For the second straight year, the Miss Basketball Minnesota award was handed to a player from a class AA school.
Rebekah Dahlman, who blasted the old state career scoring record with a mark of 5,060 points, earned the nod. Finalists included Nia Coffey of Hopkins, Jessica January of Richfield, Tyseanna Johnson of DeLaSalle and MC McGrory of Edina
The award itself was the subject of fierce debate, with basketball followers believing the accolade would go to Coffey or Dahlman. Both represented Minnesota in the McDonald’s All-American game, ending a four-year drought for the North Star state.
Dahlman is the only high school player to cross both the 4,000 and 5,000-point barriers, but Coffey evolved to a centerpiece for Hopkins, winning three straight state championships in class AAAA.
No controversy brewed after the selection, but Dahlman highlighted the steady increase of basketball prodigies outside of the metro area. Dahlman qualified to the class AA state tournament with Braham for four straight years, winning a championship in 2011 and finishing second twice (2010 and 2013).
Joining her in the class AA All-Star field was Taylor Finley and Leah Szabla, also regular state tournament visitors for Providence Academy. The pair crowned a state tournament trophy in 2012.
The AA roster had the tallest player among the 2013 group: 6-foot-9-inch center Savanna Trapp from Esko. Standing two inches taller than her cousin, former Gopher Amber Dvorak, Trapp will trade the wide-open spaces of her hometown for the bustling city of Los Angeles, where she will don the blue and gold at UCLA.
Class AA also boasted the lone city representative in Humboldt’s Lashay Holt. The St. Paul resident kept the Hawks in a competitive state after the long line of Hicks sisters moved through the school.
Rebekah Dahlman – Braham
Dahlman set many scoring marks in her varsity career at Braham and is the only player to score above 1,000 points in a season twice, doing so in 2011-12 and 2012-13. Her production was so dynamic that she passed Tayler Hill’s previous career mark of 3,888 before her junior season ended.
Dahlman gained a reputation for slicing through slower defenders with her drives, and her assertiveness meant most Braham offensive plays would run through her.
She will join the SEC next year when she plays for Vanderbilt and was an All-State honoree for four straight years.
Taylor Finley – Providence Academy
Taylor Finley likely was not chosen to the All-Star field because of her stats, playing on the famously slow-paced Providence Academy squad, but her outside shooting was one reason why the strategy usually worked.
Finley will join former high school teammate AnnMarie Healy at Harvard, and says the sport allowed her to absorb the principles of teamwork and perseverance. She has plans on becoming a children’s doctor.
Lashay Holt – Humboldt
Once a fiery personality who was not afraid to tease media members who covered Humboldt games, Lashay Holt morphed to a calmer, wiser individual who took an adverse family situation and triumphed to get an academic scholarship at St. Catherine’s University, where she will continue playing basketball.
Holt led the state in steals in her senior season and became Humboldt’s all-time leading scorer. While her individual performances were responsible for many Humboldt wins, Holt said basketball is not for those who only care about themselves. Before each game, she would pay respect to one of her strongest supporters who died in the middle of her senior season.
Kaytlin Kuefler – Annandale
Kuefler was one of two All-Stars committed to play college basketball at St. Cloud State. The aspiring FBI agent still has memories of watching the Metrodome scoreboard in 2006, when Twins fans waited to eventually discover they had clinched the American League Central Division title that year.
Kuefler said basketball stressed the importance of building relationships with teammates, values that carried over in her membership of Annandale’s National Honor Society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Nicole Nipper – Minnehaha Academy
Nipper was scheduled to participate as a class AA representative, but an injury following the basketball season removed her from competition.
She won a state championship with Minnehaha Academy in 2010 and finished second in 2011. She did not excel compared to other basketball standouts, but her all-around abilities encompassed a total of five sports throughout her high school career (she gave up tennis and golf to compete in cross-country and track).
In addition to the usual notes of basketball teaching, Nipper believes basketball is a gift to be used to glorify God. She will attend Carleton College, where she will have the opportunity to continue participating in multiple sports.
Leah Szabla – Providence Academy
The point guard for the Providence Academy Lions was the only player on the team to post numbers comparable to many of her high school peers.
Szabla showcased her ability to play a quick tempo at the All-Star Series, a trait that will prove useful in her upcoming collegiate battles at North Dakota. The hopeful heart surgeon believes everyone who served a role in her high school basketball career had an important influence in her life, a philosophy that brewed when she watched all of her older siblings move through the sport.
Alexis Tappe – Frazee
Tappe credits basketball with helping her communication and group work skills. Growing up in the small town of Frazee, she received autographed basketballs from the varsity team after her youth squad engaged in a friendly during halftime intermission.
Tappe will attend Northern State in the fall and wants to become a children’s doctor. She even brings out a flavor of Buddha, who coined her inspirational quote: “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
Savanna Trapp – Esko
Chances are Savanna Trapp has heard every common joke related to a tall stature. Her height attracted the Star Tribune during the 2012-13 season, but like any other towering basketball specimen, Trapp refused to let her physical attributes distract her from her basketball goals.
Trapp finished her high school career with the state record in blocks, making 667 rejections. Her field goal shooting of 63.1 percent is third in Minnesota history, a facet that will likely hold if she logs considerable playing time at UCLA.
She said basketball taught her about true friendship, and she would like to study the coastal reefs in Australia once her collegiate studies are complete.
Taylor Winjum – Caledonia
Winjum finished second in the class AA state volleyball championship with Caledonia, and her talents were just as prolific in basketball.
The last All-Star entry in alphabetical order, Winjum highlights her involvement in basketball for making her a more positive leader.
Her occupational goal is an anesthesiologist, which played a decision in her choice to attend Viterbo University for college. Chances are the school will gain a deeper shade of pink; Winjum considers pink her favorite color. Outside of sports, Winjum was a member of the Caledonia school choir.