MILWAUKEE (AP) - Notre Dame head basketball coach Sara Boyer-Rohde has been named the Associated Press coach of the year.
Arike Ogunbowale of Milwaukee Divine Savior Holy Angels was named player of the year.
"Even as a coach I don't know if it's going to be for Arike herself or if she's going to create something for a teammate, but I have a high degree of confidence that something good is about to happen," DSHA coach Scott Witt said. "That's a great feeling to have as a coach and her teammates sense it, too. When the going gets tough, we want the ball in Arike's hands."
Ogunbowale rewarded her teammates' and coach's trust in her with a fantastic season. The 5-foot-9 guard/forward averaged 20.4 points, 9.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 3.1 steals per game for the Dashers, work that earned her the Associated Press state player of the year honor.
Racine Prairie junior Gabrielle Ortiz and Baraboo senior Samantha Terry were also considered for the award, which was voted on by a panel of statewide media.
Consistency was the calling card of Ogunbowale, who led DSHA to a 21-4 mark and the Division 1 sectional semifinals. Her scoring average was built on 17 20-point performances. Her season high was 28 points in a regional final victory over Milwaukee King.
"She didn't have any 35-point games to help boost her average," Witt said. "She was grinding it out between 19 and 24 points virtually every game against special defenses - all the while leading us in field goal percentage and every conceivable statistical category."
Ogunbowale shot 53 percent overall and 34 percent from 3-point range.
Two of her finer moments of the regular season came against Greater Metro Conference rivals Menomonee Falls and Sussex Hamilton. Her 10-footer at the buzzer was the difference in a 51-49 victory over Falls Feb. 1. Against Hamilton Feb. 21, she banked in a 3 with 9 seconds left in regulation to force overtime and then won the game on a play similar to the one that clinched the Falls victory. This time, however, she passed the ball to Sami Leach for the game-winning layup with 1.2 seconds left.
"In games like that where we're down or we're tied, I want to take the last shot. I just love it and I know I can do it, and my teammates trust me so they'll give me the ball at crucial times like that," Ogunbowale said. "They'll give it to me if I ask for it and if they're open, I'll give it to them."
She capped her season with a 25-point effort in a loss to eventual state champion Milwaukee Riverside in its closest tournament game.
Since then the honors have piled up. In addition to earning a unanimous first-team selection to the Associated Press team, Ogunbowale was a unanimous pick to the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division 1 all-state team and the Gatorade state player of the year.
The scholarship offers are piling up, too. In addition to Wisconsin and Marquette, she has offers from nine other high-major programs with the prospect of more coming after she hits the club ball circuit this spring and summer.
That's what she's preparing for now.
"I'm training every day," she said. "I'm running a lot too, so I'm keeping up my stamina because I'm going to need endurance for AAU. You have to play a lot of games in a day. I'm just getting sharper with my handles and my defense, more agility work and speed (work) and just trying to get better."
Boyer-Rohde was selected as the AP coach of the year. Also nominated were Milwaukee Riverside's Donald Nelson and Wisconsin Rapids Assumption's Joe Birkhauser.
The Tritons went 22-6 and won their first WIAA Division 2 state title since 2001 with a 42-33 win over New Berlin Eisenhower in the championship game.
Notre Dame started 5-4 but appeared to find its stride by the middle of the season. It ended its championship run on an eight-game winning streak.
"It's exciting," said Boyer-Rohde, a former assistant coach under Kevin Borseth at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. "I do have to give a lot of credit to all of my other coaches, too. I couldn't just do it by myself. I really thought we had a talented group of girls. I think initially what was holding us back was our team chemistry and everyone knowing their roles. As the year went on, everyone got a lot better with that."
Boyer-Rohde has gone 43-12 in her first two seasons with the Tritons and led them to the state tournament both times.
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