Standing at 6-foot-1, junior Katie Hildebrandt was a tower of strength for the McFarland High School girls basketball team.
The Spartans finished 9-14 overall and 9-9 in the Rock Valley Conference, but Hildebrandt was in top form throughout the 2019-20 season. She led the team with a 14.6 points per game scoring average and pulled down 9.6 rebounds per contest. Hildebrandt excelled at other parts of her game including a 75 percent mark from the free-throw line and a 31 percent success rate when shooting 3-point shots.
Thus, it was probably not a surprise Hildebrandt was named to the all-conference first team. She was the only Spartan to receive that honor. Her teammates, junior Lindsey Lonigro and senior Freya Gilbertson, were selected honorable mention.
Hildebrandt had double-figure scoring in 17 of the 23 games she played. She broke 20 points in three games, including a 28-point performance in McFarland’s 60-52 defeat at Stoughton in the WIAA Division 2 regional. In that game, she had 12 rebounds, three blocked shots and two assists as the Spartans just missed surviving in the postseason.
Hildebrandt put in 23 points in McFarland’s 80-78 win over Clinton, and she came up with 26 points in a 59-56 loss at Brodhead.
In three varsity years, Hildebrandt has 820 career points, meaning she will need to score just 180 points as a senior to shatter the 1,000-point mark. She also has 460 career rebounds, putting her on the cusp of reaching 500 boards.
Hildebrandt was joined on the first team by conference player of the year Paige Banks of Evansville, who scored 18.4 points per game to lead the Blue Devils to the conference championship with a record of 17-1. Whitewater junior Kacie Carollo was also a first-team selection after coming through with a league-leading 19.1 points per contest.
Other players on the first team included junior Olivia Tinder of Beloit Turner, senior Liz Kalk of Clinton, freshman Abbie Dix of Brodhead and senior Reagan Courier of Big Foot.
The 5-foot-7 Lonigro averaged 9.7 points per game, and ended up a double-figure scorer in 13 games. Her season-high 18 points came in a 59-43 home victory against Jefferson. Lonigro also averaged nearly four rebounds a game and handed out 2.5 assists per game.
Playing in her final varsity season, Gilbertson was a work horse on offense and defense with seven points and 5.6 rebounds per game.
She bagged 21 points and pulled down five rebounds in the 80-78 win over Clinton.
Gilbertson also showed her skill at the free-throw line by hitting 70 percent of her attempts.
Clinton led all Rock Valley Conference teams with a combined five players on the first team, second team and honorable mention. Evansville and Brodhead each had four.