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Pender And Wynot Students Among WSC Women's Basketball Signees

Posted: 13 November, 2013

WAYNE - Wayne State College head women’s basketball coach Chris Kielsmeier announced today the signings of five high school seniors to national letters of intent or scholarship offers to attend Wayne State College and play basketball for the Wildcats in the 2014-15 season.  Signing during the NCAA early period are Paige Ballinger of Pender, Jasmin Bretoi of Lino Lakes, Minnesota, Kacie O’Connor from Sundance, Wyoming, Taylor Reiner of Highlands Ranch, Colorado and Maggie Schulte from Wynot.
“We feel that this class will bring a lot to our program not only as players but as people as all of them are outstanding academically,” said sixth-year Wildcat head coach Chris Kielsmeier.  “It’s a unique group with five student athletes from four states and two of them from within 45 minutes of Wayne.  They are all versatile, hard-working players that know how to win.”
Paige Ballinger is a 6-1 forward/center from Pender High School and a three-year starter for the Pendragons.  She earned Class D-1 First Team All-State honors last season as a junior after averaging 15.6 points and 9.6 rebounds a game helping Pender to a 25-3 record and the Class D-1 state title.  Ballinger has helped Pender to a 70-14 record during her three years with three trips to the state tournament.  She is a two-time All-East Husker Conference selection in basketball and was named Class D Player of the Year and All-State captain by HuskerlandPreps.com.  Ballinger is also a two-time All-East Husker Conference selection in volleyball and is a three year state qualifier in track and field that includes a fourth place finish in the shot put last spring. 
“Paige is a physical post player that will really mix it up on both ends of the floor,” remarked Kielsmeier.  “She is an aggressive rebounder and play maker that will only get better as she continues to work hard on her game.  A state champion that will do whatever it takes to win.”
Jasmin Bretoi is a 5-9 guard from Centennial High School in Circle Pines, Minnesota where she is a basketball and tennis standout.  Last season, she set the school’s 3-point field goal percentage record making 48 percent behind the arc while helping her team win the Northwest Suburban Conference title.  In tennis, Bretoi is a three-time All-Conference selection.
“Jasmin has an extremely quick release and wants the ball and has the confidence to score from anywhere on the court,” said Kielsmeier.  “I think every time was called her she was in the gym shooting.  Her work ethic will allow her to get better as a fast pace.”
Kacie O’Connor is 5-10 forward from Sundance High School in Wyoming.  O’Connor was named the Casper Star-Tribune Small School Player of the Year last year after averaging 22.1 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, helping Sundance High School reach the Wyoming Class 2A State Tournament for the first time in 11 years.  She is a two-time All Powder River Conference selection in basketball and also excels in track and field and golf at Sundance High School, where she has scored 1,198 points entering her senior season. This fall in golf, O’Connor was named the Wyoming Class 2A Player of the Year after winning the individual title with rounds of 90 and 82 while helping her team to a second place finish.  In the classroom, O’Connor has earned Academic All-State honors in basketball, golf and track and field.
“Kacie is a great all-around athlete,” stated Kielsmeier. “We will play her as a shooting guard but she handles the ball great and can think like a point guard.  She can create in a variety of ways going to the basket and we think she will be an impact player on both ends of the floor.”
Taylor Reiner is a 6-3 center from Thunder Ridge High School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.  She is a two year starter and four year letter winner in basketball and has played in the Colorado Class 5A State Tournament the last three years.  Reiner has been named to numerous All-Star Teams and has been selected to play in the Battle of the Rockies All-Star Game the last three seasons.
“Taylor is a physical post player that has a huge upside with her game,” commented Kielsmeier.  “She plays really hard and will bring a physical presence to the post position on both ends of the floor.  She has a really good mid-range game but can also step out and shoot the 3.”
Maggie Schulte is a 6-0 guard/forward from Wynot High School.  She is a three-time Class D-2 First Team All-State selection and has helped the Blue Devils win three straight Class D-2 state titles during her high school career, already surpassing the 1,000 point mark entering her senior season.  Last year, Schulte averaged 13.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game helping Wynot to a 25-4 record.  During her three years, she has helped Wynot to a 76-9 record.               

“Maggie is a three-time state champion that will do whatever is needed for her team to win,” said Kielsmeier.  “She is a very smart player than really understands the game.  We will play her at the three, but can also play her inside.  Maggie is a great shooter but is always trying to get her teammates involved when she can.”

Wayne State College is an NCAA Division II school located in Wayne, Nebraska and competes in the 16-team Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.  The Wildcats were 17-10 last season, returning all five starters, and have advanced to the NCAA Division II National Tournament four of the last six seasons.  WSC is off to a 1-0 start this season and will play at Chadron State Thursday evening at 7 p.m. and South Dakota School of Mines Saturday at 5 p.m.

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