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2014 All-Nebraska girls basketball

BRYNN ANDERSON/THE WORLD-HERALD

Fremont's Jessica Shepard set the Class A scoring record and a school record for rebounding average (14.8) at Fremont.

Shepard 'everything you could hope for'

Captain Jessica Shepard makes the All-Nebraska team for a third straight year

By Mike Patterson / World-Herald staff writer

Her school changed, her performance did not.

In fact, Fremont's Jessica Shepard got even better.

For the third straight year, the 6-foot-3 junior forward earns a spot on The World-Herald All-Nebraska team. It's the second year in a row that Shepard, who led the state in scoring with a Class A-record 30-point average, is named the honorary captain.

The Nebraska recruit, who helped Lincoln Southeast win the Class A title in 2013, transferred to Fremont when her father, Mark, was named the superintendent of the Fremont Public Schools.

"Since her arrival, she's been everything you could hope for," Tigers coach Tony Weinandt said.

Shepard is joined on the first team by seniors McKenzie Brown of Grand Island Northwest and Chatrice White of Shelby-Rising City and juniors Kianna Ibis of Omaha Benson and Maddie Simon of Lincoln Pius X. Shepard, Ibis and Brown are repeat first-team selections.

The second team consists of Jaycee Bradley of Norfolk, Kaylee Jensen of Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family, Brooke Kissinger of Minden, Kate Liveringhouse of Bellevue West and Haley Thiele of Wahoo Neumann.

On the third team are Allison Arens of Crofton, Mary Janovich of Gretna, Jamie Kissinger of Minden, Kenzie Kulm of Platteview and Rachelle Tucker of Pierce.

"Not only is she our best player, she's our hardest worker. She also has a great perspective. She's a good student and a good athlete.''
— Fremont coach Tony Weinandt on Husker commit Jessica Shepard

All-state teams are based on observations of World-Herald sportswriters and nominations by coaches. All schools were emailed nomination forms.

Besides breaking the Class A season scoring records, Shepard set Fremont's school record for rebounding average (14.8). She led the Tigers to a 22-4 mark and its second Class A state tournament berth since 1985.

"Not only is she our best player, she's our hardest worker,'' Weinandt said. "She also has a great perspective. She's a good student and a good athlete.''

Fremont won its first four games before losing to Kansas power Bishop Miege 54-53. Shepard scored 40 points that game and later went for a career- and school-record 43 on Lincoln East in a 65-40 win.

Weinandt said he came to appreciate Shepard's skill more after she joined the Tigers.

"When I saw her play twice a year, I didn't really see all of the things she was doing," he said. "When you see it 26 times throughout the season, you really see what makes her special."

Ibis, a 6-foot junior, averaged 20.2 points and 15.2 rebounds for the Bunnies. She helped Benson to a 26-2 record and the school's first Class A girls championship.

Her total of 426 rebounds this season is an all-class state record.

"She brings so much positivity to our program," Bunnies coach Jon Perone said. "She's great with her teammates and really locked in once she steps on that court."

Ibis didn't put up huge scoring numbers at state, averaging 12 points per game. But her shot-blocking ability and rebounding were key factors in Benson's tourney run that was capped by a 47-43 victory over Bellevue West in the final.

"Defensively, she changed that game for us," Perone said.

Brown also is a complete player, as evidenced by her performance at state. She scored a school-record 36 points in the Class B final as Northwest defeated Lincoln Pius X 66-58.

It's her defense, Vikings coach Mike Herzberg said, that helps set her apart from other top scorers.

"A lot of great offensive players rest on defense," he said. "But she's equally good on defense and offense, and our other players pick up on that."

Brown, a University of Nebraska at Kearney recruit who averaged 23.1 points, lit it up at the tournament as the Vikings defended their state title. She scored 25 in the first round against Sidney and 20 in the semifinals against Norris.

"She's pretty special,'' Herzberg said. "Her leadership and her work ethic are second to none.''

Simon, a Nebraska recruit, averaged 19.8 points for the Thunderbolts. She helped the team to a 21-3 mark as the Thunderbolts came within one victory of their third state title and first since 1992.

"She led our team in virtually every category," Pius coach Bill Rice said. "She's a player who did whatever it took to win, but she's also very unselfish."

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Q&As with each member of the 2014 All-Nebraska basketball teams:

The 6-foot-2 junior presented major matchup problems for opposing teams. She's a tall guard who can hit from the outside or drive to the basket.

"She really worked hard on her 3-point shooting coming into this season," Rice said. "It was a part of her game she needed to improve, and all that work made her an even more versatile player."

While her team came up just short of the state tournament, White excelled once again for Class C-2 Shelby-Rising City. The 6-foot-3 senior averaged 24.9 points and 13.3 rebounds for the Huskies, who lost to Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family in the district final.

She also went over the 2,000-point mark in her career, one of only 11 players to reach that milestone.

"Chatrice has been scoring like that for four straight years," Shelby coach Travis Weber said. "And she's made steady improvement each season because her numbers keep going up."

White, an Illinois recruit, has been selected to play in the McDonald's All-American game Wednesday night in Chicago.

"I think if you look at her career here, it's a blueprint for any player who wants to be a solid college recruit," Weber said. "Chatrice has put in a lot of hard work, and I don't have any doubt she'll be a contributor at Illinois."

Contact the writer:

402-444-1350, mike.patterson@owh.com; twitter.com/mpattersonOWH

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ALL-NEBRASKA FIRST TEAM

Jessica Shepard: Fremont, 6-3, Jr., 30.0 (Captain)

McKenzie Brown, Grand Island Northwest, 5-10, Sr., 23.1

Kianna Ibis, Omaha Benson, 6-0, Jr., 20.2

Maddie Simon, Lincoln Pius X, 6-2, Jr., 19.8

Chatrice White, Shelby-Rising City, 6-3, Sr., 24.9

 

ALL-NEBRASKA SECOND TEAM

Jaycee Bradley, Norfolk, 5-10, Jr., 18.9

Kaylee Jensen, Humphrey/Lindsay HF, 6-4, Sr., 21.3

Brooke Kissinger, Minden, 5-8, Sr., 19.4

Kate Liveringhouse, Bellevue West, 6-1, Sr., 16.9

Haley Thiele, Wahoo Neumann, 5-8, Jr., 20.5

 

ALL-NEBRASKA THIRD TEAM

Allison Arens, Crofton, 5-9, Jr., 16.0

Mary Janovich, Gretna, 5-7, Sr., 15.0

Jamie Kissinger, Minden, 5-9, Sr., 14.8

Kenzie Kulm, Platteview, 5-7, Jr., 16.7

Rachelle Tucker, Pierce, 6-2, Jr., 18.5


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