ELKO – The growth of a player is nearly as important as the natural talent or end product.

Spring Creek junior Jasmine Yadeskie was growth personified during the girls basketball season, leading the Lady Spartans to a No. 3 seed for the 3A North regional tournament.

Her game was noticed by her peers, opponents and coaches alike – earning a 1st-Team All-League and a 2nd-Team All-State selection.

Elko junior Alexis Elquist, senior Lexi Baum and Spring Creek freshman Kylee Dimick were each named 2nd-Team All-League performers.

Three local players also received honorable mentions in consideration for league awards: Spring Creek senior Kaitlyn McLeod, junior Caitlyn Dimick and Elko senior Sariah Pulley.

Jasmine Yadeskie

As a sophomore, Yadeskie averaged three points, two rebounds and a steal in limited action off the bench.

During her junior season, anyone who watched her play noticed that she took her game to another level.

She ranked second on the team with 7.9 points per game, increased her rebounding production from two boards to six (second best on the roster, eighth in the league) and finished second for Spring Creek in steals and assists – making 1.9 takeaways and dishing 1.5 assists per contest.

Yadeskie scored in double digits nine times – notching a season high of 15 points on Jan. 2 in a 52-37 win over Elko in Spring Creek – closing the season with a 14-point effort in a narrow, 53-49 loss to Lowry in the 3A North regional semifinal on Feb. 16 in Elko, scoring all but one of her points in the second half.

Along with her increased production scoring the basketball, she nearly tripled her rebounding totals – despite her thin frame.

In four contests, Yadeskie pulled down double-digit boards – including a monster 18-rebound contest Dec. 1, 2017, against Carson during the High Sierra Winter Classic in Reno.

Defensively, she became adept at applying on-ball pressure and jumping passing lanes for steals.

She made three or more thefts in eight ballgames, snagging a season-high five steals against Fernley on Jan. 20 in Spring Creek.

On Feb. 15, she dished a season-best five assists on the road at Truckee.

She swatted two shots on Nov. 30, 2017, against Casa Roble in the High Sierra Winter Classic and blocked one shot in five other ballgames.

Yadeskie’s drastic improvement was on full display during her junior season – becoming a threat with the ball in her hands and driving to the bucket – and she could be an even bigger problem for opponents with the addition of a consistent shot from the perimeter to keep defenses off-balance as whether to guard against her penetration or to respect her jumper.

2nd-Team All-League

Alexis Elquist

Elquist closed the season as just one of eight players in the league to average double figures, finishing seventh in the 3A North and leading Elko with 10.2 points per game.

In 12 contests, Elquist scored in double digits – surpassing 20 points twice – dropping a season-high 23 points on Feb. 9 at Lowry and pouring in 22 points on Jan. 26 against South Tahoe at Centennial Gymnasium.

She also finished second on the team in rebounds, grabbing 6.1 rebounds per contest – also seventh in the league in the category – snatching double-digit rebounds in six ballgames, finishing with a double-double in each contest.

She grabbed a season-best 13 rebounds on Dec. 8, 2017, in Fernley.

Not only was Elquist Elko’s top scorer, she was also on the Lady Indians’ best distributors – finishing second on the team with 2.3 assists per game.

Fernley was fully aware of her passing ability, as the Lady Vaqueros saw Elquist dish her season high of seven dimes in each meeting during the regular season.

Elquist’s stat line against the No. 4 seed was incredible – stuffing the stat sheet in each regular-season matchup against the Lady Vaqueros – going for 15 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, a season-best six blocks and a steal in Fernley.

She racked up a stellar 13 points, 12 boards, seven dimes and three steals against Fernley on Jan. 19 in Elko.

Her length also created problems for opposing offenses – blocking 1.3 shots and making 1.3 steals per contest – coming away with two or more steals in 10 games, snagging three takeaways in six contests.

Elquist can shoot the basketball proficiently from anywhere in Elko’s offense, leading the Lady Indians with 22 3s with a 31-percent clip from distance and knocking down 79 percent of her attempts from the free-throw line.

She splashed three triples in Elko’s league opener at Fernley, matching the number from deep on Feb. 3 at Truckee.

In her senior season, Elquist will be forced to take on more of a leadership role and must take the next step in improving her game against the top teams in the league on a game-by-game basis, growing a thick skin and refusing to let rough stretches affect the remainder of games.

Lexi Baum

During her final season, Elko senior Lexi Baum stepped up her game.

She improved greatly in her offensive efficiency and remained a beast on the backboards for the Lady Indians.

Baum came as close as anyone in the league to averaging a double-double for the season.

She finished just outside the top-10 in the league in scoring at 11th with 9.6 points per game – second on the team – and she led Elko and tied for the league high with 7.7 rebounds.

Baum scored in double digits 12 times, booking her season best of 17 points on Jan. 27 against Dayton in Elko.

From the floor, nobody on Elko’s roster fired at a better clip, Baum leading the way at 44 percent – finishing second on the team in scoring while taking the third-most shots.

She tallied four double-doubles, ripping down a season-high 16 rebounds with a 13-point offensive effort against Fernley on Jan. 19 at Centennial.

Baum also passed well from the post, dishing a season-high five assists on Jan. 27 against the Lady Dust Devils.

Defensively, the area near Baum in the paint was almost a no-fly zone – finishing third in the league blocks – she averaged 1.6 swats per contest.

She blocked at least one shot in 15 of 22 ballgames, nine of which were multiple-block affairs.

Her season high of five shots sent back to their senders came on Feb. 6 in the Lady Indians’ 63-56 overtime win against Spring Creek in Elko – serving as one of her best all-around games of the year – 10 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks and four assists.

She made three or more blocks in seven contests.

Baum made two or more steals in six games – recording three thefts four times – averaging 1.1 steals per game.

She provided Elko’s most-thrilling, crunch-time moment of the year in the 3A North regional quarterfinal against Fernley on Feb. 15 – grabbing a defensive rebound with the game tied and dribbling the length of the floor before being fouled.

Baum knocked down a free throw with 1.3 seconds remaining, and Elko advanced to the regional semifinal with a 52-51 victory.

On of the other noteworthy feats of Baum’s season comes from her toughness, playing with a mask on her face the entire season after breaking her nose in Elko’s league opener on Dec. 8, 2017, in Fernley.

Kylee Dimick

While Yadeskie gradually worked and improved her game from year to year for the Lady Spartans en route to her 1st-Team All-League and 2nd-Team All-State bids, freshman Kylee Dimick made an immediate impact.

And the sky is the limit.

She is the first freshman head coach Holly Miller has started on varsity from the onset of the players that have come through her program.

The newbie led the team in scoring and rebounds, averaging 9.1 points and 6.9 rebounds (fifth in the league).

Dimick scored in double figures 12 times – finishing with nine points in four ballgames – scoring her season high of 16 points on Dec. 2, 2017, against Atwater (California) in the High Sierra Winter Classic.

She grabbed double-digit rebounds in six contests – closing with a double-double in three of the ballgames – snagging a season-high 12 boards against Lowry on Feb. 9 in Spring Creek.

On 10 occasions, she came up with at least two steals – notching three thefts in three contests.

Dimick blocked two shots in two ballgames, swatting a pair of attempts on Dec. 22 against Filer (Idaho) and Feb. 15 during Spring Creek’s regional quarterfinal against Truckee in Elko.

As she transitions to one of the most well-known guns in Spring Creek’s arsenal, Dimick must become more of a passer as teams close around her in an effort to take away her offensive production. She will turn into a better shot blocker with a more of a feel for weak-side rotation and willingness to go up and high-point shots – possessing all the length and athleticism necessary to become one of the league’s most-feared players for years to come.

Honorable Mentions

Two seniors earned honorable mentions in their final seasons for their respective teams, Spring Creek senior point guard Kaitlyn McLeod and Elko senior wing Sariah Pulley.

McLeod averaged six points per game, but her all-around game was what led Spring Creek to its most successful season in the past four years.

She led the Lady Spartans with 3.1 steals and 2.5 assists per game, ranking sixth in the 3A North in takeaways and eighth in dimes.

She gave an insane defensive effort with eight steals against Galena on Dec. 27, 2017, in Reno.

Matching the number, McLeod served up a season-best eight assists against Truckee on Jan. 5 in Spring Creek – posting an incredible line of 11 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, five steals and a block in the game.

She recorded two or more steals 18 times, tallying five or more thefts in six contests.

McLeod scored her season high of 14 points against Carson on Dec. 1, 2017, and she reached double digits four times.

She crashed the glass extremely well for a point guard, averaging four boards per game – grabbing a season-high eight rebounds in Spring Creek’s final game of the season against Lowry in the 3A North regional semifinal.

Sariah Pulley improved her game for Elko in her senior season, becoming more of an offensive threat.

She added the long ball to her repertoire, finishing second on the team with 21 3s – ranking third on the roster while scoring 8.1 points per contest.

Pulley led Elko with two steals per game, grabbing 4.7 rebounds and dishing 1.7 assists.

She scored in double figures six times – finishing with nine points in three games – going off for a season-high 22 points against Sparks on Jan. 5 in Elko, a game in which she hammered home a season-best five 3s.

She tied her season high of eight rebounds in the ballgame as well, matching the number she grabbed on Jan. 9 on the road at Lowry.

Pulley dished five assists in Elko’s season opener on Nov. 30, 2017, against Carson.

Defensively, she racked up five steals in back-to-back games, doing so on Jan. 26 against South Tahoe and Jan. 27 versus Dayton.

She made multiple steals in 15 contests, and she stuffed three shots in Elko’s overtime win on Feb. 6 against Spring Creek at Centennial.

Spring Creek junior wing/post Caitlyn Dimick provided a one-two sisterly punch for the Lady Spartans.

She tied for third on the team in scoring with 7.4 points per game, finishing fourth on the roster with 5.5 rebounds.

Scoring in double figures in 10 games, she booked her season high of 21 points in Spring Creek’s overtime loss on Feb. 6 in Elko – notching 11 of her 21 at the free-throw line against just one miss.

Dimick snagged double-digit rebounds in three games, closing with one double-double on Dec. 29, 2017, against Loyalton (California) in Reno.

She made multiple steals in seven games, coming away with her season high of three thefts in the Loyalton game.

On Dec. 21, 2017, she blocked her only two shots of the season against Twin Falls in Idaho.

Congratulations to Jasmine Yadeskie on her 1st-Team All-League and 2nd-Team All-State honors and to all players named to the 3A North league awards.