Tribune announces girls’ basketball Player of the Year
Published 6:36 pm Friday, March 29, 2019
Knights standout has been a starter for 5 years
ALDEN — After a senior season totaling 339 points, 163 rebounds, 81 assists and 67 steals, Alden-Conger/Glenville-Emmons senior Erika Bute ends her high school basketball career as the Albert Lea Tribune’s girls’ basketball Player of the Year.
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As a five-year starter for the Knights, Bute has had a lasting impact on the team throughout her high school career. Bute led the Knights to a 13-9 record this season before falling in the first round of the Section 2A playoffs to Houston. Despite the early exit from the postseason, Bute was pleased with how the season turned out.
“I thought the season went really well overall,” she said. “Our record was good. I would have liked to have had a bigger run in the playoffs, but we were in an extremely tough section. I would have liked to upset a couple more teams, but overall we beat the teams we needed to and even beat a couple teams that were more of an upset.”
The season also marked the first year of the cooperation between Alden-Conger and Glenville-Emmons, a transition that Bute said went very smoothly. Head coach Jenny Hovendick led the two schools — which both had losing records last season — to a winning program in its first year. A big part of that success was Bute’s leadership both on and off the court.
Making the starting five as an immensely talented eighth-grader, Bute improved by leaps and bounds through each year.
“I remember back to what her abilities were as an eighth-grader when she first started on the varsity and I thought she was a really talented player at that point in her career,” Hovendick said. “To see how much she has improved, especially when back then we didn’t know how much there even was to improve, has been really impressive to watch.”
As a point guard, Bute said the most difficult thing about meshing with Glenville-Emmons was learning everyone’s play on the court and figuring out and getting used to where her new teammates would be on the court.
Accumulating many awards and accolades throughout her high school career, including a All-State honorable mention this year, Bute said her favorite part about all of it had nothing to do with the individual accomplishments.
“The accomplishments are great to achieve and will be nice to look back on, but honestly, they’re probably not even the highlights of my career,” she said. “It was just the little things, being with the team, winning some of the big games were the real accomplishments to me.”
Bute said her favorite moment of her senior season was beating St. Clair in the conference showcase. St. Clair went on to win the subsection championship, and the win over them was one of the biggest of the season, according to Bute.
After graduating in May, Bute will attend Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where she will continue her athletic career in volleyball.