Jamestown's premier volleyball family has an all-state basketball player.
Grace Hegerle was the West Region's leading scorer in 2019-20 and was rewarded Tuesday by the state's media. The Jamestown High School junior was voted to the Class A girls basketball all-state second team by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, becoming the 11th female Blue Jay to be selected all-state since the award's inception in 1976.
The 5-foot-10 forward tossed up per-game averages of 17.1 points and 5.4 rebounds to go along with 20 blocked shots. Hegerle was coming off all-state second-team volleyball honors earned last fall while being directed by her mother, JHS volleyball coach Sara Hegerle.
The first topic discussed by the senior-to-be was her basketball teammates. The Blue Jays finished the year at 9-13 overall with freshman guard Ella Falk also leading the West in assists with 98 in 22 games.
"Our passing and ball movement around the court really helped a lot," Hegerle said of her scoring. "Ella (led) the WDA in assists, so that kinda opens things up for the posts down low and in the lane."
Hegerle went from a 43% shooter as a sophomore starter in JHS coach Andy Skunberg's lineup to a 50% scorer (141 of 280) as a junior. She scored 16 points out of the gate in Jamestown's 17-point, season-opening victory over Valley City, and would later score a career-high 30 markers in Jamestown's final regular-season game played last month at Mandan.
Hegerle converted an efficient 11 of 16 from the field and 7 of 10 from the foul line en route to 30.
"She had some success early and I think that just kinda gave her confidence," Skunberg said. "She went out every night and was pretty consistent for us. It was fun to watch her grow from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.
"She played a lot more aggressive this year," the coach added. "She saw more looks and had more touches and she really took advantage of it."
Hegerle's length and athleticism, as well as her ability to put the basketball on the floor when needed, translated into a wide range of high percentage shots, but she also proved she could step outside and knock down the deep ball, which was a sticking point for Hegerle as a sophomore.
The all-stater converted just 3 of 24 attempts from 3-point range in 2018-19 and converted 11 of 23 3-pointers this past winter.
"That kind of frustrated me, so I put in a lot of work getting an outside shot so I was more of a range player, too," Hegerle said of her past outside shooting struggles. "I'm mostly in the paint so I don't get a lot of chances to shoot on the outside, but if I'm open I'll take it."
The following five athletes were selected to the girls Class A all-state first team: Fargo Shanley's Reile Payne, Bismarck Legacy's Alexis Dressler, Mandan's Lakyn Darras, Devils Lake's Jes Mertens and Fargo Davies' Ryleigh Wacha. Payne, the 2020 Miss Basketball award winner, and Dressler were unanimous selections.
Hegerle's team-first approach is ingrained into her daily life with mom and dad -- University of Jamestown women's volleyball coach Jon Hegerle -- at home.
"The key things we always focus on is being a good teammate and putting in a great effort," Jon said. "Grace sure really loved her teammates and I think that's one of the reasons why she probably did so well this year is because of her teammates. I'm proud of Grace."
Nerves aside, Sara Hegerle said it's enjoyable to take a step back from coaching duties to be a mom during the basketball season.
"I can just watch and not have to worry about telling her what she's doing wrong," Sara said. "I love watching her play basketball; I love being a fan."
Hegerle is the first Blue Jay to be named all-state in girls basketball since Paige Peterson brought home the Miss Basketball award in 2014. Jamestown's Kyra Dewald earned first-team honors in 2013 before enjoying a successful college basketball career with her hometown Jimmies.
"I went to their games and watched them play when I was younger," Hegerle said. "I always looked up to them and wanted to be like them."
With a future college volleyball and/or basketball decision to make down the road, Hegerle said she simply plans on making the most of her upcoming senior season.
"I've put some thought into it," Hegerle said. "I just want to keep my options open for my senior year and just enjoy both sports."
First team numbers
-- Reile Payne, 5-10 senior guard, Fargo Shanley: 20.4 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 3.5 apg, 6.2 spg.
-- Alexis Dressler, 6-0 senior guard/forward, Bismarck Legacy: 12.9 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 3.7 apg, 1.1 spg.
-- Jes Mertens, 5-9 senior guard/forward, Devils Lake: 12.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 5.1 spg, 3.8 apg.
-- Lakyn Darras, 6-0 senior forward, Mandan: 17.1 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 3.2 apg, 2.2 spg.
-- Ryleigh Wacha, 5-10 junior guard, Fargo Davies: 14.7 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 3.8 apg, 2 spg, 1.6 bpg.
Class A Girls Basketball
Reile Payne, Fargo Shanley (unanimous); Alexis Dressler, Bismarck Legacy (unanimous); Lakyn Darras, Mandan; Jes Mertens, Devils Lake; Ryleigh Wacha, Fargo Davies.
Grace Hegerle, Jamestown; Allie Nelson, Minot; McKenna Becher, West Fargo; Julia Fitterer, Bismarck Century; Peyton Selle, Dickinson.
Jamestown High School Girls Basketball All-State Players
Kathy Fischer, 1976.
Morgan Dale, 2008-09 & '07-08.
Kyra Dewald, 2012-13.
Paige Peterson, 2013-14.
Cindy Slusher, 1983.
Nadine Gums, 1996.
Trisha Steinborn, 1999.
Jamie Goehner, 2001.
Amber Ramlo, 2007-08.
Kara Nygaard, 2009-10.
Grace Hegerle, 2019-20.