Recognized for their efforts
Fleming earns D3 first team all-state, Etherton, Toppi receive honorable mention
Two area girls basketball standouts and a head coach were recognized for their efforts during the 2018-2019 high school girls basketball season. Rogers City’s Taylor Fleming earned Division 3 first team all-state honors, Oscoda’s Katelyn Etherton received honorable mention recognition and Oscoda head coach Mark Toppi received an honorable mention for Division 3 Coach of the Year.
Fleming finished a stellar career on the court with a fantastic senior season.
Fleming averaged 19.8 points, 18.7 rebounds, 3.9 steals, 3.8 blocks and 3.2 assists per game during the season.
For her career, Fleming averaged 15.5 points, 11.1 rebounds, 3.3 steals, 2.6 blocks and 2.4 assists.
Fleming also became just the second Huron in history reach 1,000 career points and finished with 1,303 career points and is second all-time in program history, behind only her aunt Ashley Fleming (DeFisher).
Fleming surpassed her aunt in one category by breaking her single game record as she scored 37 points in a game during her junior season.
It is no question that Fleming will go down in history as one of the best basketball players to play at Rogers City.
Etherton received honorable mention recognition as she ran the point for an Oscoda team that had a perfect regular season and won their first district championship in program history.
Etherton averaged 16.7 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists during her senior year.
Toppi was named Division 3 coach of the year a season ago and he coached his Owls to a perfect regular season and the programs first ever district title.
The Owls finished 22-1 overall and won the North Star League Big-Dipper division.
LANSING — Steve Eklund wasn’t surprised when the text came his way.
In fact, he was expecting it.
The Pewamo-Westphalia girls basketball coach was less than 48 hours removed from watching his program capture its first state championship when one of his leaders — junior wing Hannah Spitzley — messaged him about getting back in the gym on the first full day of her spring break.
“That’s her,” Eklund said.
“Someone that excels in something, it’s because they have an extreme commitment to it. She does. She loves the game. She’s extremely serious about the game. She’s committed, hard working. If you have a passion about something, you’re going to pursue it every day.”
That’s what made Spitzley such a driving force on the court for Pewamo-Westphalia. And she leads The Associated Press Division 3 all-state team as the player of the year.
The 6-foot Spitzley, who verbally committed to Western Michigan in September, averaged 14 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.7 steals while helping the Pirates finish 27-1 this winter. She shot 50 percent from the field and 79 percent from the free-throw line while helping Pewamo-Westphalia break through for a state championship after the program finished as the Class C runner-up in 2017 and reached the state semifinals last year.
Spitzley had always made an impact on the defensive end in the opening two years of her varsity career, but evolved as an offensive player this season following the graduation of her older sister Emily Spitzley, who had been Pewamo-Westphalia’s go-to scorer.
“I knew I had to step up this year, especially on the offensive end,” Spitzley said. “It was a new thing for me because Emily had usually been the scorer on our team. This year the eyes were kind of more on me. I took it personally being put on the spot like that. It’s a great honor, it really is. I had to be able to step up and I had to perform. I had to earn it.”
Spitzley met those expectations in all areas while displaying her all-around skill set to help the Pirates achieve their lofty goals.
“She is who she is because of her work ethic and how she plays on both ends of the court,” Eklund said. “She’s not lighting up the scoreboard and setting state scoring records, she’s just a complete player. I think this year even more so, she was the same stalwart on the defensive end, but offensively she was more aggressive and as a leader she was very much improved.”
Spitzley was joined on the all-state first team by teammate Ellie Droste; Charlevoix junior Elise Stuck; Lake City junior Rylie Bisballe; Byron sophomore Sarah Marvin; freshman Mya Petticord and senior Mahri Petree of Ypsilanti Arbor Prep; Kent City sophomore Kenzie Bowers; Brown City senior Kendal Muxlow; White Pigeon junior Claycee West; Rogers City senior Taylor Fleming; and junior Xeryia Tartt of state runner-up Flint Hamady
Eklund, who surpassed 200 career wins this season, was selected the coach of the year.
They were selected by a panel of 11 Michigan sportswriters.