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Aquinas' Lexi Donarski shoots against Bangor's Jaclynn Freit during the first half of Saturday's Midwest Players Classic game at the La Crosse Center.

The high school girls basketball scene in the Coulee Region is as rich with talent as it’s ever been, and arguably at its best in history.

Not only are there multiple players already possessing Division I and II scholarships, but there’s a mix of skills and abilities area coaches are beginning to mine. That distinction doesn’t even include recent local graduates like G-E-T’s Annalese Lamke (Minnesota) or Westby’s Chelsea Olson (Youngstown State), who are having success in the college ranks.

You can see the impact local talent has had in the opening weeks of the UW-La Crosse women’s basketball team, with Onalaska graduate Emma Gamoke immediately becoming a go-to scorer, and other local prospects playing major roles.

There’s a goldmine of girls to watch in the area — three local teams played for state championships last year, and two won a gold ball — but here are five that you should see before they’re gone.

ALL AROUND

Lexi Donarski, 5-foot-10 guard, junior, Aquinas

Lexi Donarski mug

Donarski

One of the great mysteries in local basketball is what would Donarski’s options be if she hadn’t have verbally committed to Iowa State before playing her first high school game. It’s possible, even likely, even more prominent programs would be fawning over her.

Donarski brings a mix of attributes to the floor each night that are hard to prepare for. She can get to the rim offensively, but if you pack the paint, she’ll hit a floater in the lane that is nearly impossible to stop. She’s been a great midrange shooter for the Blugolds, who have lost one game since the start of 2017, and she’s a proficient passer.

She also is one of the best on-ball defenders in the Coulee Region, hounding opposing point guards until they commit turnovers, which she turns into breakaway layups on the other end. She plays the top spot of Aquinas’ aggressive, trapping defense when coach and Lexi’s father, Dave Donarksi, wants to turn up the heat.

She averaged 15.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.8 steals on a loaded Aquinas team last year, which won the Division 4 state championship, and she’s looking for another run to Green Bay this season.

PASSER

Calette Lockington, 5-foot-8 guard, junior, Melrose-Mindoro

Calette Lockington mug

Lockington

Lockington is part of an unbelievable starting five for Melrose-Mindoro in which all the players have either verbally committed to colleges or have offers in hand. Count Lockington in the latter group, with an offer from UW-Milwaukee in her pocket.

She’s had success on the AAU circuit, and she’s the ringleader of a lineup that has multiple scoring options each game, including herself. The Mustangs’ ball movement has made them one of the best teams in Division 4, and that starts at the top with Lockington.

She handles the ball well enough to put defenders on their heels, and she’s constantly probing the defense to find a passing alley for a teammate.

DEFENDER

Madison Lindauer, 5-foot-10 guard, senior, Tomah

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Madison Lindauer mug

Lindauer

When the Timberwolves need to create pressure on a ball-handler, or need help dealing with some size from an opponent, Lindauer can aptly fill both roles. She’s drawn Division II, III and NAIA interest with her combination of active defense and strong outside shooting.

She has good instincts for jumping passing lanes, and has done well baiting entry passes to the post and then using her quickness to at least tip the ball, if not secure the steal. Her length makes her a tough matchup for opposing guards to shoot over, and she can turn her pressure into points quickly for Tomah.

She’s been pressed into even more service with an injury to Tomah senior Madisyn Brey, but she’s handling the added load well.

SHOOTER

Lexi Wagner, 5-foot-9 guard, senior, G-E-T

Lexi Wagner mug

Wagner

No player over the past two seasons in the Coulee Region has been able to fill up the basket quite like Wagner. She’s the team’s focal-point scorer and still she’s averaging more than 20 points per game this season.

Perhaps what sets Wagner apart from most of her peers is how quickly she can go from a full-out dribble to going up for a shot. It makes guarding her a nightmare because defenders want to cut off drives, but if they sag off, she can fire away without a hand in her face. Her 3-point shot is consistent and puts defenses in even more of a bind.

Wagner signed an offer from Division I Youngstown State for next season, where she’ll join former Coulee Region standout Chelsea Olson.

REBOUNDER

Courtney Becker, 6-foot forward, junior, Aquinas

Courtney Becker mug

Becker

Becker’s pick in this spot is justified nearly each night the Blugolds suit up.

For all of her skills as a scorer, ball-handler and defender, she does the dirty work inside for Aquinas. She was the leading rebounder on last year’s championship team, and she’s committed to Division I Drake University.

Becker’s unique in that she can pull down a defensive rebound and instead of always looking for an outlet pass, she can handle the break herself and put defenses in no-win situations. She’s skilled at keeping her position under the basket and limiting opponents to one shot attempt.

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Colten Bartholomew can be reached at Colten.Bartholomew@lee.net or via Twitter @cbartdizzle.

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