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Marian Catholic's Megan Walsh (left) defends Whitney Young's Linnae Harper (right) during their Class 4A semifinal match at Redbird Arena Friday, March 1, 2013, in Normal. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Young’s Linnae Harper has been a winner her entire career. Her final high school game in a Dolphins’ uniform was no different.
The Sun-Times Player of the Year toasted Huntley for 27 points on 12-for-18 shooting and collected eight rebounds, three assists and three steals in Young’s 60-27 victory in the Class 4A third-place game last weekend at Redbird Arena.
Harper is joined on the 2012-2013 Chicago Sun-Times All-State Girls Basketball Team by Edwardsville’s Emmonnie Henderson, Rolling Meadows’ Jackie Kemph, Marist’s JeTaun Rouse and Wheaton Warrenville South’s Meghan Waldron.
Nothing Harper did ever surprised Young coach Corry Irvin.
“I think the best thing Linnae brings is her ability to figure out how to win games,” Irvin said. “She’s a winner. She’s won at every level you can possibly win at on the high school level.
“You can’t describe her or put a label on her ability,” the coach added. “She does a lot of little things, but it doesn’t compare to actually knowing how to get things done.”
And what about finding the next Harper?
“I’ll find one,” Irvin said. “We’ve got some young kids. But they’ll be a little bit different. They won’t be Linnae.”
The second team is led by 5-10 junior sharpshooter Ashton Millender of state champion Marian Catholic. Millender shot 51 percent from the field, 54 percent from three-point range and 76 percent from the free-throw line while averaging 15 points per game.
Joining Millender on the second team is 6-2 Bloom scoring machine Bria Gaines, 6-3 Illinois recruit Jacqui Grant of Maine South, junior Jade Owens of Fenwick and Benet’s do-it-all Christen Prasse.
Leading the Class 3A team is 6-foot forward Jasmine Lumpkin of Joliet Catholic. Lumpkin, one of the top juniors in the country, averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds per game to lead the Angels to the sectional semifinals.
Joining Lumpkin on the Class 3A first team is Morton’s 6-2 senior Sarah Livingston, the unbeatable Quincy Notre Dame duo of Jordan Frericks and Kassidy Gengenbacher, and high-scoring Dana Gettis of Hillcrest.
The second team is led by 5-5 sophomore Khadaizha Sanders of Bishop McNamara. Sanders scored 39 points in the sectional semifinal against Joliet Catholic after averaging 19 points and adding 107 steals and 87 assists during the regular season.
Joining Sanders on the second team are high-scoring junior Martha Burse of Kankakee, Justice Collins of Springfield Southeast, freshman sensation Nicole Ekhomu of Joliet Catholic and Champaign Centennial’s Kaitlynn Martinez.
The Class 2A team is led by 5-10 senior Shay Harre of state champion Nashville. Harre scored 19 points and collected six rebounds in Nashville’s 50-29 victory over Walther Lutheran in the state semifinals. She is committed to Southern Illinois to play softball.
Joining Harre on the 2A team is 5-6 junior guard and Indiana recruit Tyra Buss of Mt. Carmel, Ill.., El Paso-Gridley junior Rebekah Ehresman, junior guard Randa Harshbarger of St. Thomas More and Michigan recruit Paige Rakers of Carlyle.
Freeport Aquin’s Sophie Brunner heads the Class 1A team. The Arizona State recruit averaged nearly 16 points, nine rebounds, four steals and two assists per game and had 33 points and 12 rebounds in the 1A championship game to lead the Bulldogs to back-to-back state titles.
Rounding out the Class 1A All-State team is 6-1 senior Micah Jones of Cowden-Herrick/Beecher City, Taylor McClintock of Illini Bluffs, junior Celina VanHyfte of Annawan and Allison Webb of Goreville.