Buch, Fritz, Kurtz, Lunsford rewarded
The Southeast Conference champion Fairfield Trojans dominated the 2017 All-Golden Triangle News Service Big School Girls’ Basketball Team.
Fairfield’s Nicole Buch and Sam Fritz are the Co-Most Valuable Players. Teammates Kylie Kurtz and Mikaela Lunsford also earned a spot on the team.
Trojan head coach Mick Flattery is Coach of the Year.
Rounding out the squad are Sarah Nacos, from Washington, and Mt. Pleasant’s Sarah Moffett and Kalynn Batey.
Leading with her signature drive-and-fly “Nicole Buch Scoop Shot,” the 5-foot-8 junior point guard was a season-long nightmare for opponents to guard. Play her too tight and she blasted by you. Give her a tad of space and she’d hit a trey, connecting on 40 percent of her 3-point shots. Buch was the leading scorer in the Southeast Conference and had a career-high 32 points in Fairfield’s bombardment of Burlington Notre Dame. A dribbling and passing magician, Buch tied for the SEC lead in assists. Buch earned All-State Second-Team honors from the IGCA, INA and IBCA. She scored Career Point 1,000 this year and will take dead aim at the all-time school scoring record next season.
Fritz was a rebounding machine, averaging 8.3 per contest. And standing only 5-foot-8, Fritz was forever out-boarding much taller players. She led the Southeast Conference in rebounding — a league with plenty of 6-foot-and-above aircraft carriers. “Sam grabs all those rebounds due to sheer hustle,” said teammate and All-GTNS backcourt mate Kylie Kurtz. Possessing nonstop energy, Fritz was a human torpedo on defense. A senior, Fritz became the second player in Fairfield 5-on-5 school history to register Career Point 1,000. She was lethal from outside, connecting on 40.9 percent of her 3-point shots. The IGCA and IBCA awarded Fritz All-State Second-Team honors.
Batey continued her great career for Mt. Pleasant with 10.2 points per game, 117 rebounds and a team-leading 60 assists in 2016-17. The junior guard will be a needed piece next season for a Panther team that loses six of its top eight scorers to graduation.
A 5-foot-8 senior guard, Kurtz was the designated defensive stopper for the 2016-17 Trojans. When Kurtz was told to stop a highly skilled opponent from scoring, Kurtz took the order literally: That opponent of Kurtz’s was lucky to catch a pass, never mind getting off a successful shot. Possessing an ultra-quick release, Kurtz was deadly from 3-point land. And the super-skilled lefty was equally adept at quick left-or-right drives to the bucket.
A 5-foot-8 senior, Lunsford was a unique post player: She tied for the conference lead in assists. All the while, she was a good shooter from anywhere. In addition, Lunsford was fearless while driving to the bucket. And Lunsford never backed off any defensive assignment, gleefully accepting her coach’s request to guard 6-2 or taller kids. A fierce competitor, Lunsford wholly embraced Flattery’s damn-the-torpedoes wire-to-wire, full-court defensive attack.
In a tough Southeast Conference, Sarah Moffett gave the Mt. Pleasant Panthers a solid inside presence once again in 2016-17. The senior was second on the team with 10.5 points per game and pulled down 178 rebounds, which was good for 15th in Class 3A.
Nacos led the Washington Demons with 289 points, averaging 13.1 points per game. She made 50 shots from beyond the 3-point circle and was 35-of-58 from the free-throw line. She was chosen for the second team Southeast Iowa Conference All-Conference and SEC Academic All-Conference. Nacos was a junior and will lead the Demons next season.
An on-the-court maestro as a basketball strategist, Flattery led the Trojans to a perfect 8-0 Southeast Conference record, and seven of those eight wins were by double-digit margins. Flattery completely bewildered foes start-to-finish with incessant switching of the Trojan defense. A master motivator, his kids played defense — any defense — with ferocity, skill and unceasing intensity. Playing a brutal nonconference schedule, Fairfield was 16-6 overall — while remaining state ranked for most of the season.