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Lofstrom tabbed Sentinel All-Area basketball captain

TOP OF HER GAME — North Union post player Chloe Lofstrom elevates and shoots a jumper over a West Hancock defender during regular-season Iowa prep basketball action in Armstrong. Lofstrom has been selected as the 2020 Sentinel All-Area girls basketball player of the year. (Photo by Greg Abel)

ARMSTRONG — Three consecutive Sentinel All-Area girls basketball player of the year awards.

After sharing the elite annual status with 2019 Blue Earth Area High School graduate and current Gustavus Adolphus College freshman standout Caitlin Rorman for the past two seasons, North Union senior post player Chloe Lofstrom proved the unanimous choice for the outright honor in 2020.

The 6-foot Lofstrom continued the theme of “good things happen in 3s” by being selected for the third time to an Iowa all-state team during her fourth and final varsity campaign. Lofstrom earned first-team Class 2A accolades this winter after garnering second-team status in 2018 and third-team recognition in 2019.

The Morningside College basketball commit also merited a third straight spot on the all-Top of Iowa Conference West Division first team after leading the Warriors in both scoring and rebounding for a third season in a row.

The hard-working Lofstrom produced 456 points for an area-best 19.8 average to complement her area-leading 259 rebounds (11.3 rpg) to pace a double-double performance every time she stepped onto the hardwood court in 2019-20.

The future elementary education major connected on 162 of 302 field goals for 53.6 percent, in addition to hitting 128 of 197 free throws for 65.0 percent. Lofstrom also distributed 30 assists, blocked a team-best 15 shots and pocketed 15 steals to close out a brilliant prep basketball career.

While Lofstrom’s high school playing days ended during a regional semifinal loss to Osage on Feb. 21, she already started preparing for her collegiate career on the very next day.

“My (future) head coach sent me a workout sheet, so I’ve continued going to the gym to work on my shooting and conditioning,” Lofstrom said in reference to Morningside mentor Jamie Sale. “My dad (Dave) helps by coming along to the gym and rebounds for me, and I get his input, so I really appreciate that.”

Lofstrom said Sale and the Morningside coaching staff will have her play the 4-spot next season rather than her traditional center position.

“I’ll play power forward at Morningside, although the coaches there said if they see a mismatch at times in a game that they’ll post me up,” said Lofstrom.

In addition to guiding the Warriors to a 15-8 overall record this season and taking classes, Lofstrom managed to find time to help coach her brother Aiden’s eighth-grade basketball team.

“I helped coach them three weekends and they won three tournaments, so I’m 100 percent,” said Chloe Lofstrom. “It (coaching) definitely makes me look at the game from a different perspective than when I’m playing.”

In three months, Lofstrom will get another new perspective when she begins open gym sessions with her future Morningside teammates in Sioux City, Iowa.

“It was sad for high school basketball to end last month, but I’m ready to go to college and start a new chapter in my life,” said Lofstrom. “I’ll never forget the experience of playing in the state tournament my sophomore season.

“It was great playing with that group of seniors and being the first North Union basketball team to go to state.”

Here’s an inside glance at the rest of the 2020 Sentinel All-Area girls basketball honorees.

Jayme Balcom (Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman/Martin Luther) — The all-Valley Conference choice topped the Jaguars in four major statistical categories to close out her senior campaign.

The 5-7 point guard produced the purple-and-black attack’s best scoring clip (9.4 point per game), distributed a team-high 86 assists, pocketed the lineup’s No. 1 steal total (84) and made the Jaguars’ most 3-pointers (34).

The hard-working Balcom also grabbed 5.1 rebounds per outing, made 94 of 319 field goals overall and sank 42 of 93 free throws.

Cadence Becker (Fairmont) — The hard-working, undersized post player topped a balanced Cardinals’ lineup by scoring 258 points and garnering 139 rebounds for respective seasonal averages of 9.9 and 5.3 in 2019-20.

The 5-foot-8 sophomore connected on 92 of 194 2-pointers for 47.4 percent and 74 of 122 free throws for 60.7 percent to complement pocketing 44 steals and distributing 39 assists.

Becker played an integral role in Fairmont compiling a winning record of 15-11 and an appearance in the Section 2AA, South Sub-Section semifinals this season.

Arika Howard (Blue Earth Area) — The 5-6 guard/forward paced the Bucs with an 8.6-point scoring average and pulled down the team’s top total of rebounds (132) this winter.

The junior playmaker also distributed a second-best team total of 52 assists and pocketed Blue Earth Area’s No. 2 steal mark of 28 in 2019-20.

Howard made 66 of 187 shots from 2-point range for 35.3 percent, sank 3 of 19 attempts from 3-point distance and connected on a Bucs’ high of 66 free throws in 109 attempts for an accuracy clip of 60.6 percent.

Sami Meyer (Martin County West) — The all-Valley Conference selection delivered a team-best 259 points en route to an 11.3 average to close out her senior prep hardwood campaign.

The Mavericks’ 5-10 center sank 105 of 217 shots from 2-point range for 48 percent and added a 43-for-70 performance from the free throw line for 61 percent.

Meyer pulled down a second-best team total of 133 rebounds and pocketed 36 steals to round out her stellar high school basketball career.

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