By: John Naughton, firstname.lastname@example.org
Elle Ruffridge and Hannah Fuller finished their high school basketball careers by winning state championships.
Now they’re together in the same backcourt as members of the Des Moines Register’s All-Iowa girls’ basketball Elite team.
Ruffridge not only led Pocahontas Area to a second consecutive title, she also set state career records in points (2,951), assists (802) and 3-pointers (466).
The Missouri State recruit was named Miss Iowa Basketball. She averaged 30 points a game. Ruffridge was the Elite team’s only repeat selection.
Fuller brought West Des Moines Valley its first girls’ basketball state championship and was named captain of the Class 5A all-tournament team. She’s a Drake recruit who averaged 13.6 points a game.
The two guards are joined on the Elite squad by center Taryn Knuth of Johnston and forwards Grace Berg of Indianola and Ashley Joens of Iowa City High.
Knuth is a senior who was one of the most dominant players on the court. At 6-foot-4, she used her size to average nearly 23 points and 14 rebounds, both tops in Class 5A. She’ll play volleyball at Florida State.
Berg and Joens — two of the nation’s top juniors — both demonstrated skills in scoring and rebounding. Berg will attend Missouri and Joens will play at Iowa State.
This season’s state champs were Valley in 5A, North Scott of Eldridge in 4A, Pocahontas Area in 3A, Western Christian of Hull in 2A and Springville in 1A. All five winners earned at least one All-Iowa honor.
Valley’s Fuller is joined by fellow guard Zoe Young, a sophomore.
North Scott’s Karli Rucker, a Northern Iowa recruit, helped her school win its first girls’ basketball state championship. She was the 4A captain of the all-tournament team.
Western Christian’s Ashtyn Veerbeek, who was a Register All-Iowa volleyball player, was named the 2A all-tournament captain. She plans to play basketball at Nebraska.
Springville won a repeat state championship. The school placed two athletes on the Register’s 1A first team, Mikayla Nachazel and Rylee Menster.
The All-Iowa players will be honored at the Register’s All Iowa Sports Awards June 24 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Athletes receive a free ticket, and the schools will be contacted with RSVP information. General admission tickets to the event, which features Shaquille O’Neal, are on sale at sportsawards.desmoinesregister.com.
Forward | Indianola | Junior
Led Indianola to its best five-player basketball season: A 24-1 record, a No. 1 ranking and a semifinal finish at the state tournament. Ranked third in 5A scoring with 20.4 points a game and fourth in rebounding at 10.0. All-tournament pick. Missouri recruit. Honorable mention pick last year. One of the Iowa Eight, a Register preseason watch list.