engelhardt, 5-9, was the West Region's No. 2 rebounder (10.4), No. 3 scorer (17.3)) and No. 4 free-throw shooter (78 percent). She shot 44 percent from the floor, averaged 2.5 assists and 2.4 steals while leading Bismarck to a 22-3 season.
The most telling statistic indicated her ability to get to the free-throw line. One-third of her points were scored at the charity stripe.