Alexandria girls honor another talented group

A talented senior class was a big part of those recognized for Alexandria girls basketball after the Cardinals made their 11th state tournament this winter.

Alexandria sophomore Morgan Jones rises up for a shot against St. Cloud Tech on Jan. 21, 2021. Jones earned this team's Hardest Worker Award and figures to be a key piece to this program going forward in the next couple of years after giving the Cardinals big minutes off the bench this past winter on a senior-laden team. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

An Alexandria girls basketball season that ended in this program’s 11th trip to the state tournament meant a lot of hardware to hand out at the Cardinals’ season-ending banquet.

Seniors Mataya Hoelscher and Lilly Horn shared the team-voted Offensive Player of the Year Award. Hoelscher was voted as a Class 3A all-state player by coaches across Minnesota at that level.

Mataya Hoelscher

She was second on the team in overall field-goal percentage (52.6%) and three-point percentage (37.8%) on her way to leading the team in scoring with 254 points. Hoelscher added 34 steals and 52 total assists.


Horn was one of three players on the team to shoot better than 37% from three at 37.5%. She finished with 229 points while shooting a team-best 81.6% from the free-throw line and 50% overall from the field. Horn added 55 defensive rebounds (third best on the team) and 10 blocks.

Fellow seniors Alayna Strand and Myah Kremer shared the Cardinals’ Defensive Player of the Year Award. Strand led Alexandria with 37 steals, 122 total rebounds and 17 blocks. That’s in addition to her 139 points scored.

Kremer added 128 total points. She was second on the team with 57 assists and pulled down a team-best 40 offensive rebounds from the guard position.

Jaya Hatlestad

Senior Jaya Hatlestad earned the Playmaker Award for Alexandria. Hatlestad shot a team-high 53.9% overall, which included a 38.2% clip from three-point range. She finished with 234 points and a team-best 59 assists.

Senior forward Cate Bloom was the Most Improved Award winner. Bloom put up 107 points, 31 steals and was second on the team in offensive rebounds (31) and total rebounds (84).

Junior Lilly Thul and sophomore Morgan Jones are likely to be key pieces for this team going forward, and they added team-voted honors with Thul getting the Top 20 Award, and Jones earning the Hardest Worker Award. Jones shot 79.2% from the free-throw line (second best on the team) and finished with 99 total points. She was second on the team in defensive rebounds (55) and third in total rebounds (81) as a key piece off the bench for Alexandria.


Alexandria finished its season with a 17-5 overall record and a 12-2 mark in the Central Lakes Conference that was good for a league championship. That was a prelude to winning the Section 8-3A title for the second straight year.

Hatlestad, Hoelscher, Horn and Strand all earned All-CLC status, while Bloom and Kremer were honorable-mention selections in the CLC. Those six seniors were a huge part of helping the Cardinals to 62 wins and the two state tournaments over the past three seasons.

Alexandria was also good in the classroom where these athletes finished with a team GPA of 3.8.

CLC SCHOLAR ATHLETES (Seniors) - Jaya Hatlestad, Mataya Hoelscher, Myah Kremer, Alayna Strand, Cate Bloom

MSHSL SPOTLIGHT ON SCHOLARSHIP ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AWARD WINNERS - GOLD (GPA of 3.6-4.0): Kaia Empter, Michelle Neiland, Ellie Heydt, Greta Oldenkamp, Ella Sayre, Alayna Strand, Jaya Hatlestad, Mataya Hoelscher, Cate Bloom, Myah Kremer, Addison Boesl, Morgan Jones, Hannah Boraas, Ella Steussy; SILVER (GPA of 3.0-3.59): Lilly Thul

COACHES ASSOCIATION ACADEMIC ALL STATE (3.8 GPA seniors): Hatlestad, Hoelscher, Kremer; CLASS 3A ALL-STAR TEAM - Hoelscher

JV TEAM-VOTED HONORS - Offensive POY - Kaia Empter; Defensive POY - Ellie Heydt; Most Improved - Hadley Thul


Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
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