Highland: Sports

Metro-east has several ties to NCAA Tournament, plus some strong collegiate performances

Her basketball travels have taken her all over the country, but former Highland High star Katie Hempen’s decision to transfer to Arizona State continues to pay dividends.

Hempen, who began her college career at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, is the second-leading scorer for ninth-ranked Arizona State (27-5), averaging 11.5 points with a school-record 68 3-pointers for the Sun Devils. Her 79 assists also rank second on the team, which has the second-highest win total in ASU women’s basketball history and is headed to the NCAA Women’s Tournament.

“She works as much as on her shooting as anybody on our team and man, she’s come up huge for us all season long,” Arizona State coach Charli Turner Thorne told the Associated Press recently after Hempen scored a team-leading 15 points in a 59-46 win over Colorado.

The Sun Devils will face Ohio on Saturday in their first-round NCAA Tournament game in Tempe, Ariz.

•  Also headed to the women’s NCAA Tournament is former Edwardsville standout

Kortney Dunbar

, a 6-foot, 2-inch freshman reserve at fifth-ranked Tennessee (27-5). Dunbar has played in 20 games, averaging 3.1 points and 1.4 rebounds for the Lady Vols. Tennessee is at home at 12:30 p.m. Saturday against Boise State.

•  Sophomore forward

Emmonnie Henderson

(Edwardsville) plays a key role for 10th-ranked Louisville (25-6), averaging 6.1 points and 4.4 rebounds. The Redbirds will take on Brigham Young at 3 p.m. Saturday in Tampa, Fla.

•  Former Edwardsville standout

Mary O’Keefe

, a junior forward at Southern Indiana (25-7), is headed to the NCAA Division II Women’s Tournament. O’Keefe is the Screaming Eagles’ third-leading scorer (9.9 ppg) and averages 4.7 rebounds. Southern Indiana will face Ashland in a first-round game in the Midwest Regional.

•  Another local tie to the NCAA women’s basketball tournament is Waterloo native and former Gateway Grizzlies play-by-play announcer

Adam Young

. Young does television and radio play-by-play for the tourney-bound New Mexico State women’s basketball team, which will play Maryland.

•  Former Central High left-hander

Bryant Holtmann

is 3-1 with a 4.79 ERA in eight appearances for the Florida State Seminoles (17-5), including three starts.

•  University of Arkansas freshman

Chad Spanberger

(Granite City) is off to a flying start with the Razorbacks (10-8). He’s hitting .342 through his first 14 games in college with three doubles, two triples and 11 RBIs. Spanberger has started 12 of the team’s 14 games, primarily as a designated hitter.

•  Senior infielder

Kane Sweeney

(Belleville West) is the second-leading hitter for Morehead State (10-5), compiling a .358 average through 17 games with four doubles, four home runs and 14 RBIs.

•  Former O’Fallon catcher

Nick Tindall

, now a senior at the University of Tampa (19-5), is at .345 through 24 games with six doubles, four homers and 17 RBIs. Tampa is the top-ranked team in Division II.

•  Missouri-St. Louis senior first baseman

Brianna Butler

(Triad) seems headed toward another Division II All-American softball season based on her torrid start. Through 20 games, Butler was hitting .433 with 10 home runs and 27 RBIs along with four doubles. An honorable mention All-American last spring, Butler had a three-run homer Sunday against McKendree. UMSL pitcher

Brittni Chapman

(Belleville East) is already 9-1 with a 1.78 ERA. UMSL (18-2), off to a 2-0 start in the Great Lakes Valley Conference, is ranked fourth in the nation in Division II.

•  Freshman outfielder

Wes Degener

(Gibault) is the leading hitter for Division II Lindenwood-St. Charles (8-13), carrying a .395 average through 21 games with four doubles, one homer and 13 RBIs. He also has three stolen bases in five tries and 17 runs scored. Pitcher

Geoff Hartlieb

(Highland) is 2-2 with a 3.32 ERA in six appearances. Pitcher

Devin Breihan

(Edwardsville) is 1-1 with one save and a 4.97 ERA.

•  Former Althoff pitcher

Adam Schwoebel

is 1-0 after two starts for Loras College, striking out 10 in 11 innings with a 3.97 ERA.

•  Former Central High standout

Shelby Kohrmann

was the top scorer at Lindenwood-Belleville this season and earned first-team status on the American Midwest Conference all-conference team. Kohrmann ranked third in the conference in scoring, averaging 18.8 points per game, scoring at least 26 points or more five times.

That includes a school-record 49-point explosion against Olivet Nazarene and 29 points, including five 3-pointers, against Hannibal-LaGrange. She had 66 3-pointers on 163 attempts, a 40.5 percent success rate.

Kohrmann’s younger sister, freshman guard Torre Kohrmann, was named the conference’s Co-Freshman of the Year. The younger Kohrmann averaged seven points and three rebounds, scoring a season-high 29 points against St. Louis College of Pharmacy on 13-of-17 shooting.