Basketball players

Oregon’s best female high school basketball players: Meet the top 5A Midwestern League stars

We take a conference-by-conference look at some of the best high school basketball players in the state. Here is the list of girls in the Midwestern League.

Every league has many outstanding players, and these lists are not intended to be exhaustive. Let us know which other players should be added to the roster.

McKenzie Hirsch (crater) photo by Taylor Balkom

Ashland

G Gabby Heiken, sr.

Heiken is Ashland’s leader on and off the court. She missed her junior season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, but is back in full swing. “She leads the team in points and rebounds,” head coach Antione Perry said of Heiken, who will play softball at Southern Oregon.

G Abbey Lambert, Jr.

Lambert is a junior point guard who can do multiple things at both ends of the court. “She gets better with the number of games we play,” Perry said. “She can drive to the basket and has a good outside shot.”

G Kendra Caruso, Jr.

Caruso is also back after suffering a sophomore ACL tear. She’s an energetic player who is all over the court for the Grizzlies. “Most of Kendra’s work is defensive, but she can be an offensive weapon with a nice three-point shot,” Perry said.

Crater

G McKenzie Hirsch, Sr., 5-11

Hirsch is a versatile guard who is averaging 13 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.5 steals per game. Earlier this season, the 5ft 11in senior was named Yreka Tournament Most Outstanding Player. “McKenzie is a great mid-range shooter,” head coach Scott Dippel said. “She is physical and a skilled guard in all areas.”

G Kayleigh Gugliotta, sr., 5-6

Another veteran Comets guard, Gugliotta is an elite defensive player. She is averaging nine points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 steals and was named Defensive Player of the Tournament in Yreka. “Kayleigh is a quick and athletic guard,” Dippel said.

G Addison Dippel, Fr., 5-7

Addison Dippel is posting 12 points, 2.2 assists and three steals per game as a rookie. Coach Dippel said she led the team in three-point shooting. “Addison is a high-percentage long-range shooter and a good defender,” he added.

Eagle’s Point

G Emilee Nielsen, sr.

Nielsen is a senior ball handler who spent three years as a college player for Eagle Point. “Emilee is a scrappy point guard with a nice outside shot,” head coach Marvin Denman said.

G Morgan Dole, Jr.

Dole is also a three-year college player who is a leader by example. “Morgan is a slick junior guard with a high basketball IQ,” Denman said. “She’s also a sound advocate.”

P Haley McCornack, sr.

A varsity player since her sophomore year, McCornack is Eagle Point’s main inside presence. “Haley is very nimble and quick for her size,” Denman said. “She’s a great rebounder for us.”

north elbow

W Adrianna Frank, sr., 5-9

Frank is an exceptional passer who can also score, rebound and defend. The 5-foot-9 senior is averaging 12.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game with a low turnover rate. “Adrianna sees the field as well as anyone I’ve coached and hands the ball to the open person,” head coach Mike Forrester said. “She’s probably the most selfless player I’ve ever coached and she really enjoys seeing her teammates succeed.”

G Trinity Baker, jr., 5-9

Baker is having a strong junior season as a starting goaltender for the Bulldogs. She has 14 points, 5.3 rebounds and two assists per game. “Trinity plays hard all the time,” Forrester said. “She’s a good ball handler who can get to the hoop or stop from anywhere on the court and score.”

P Kylee Lambert, sr., 5-8

Lambert isn’t the size of a typical 5A post, but the senior is holding her own in the paint. She’s averaging six points and four rebounds per game while shooting nearly 80 percent from the free throw line. “On a very small team, Kylee plays bigger than his size,” Forrester said. “She knows where to be when a shot goes up and how to put herself in the best position to get rebounds.”

Eugene of the North

F Natalie Hobbs, sr., 5-10

A college player for three years, Hobbs provides leadership to a young Highlanders team. She’s averaging eight points, six rebounds, three steals and one block per game while shooting 37% on three-pointers. “She’s one of the best leaders you’ll find,” head coach Lavonte Davis said. “She is also one of the best defensive players in the region.

P Emily Hardrath, so., 5-8

Hardrath fills the stat sheet as a sophomore averaging eight points, six rebounds, 3.5 steals and two blocks. Davis said she was a high IQ basketball player. “Emily has a very high ceiling,” Davis added. “She will be a great leader in the years to come in North Eugene.”

G Lana Nguyen, so., 5-5

A three-point specialist, Nguyen has made three or more three-pointers in multiple games this season. “Lana is a sophomore who is very crafty on the ball and is a knockdown shooter for us,” Davis said. “She’s also a good defender of the ball.”

Springfield

G Danaeja Romero-Ah Sam, so., 5-8

A second-year point guard who can do it all, Romero-Ah Sam is already among the best players in the Midwestern League. She is a 4.0 student who can hold all five positions. “Danaeja can score from the outside, from the rebound and from the post,” head coach Joe Williamson said.

F Kylie Rankins, jr., 5-9

Rankins is another returning college player and 4.0 student. She is a two-way star who can handle the ball as a striker. “Kylie averaged a double-double for us last season as a sophomore,” Williamson said.

F Alexi Morgan, jr., 5-10

Also a soccer player, Morgan is a junior forward with excellent athleticism. “She can really run on the ground and bounce back,” Williamson said. “She’s also a very good passer.”

G Kenzi Phillips, Sr., 5-7

Phillips was one of the Millers’ top scorers a season ago and is capable of big games. “She’s aggressive offensively and defensively, and she can really shoot all three,” Williamson said.

Thurston

F Quealey Carpenter, Sr., 5-9

Carpenter is an athletic senior forward who averages eight points per game. “Quealey is a multi-sport participant who also participates in track and field,” said head coach Steve Eastburn.

W Morgan Casley, senior, 5-7

Casley provides points for the Colts while taking on tough missions on defense. “Morgan is a winger who is a defensive specialist,” Eastburn said.

W Bailey Tovey, therefore, 5-10

A gifted 5-foot-10 sophomore, Tovey is capable of playing any position on the court. “Bailey is just a strong all-around athlete,” Eastburn said. “She also competes in volleyball, softball and track and field, and shines in all of them.”

G Riyen Kauffman, Sr., 5-6

Kauffman led the Colts with 13.5 points per game when she was injured in December. She returned to the lineup after winter break, giving Thurston an offensive boost. “Riyen is a tough competitor and she’s the team’s best shooter,” Eastburn said.

Willamette

G Brynn Smith, Fr., 5-11

The 5-foot-11 freshman phenom is averaging 18.3 points and can play in all positions on the court except center. “Although she could probably do that too,” head coach Danielle Bellando said. “Brynn shoots all three well and can get to the basket. I haven’t seen a freshman have a court vision like her. … I’m very excited about his high school and college basketball careers.

G Victoria Nguyen, f., 5-6

First-year point guard Nguyen was given the keys to Bellando’s offense and excelled. Nguyen is a terrific passer with great vision for the field for a ninth grader. “She’s smart and takes very good care of the ball,” Bellando said. “She works hard in defense and always seems to be in the right position. She energizes her team as expected of a leader.

F Harper Wagner, Fr., 5-11

At 5-foot-11 with quick feet, Wagner can guard everything from point guards to centers. “Harper is a terror in defense,” Bellando said. “She is long and strong. We plan to have her always keep the other team’s best player.

W Kayla Morris, so., 5-6

A solid sophomore, Morris was a go-to player as a rookie who now plays a more complementary role this winter. She can get to the basket and run in transition, and she’s an improving three-point shooter. “Last season we relied on Kayla for just about everything,” said Bellando, who also praised Morris’ rebounding ability. “It’s great to see her settle into the winger role and take some of the pressure off her as a playmaker.”

C Nancy Coffman, Jr., 6-0

Coffman is Willamette’s main interior presence. Bellando said the 6-foot junior is doing a great job of positioning himself on offense and learning to finish faster on the inside. “Her defense has improved and she has a great leadership role in our team,” Bellando said. “She also does a good job being physical inside on the defensive end.”