FARGO, N.D. (NDAPSSA)- Anna Holen used to feel starstruck by former North Dakota Miss Basketball award winners. Little did she know that one day her name would be added to the list.
The LaMoure-Litchville-Marion guard became the 37th Miss Basketball award winner Saturday at the Sanford Health Athletic Complex in Fargo. The award is presented annually to the top senior player in the state by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
Holen tallied 19 of 21 first-places votes and received 99 points based on a 5-3-1 voting scale. North Star’s Stephanie Miller garnered one first-place vote and 51 points, while Fargo Davies’ Raegan Linster received one first-place vote and 39 points.
“When I was little I remember seeing Mr. and Miss Basketball and thinking that was just the coolest thing,” said Holen, who reached 2,001 career points as a four-year starter for the Loboes. “It’s the highest award you could receive, and to win it is a dream come true.”
Holen received plenty of motivation to excel at an early age, thanks in large part to six older siblings who all caught the sports bug. But none larger than her older brother, Jake.
Jake Holen was a first team all-state selection and Mr. Basketball finalist in 2004 for LaMoure, before becoming the fourth-leading scorer in Jamestown College — now University of Jamestown — men’s basketball history.
“They were always putting a ball in our hands to practice dribbling, even when we were 2 years old,” said Anna Holen, also referring to her younger sister, Ellie, who is a sophomore at LaMoure High School. “I remember watching some of my brother Jake’s games at Jamestown College and seeing all the success he received from hard work. That inspired me to work hard every day.”
Holen guided L-L-M to 95 victories since making varsity as an eighth-grader, and led the Loboes to a Region 3 championship and a third-place finish at the state Class B tournament as a freshman in 2015. The 5-foot-8 Holen posted per-game averages of 20.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.1 steals this season, helping the Loboes to a 20-4 record in a region that included four teams ranked inside the state’s top seven.
“She’s a competitor. She’s one of those kids who wants to win, and when she’s out there she does whatever it takes,” said LaMoure-Litchville-Marion basketball coach Mitch Carlson. “The leadership she’s brought both on and off the court has been tremendous.
“I feel sort of humbled, because I got to coach one of the better basketball players in the state.”
Miss Basketball adds to an already impressive list of accolades Holen has achieved, including the NDHSAA Distinguished Student award and the Class B Senior Athlete of the Year in volleyball. Holen was the catalyst to the Loboes winning three straight state championships in volleyball, which is the sport she’s decided to continue playing collegiality.
Holen will follow brother Jake, and all six older siblings, by attending University of Jamestown and playing for the Jimmies.
“I feel like a lot of people think of me as a volleyball player, but I’m just as much a basketball player,” Holen said. “After five years I’ve learned so much, whether it’s about basketball or translating those experiences on the court to life. The journey has been nothing short of amazing.”
Miller, a 5-7 guard and Region 4 senior athlete of the year, averaged 21.2 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.2 steals this season for North Star. She helped the Bearcats to a pair of Region 4 championships in her career and has committed to Lake Region State College in Devils Lake.
Linster, a 5-foot-10 forward, led the Eagles to their first East Region championship in girls basketball this season, posting per-game averages of 16 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.1 steals. The East Region senior athlete of the year has committed to Southeastern University (Fla.) of the NAIA.
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