Hennens named captains; Sussner lauded
Coach Chad Johnston joked about it. “How is this going to work?” he laughed — then named sisters Morgan and Abby Hennen captains for the 2019-20 season.
Morgan Hennen will be a captain for the third straight year.
“We’ve never had a three-year captain before,” said Coach Johnston.
The Class A State Champions held their awards night Monday night and as they did all year ... they did it their way. The girls hosted a Pizza Night at the City Hall Bar & Grill and there was pizza for everyone.
The coach said Morgan Hennen and Lydia Sussner, “Were great captains.” Obviously, their efforts paid off with a state championship trophy.
Coincidentally, photographer Brian Jeremiason put together a visual presentation of the season that concluded with the background song, “We Are The Champions!”
“What a great season. It’s all about this group,” Coach Johnston said as he pointed to his team. “It’s about how they stuck together and picked each other up.”
The coach said this team had a, “Bullseye on their back and a lot of pressure. But they had one goal in mind and everyone had to do their part — on the court, in the classroom and in the community.”
He gave high praise to senior Lydia Sussner, who was named the Most Valuable Offensive Player.
Sussner scored 2,197 points and collected 1,261 rebounds and was near the top in just about every other offensive category.
She was all-state, on the all-tournament team and was named the Most Valuable Player in the area by the Marshall Independent.
The other awards included:
Most Improved: Abby Rost.
Hardest Worker: Lizzy Gillingham
Most Valuable Defensive Player: Morgan Kockelman.
Most Valuable Teammate: Abby Hennen.
The testament to this team wasn’t just on the court, but in the classroom. This team’s grade point average was 3.899.
They won a Gold Award from the state and seniors Sussner, Gillingham and Kockelman led the way with 3.8 averages.
“This was the highest GPA (Grade Point Average) we’ve had as a team,” said Coach Johnston.
“This team was doing a lot of great things in a lot of different ways,” the coach said.
The coach also took the time to single out another senior — Mariah Muhl.
“I admire you. It’s not easy to work hard and practice hard every day and not get much payback on the court. You are a leader and you’re a big part of this,” he told Muhl.
This team, which ended the year 30-1, losing only to South Dakota State Champion Brandon Valley, also did something else unique.
They made it a back-to-back championship after also winning the Class A State Volleyball Championship.
Putting it all into perspective and bringing down the house at the same time, Assistant Coach Al Panka (and former Ivanhoe girls’ coach) summed it up when he said, “This year, we won more games than I won in my whole career in Ivanhoe.”