The 2010s may well go down as the Golden Era of Kenosha County high school girls basketball.
Consider this: The county career scoring record was broken four times in five seasons during the decade, by Shoreland Lutheran's Ellie Harmeyer in the 2014-15 season, Indian Trail's Madie Kaelber in the 2015-16 season, St. Joseph's Sidney Cooks in the 2016-17 season and Shoreland's Chelby Koker in the 2018-19 season.
Koker is the county's all-time leading scorer — girls or boys — and is the only player to surpass 2,000 career points with 2,449.
Add in Christian Life's Brie Tennyson, who ranks ninth, and five members of the 10-player Kenosha News All-Decade Girls Basketball Team — selected by Kenosha News sports editor Mike Johnson — rank in the top 10 all-time in county scoring.
All 10, in fact, scored at least 1,000 career points, and they each stand out in many areas other than scoring.
If you want to take awards into account, both Cooks and Koker were named first-team All-County four times, joining 2008 Tremper graduate Lindsey Sebetic as the only three girls players to receive that distinction. Additionally, Wilmot's Sarah Vozel, Harmeyer, Kaelber and St. Joseph's Jalah Harris each were named first-team All-County three times during the 2010s.
And if college-level talent is your thing, well, this All-Decade Team has that covered, too. Harmeyer (Belmont), Cooks (Michigan State and Mississippi State) and Koker (Northern Illinois) all reached the NCAA Division I level. Wilmot's Kari Clements (Minot State) played in Division II, Shoreland's Taylor Bahr (Wisconsin Lutheran College) and Kaelber (Carthage) played in Division III and Vozel and Harris played in the NAIA.
There can, however, be only one Player of the Decade. And while this team has several worthy candidates, the choice was pretty clear.
Nobody can match the accolades of Cooks, who was one of the top-rated players in the country at each grade level in high school. She became the first player in county history and just the third girls player in state history to be named a McDonald's All-American in 2017 and that season was also named the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Co-Miss Wisconsin and the Associated Press State Player of the Year.
Not to mention, Cooks led St. Joseph to a WIAA Division-4 state runner-up finish during the 2015-16 season, as the Lancers became just the second girls team in county history — joining Central (then Salem) in 1984 — to reach the WIAA State Tournament.
For those achievements, Cooks is the Player of the Decade.
Capsules on the first five players, in alphabetical order, are below. Capsules on the other five players will appear in Monday's edition of the News. Each player's senior year is in parentheses. Available statistics are provided and were compiled via records from the News and WisSports.net.
Taylor Bahr, Shoreland Lutheran (2010-11)
Honors: First-team All-County (2009-10 and 2010-11); first-team All-Midwest Classic Conference South Division (2009-10 and 2010-11); Midwest Classic Conference South Division MVP (2010-11); Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division-3 All-State honorable mention (2009-10); Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division-4 first-team All-State (2010-11); Associated Press All-State honorable mention (2010-11).
Lowdown: Bahr was a centerpiece of one of the most successful runs in county girls basketball history, as the Pacers went a sparkling 79-19 (.806 winning percentage) in her four seasons, including 10 postseason victories between Division-3 and Division-4. ... With Bahr, Shoreland made four regional finals and two sectional finals. ... Set the school's career scoring record on 2-24-11 against Whitefish Bay Dominican, breaking the 25-year-old mark held by her mom and coach, Holly Bahr. ... Finished with 1,174 career points, since surpassed at Shoreland by Ellie Harmeyer, Chelby Koker and Lauren Heathcock. ... Scored 20 or more points seven times, including career-high 24 vs. Elkhorn on 12-2-10, vs. Dominican on 2-24-11 and vs. St. Joseph in a regional semifinal on 3-11-11. ... In two sectional semifinal victories, scored 23 points vs. Dominican on 3-18-10 and 15 vs. Heritage Christian on 3-17-11. ... Named the Holy Rosary Sports Night Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year in 2011. ... Played four seasons of college basketball at NCAA Division III Wisconsin Lutheran College, securing first-team All-Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference honors as a senior in 2015-16. ... Is now an assistant with the Pacers under her mom.
Memorable: Bahr came up huge as a junior in a WIAA Division-3 sectional semifinal against Dominican on 3-18-10, drilling three 3-pointers and scoring a game-high 23 points — nearly half her team's total — in a 47-44 victory.
Quotable: "The record was set in 1986. It was about time that someone broke it." Holly Bahr, Taylor Bahr's mom and coach, on Taylor breaking Holly's 25-year-old school career scoring record.
Janelle Caira, Tremper (2016-17)
Honors: Second-team All-County (2013-14 and 2014-15); first-team All-County (2015-16 and 2016-17); third-team All-Southeast Conference (2013-14 and 2014-15); first-team All-Southeast Conference (2015-16 and 2016-17).
Lowdown: A steady four-year performer, Caira — a 5-foot-7 point guard — earned both All-County and All-Southeast Conference commendation in each of her four seasons with the Trojans. ... Burst onto the scene as a freshman, scoring 21 points against West Allis Hale in first game on 11-27-13. ... Scored 20 or more points 14 times and 30 or more once, with a career-high 33 against Racine Case on 1-6-17. ... Scored 1,070 career points, becoming third player in program history to surpass 1,000, joining Lindsey Sebetic and Nichole Drummond. ... Tremper went 56-36 (.643 winning percentage) during her time there. ... Also a girls soccer standout, Caira was named first-team All-SEC her junior and and senior years and Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association All-State honorable mention her senior year as a midfielder.
Memorable: In a 64-47 win at Bradford on 1-10-17, Caira scored 15 points. Her 3-pointer about midway through the second half propelled her into the program's 1,000-point club, joining Lindsey Sebetic and Nichole Drummond.
Quotable: "I've been fortunate to be around long enough to have three players score 1,000 points ... and it's special every time. It's a huge milestone for Janelle tonight, and it's neat to see that type of accomplishment happen within your program. Those players come around once in a while, and I'm happy and proud for Janelle. She deserves it." Tremper coach Rod Gross, on Caira reaching 1,000 career points.
Sidney Cooks, St. Joseph (2016-17)
Player of the Decade
Honors: First-team All-County (2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17); first-team All-Metro Classic Conference (2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17); Co-Metro Classic Conference Player of the Year (2015-16); Metro Classic Conference Player of the Year (2016-17); Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division-4 All-State honorable mention (2014-15); Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division-4 first-team All-State (2015-16 and 2016-17); Associated Press first-team All-State (2015-16 and 2016-17); USA Today first-team All-Wisconsin (2015-16 and 2016-17); Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Co-Miss Wisconsin (2016-17); Associated Press State Player of the Year (2016-17); USA Today Wisconsin Player of the Year (2016-17); Naismith Trophy High School Girls third-team All-American (2016-17); McDonald's All-American (2017).
Honors: If you were to compile a Mount Rushmore of Kenosha high school athletes for their dominance in one sport, the 6-foot-4 Cooks would certainly be in the conversation. ... Among many prep honors, joined Tremper great Lindsey Sebetic as a four-time first-team All-County selection — Shoreland's Chelby Koker later joined that list — and was the fourth freshman to be named first-team All-County in 2013-14. ... Became the first McDonald's All-American in county history — she scored nine points in the 2017 girls game — and just the third girls player in state history to secure the honor. ... Played in numerous showcase events and won a gold medal for Team USA at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship. ... Broke the girls county career scoring record with 1,920 points — since surpassed by Koker — and also grabbed over 1,000 career rebounds with 1,095. ... Scored 20 or more points 50 times, 30 or more 16 times and 40 or more twice, including a career-high 46 vs. Racine Case on 2-15-17. ... Ranked third in the state in scoring (27.6 points per game) and 13th in rebounding (13.3 per game) during senior season of 2016-17. ... Totaled 10 or more rebounds 64 times, including career-high 23 vs. Whitefish Bay Dominican on 2-3-17, and blocked 342 shots ... Recorded three triple-doubles, one each in freshman, sophomore and junior seasons. ... Despite facing almost exclusively box-and-one defenses, averaged 27.2 points in 10 postseason games between junior and senior seasons. ... Lancers went 83-19 (.814 winning percentage) during her four years, including a WIAA Division-4 state runner-up finish in 2015-16, joining Central (then Salem) in 1984 as the only girls teams in county history to reach the WIAA State Tournament. ... Coveted by just about every NCAA Division I school, chose to play in the Big Ten at Michigan State, where she averaged 9.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game as a freshman and averaged 9.5 points per game with a team-high 32 blocks as a sophomore. Transferred to Mississippi State after sophomore season and will be eligible to play in 2020-21 after redshirting in 2019-20. ... Helped Team USA win silver at World University Games in summer 2019.
Memorable: The Lancers fell just shy of winning the WIAA Division-4 state title during Cooks' junior season of 2015-16, but Cooks was brilliant in the postseason. She averaged 25.2 points over six games, totaling 21 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and six blocks in a 61-59 win over Marathon in the state semifinals on 3-10-16 and 30 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and a block in a 68-52 loss to Mineral Point in the state championship on 3-12-16.
Quotable: "She's a phenomenal ballplayer. We watched her, we broke down some film, and you can kind of tell what she's like as a ballplayer. But when you're standing courtside with her and you watch her do the things she does, so smooth and so easy. What an awesome ballplayer." Mineral Point coach Mitch Wainwright, on Cooks after Mineral Point's 68-52 win over St. Joseph in the WIAA Division-4 state title game.
Kari Clements, Wilmot (2013-14)
Honors: Second-team All-County (2011-12); first-team All-County (2012-13 and 2013-14); first-team All-Southern Lakes Conference (2012-13 and 2013-14); Southern Lakes Conference Player of the Year (2012-13 and 2013-14); Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division-2 All-State honorable mention (2012-13 and 2013-14); Associated Press All-State honorable mention (2013-14).
Lowdown: Clements was a force on both ends of the floor in coach Keiya Square's system, setting the program career record for assists (190) and steals (313) and becoming the fifth player in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau (1,115). ... Scored 20 or more points 15 times and 30 or more once, with a career-high 30 on 2-11-14 vs. Central. ... Set program single-season marks for 3-pointers made (58) and steals (108) during her junior season, then shattered the steals mark with 137 as a senior. ... Averaged an incredible 4.0 steals per game for her career, notching 12 two times. ... Scored 24 points vs. Stoughton in a regional final on 3-2-13 and 21 vs. Union Grove in a regional final on 3-8-14. ... Panthers went 57-18 (.760 winning percentage) in her three full varsity seasons, reaching three regional finals, a sectional semifinal and a sectional final. ... Played four seasons at NCAA Division II Minot State (N.D.), averaging 12.8 points per game as a senior in 2018-19, including a career-high 34 vs. Minnesota State on 1-4-19.
Memorable: How's this for a stat line? In a 58-40 win at Burlington on 1-17-14, Clements had 27 points, four rebounds, five assists, 12 steals and a block with no turnovers.
Quotable: "We just realized that it would be our last game if we would have lost, so we wanted to win and we wanted it more than they did." Kari Clements, after scoring a team-high 21 points in Wilmot's WIAA Division-2 regional final win over Union Grove on 3-8-14.
Ellie Harmeyer, Shoreland Lutheran (2014-15)
Honors: First-team All-County (2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15); first-team All-Metro Classic Conference (2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15); Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division-4 first-team All-State (2012-13 and 2014-15); Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division-4 All-State honorable mention (2013-14); Associated Press All-State honorable mention (2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15).
Lowdown: One of the most decorated players in county annals, girls or boys, Harmeyer became the 14th girls player in county history to garner first-team All-County honors in three seasons, and she also racked up first-team All-Metro Classic Conference honors and All-State commendation in her sophomore, junior and senior seasons. ... Finished career as the leading scorer in county history with 1,561 points, which now ranks fourth. ... Scored 20 or more points 35 times and 30 or more six times, including a career-high 36 against Greendale Martin Luther on 2-12-15. ... A dominant rebounder, snagged 765 boards in career. ... Recorded 10 or more rebounds 42 times and 20 or more three times, including career-high 24 vs. Indian Trail on 11-30-12. ... Also scored 30 points in that game, giving her a 30-20 performance in the second game of her sophomore season. ... Ranked 11th in the state in scoring and sixth in rebounding during her remarkable senior season of 2014-15, with averages of 21.1 points and 12.9 rebounds per game. ... Pacers went 66-33 (.667 winning percentage) during her career. ... Named Holy Rosary Sports Night Co-Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year in 2015. ... Went on to a spectacular four-year career at NCAA Division I Belmont, finishing her tenure as the Bruins' seventh-leading scorer and third-leading rebounder while helping them to four Ohio Valley Conference titles and four NCAA Tournament appearances. During senior year of 2019-20, was a semifinalist for the Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year Award and was named the Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the Division-IAAA Athletics Directors Association.
Memorable: Of all the spectacular games Harmeyer had during her senior season, arguably her best was a near triple-double in a 53-44 win at Racine Lutheran on 2-9-15. She tallied 31 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists.
Quotable: "Someone else might have become frustrated and stopped being a complete teammate, but that's just not Ellie. She's become even more of a leader for us by taking younger girls on all levels of our program under her wing. She's not only a leader in our program, but she's an outstanding student and a great Christian for our entire school." Shoreland coach Holly Bahr, on Harmeyer during her senior season of 2014-15 when the Pacers struggled with injuries and youth.
COLLECTION: All-Decade Boys Basketball Team, Moments of the Decade
With a new decade upon us (and time on his hands due to the COVID-19 pandemic), Kenosha News Sports Editor Mike Johnson figured there'd never be a better time to do Kenosha County All-Decade teams than right now.
Over the next weeks and months, he will be unveiling the top athletes to grace the fields, courts and gyms of Kenosha high school sports during the 2010s.
Here are the athletes who have been featured so far.