Royals’ Eley regains Iowa Star Elite

Madison Eley led the Colo-NESCO girls’ basketball team in scoring, but not rebounding, assists, blocks or steals.

But she led the Royals to an Iowa Star Conference South Division championship and eventually a state tournament berth.

One of only three seniors on the Colo-NESCO roster, Eley was the only unanimous selection on the five-player Iowa Star Conference Elite Team as voted on by the league’s coaches. The Royals won 17 straight, including a conference-clinching win over Meskwaki Settlement School and a regional final victory against those same Warriors, finishing the season with a 23-3 record.

Eley was joined on the all-conference elite squad by both halves of Meskwaki’s high-scoring senior guard tandem, Dia Keahna and Tiana Thompson, along with Clarksville’s Hannah Poppe and Janesville’s Anna Backstrom.

Eley and Thompson were both named as unanimous picks for the all-Iowa Star Conference South Division team, which was comprised entirely of area athletes. Keahna, Colo-NESCO sophomore guard Shayla Dean and North Tama senior Allison Zobel rounded out the five-player all-South squad.

This marks Eley’s second all-Elite Team selection, her first since her sophomore season. She sat out nearly all of her junior year after sustaining a knee injury.

Zobel and Thompson both gained their third all-conference honors. Zobel was a first-teamer as a sophomore and an Elite Team pick last winter. Thompson was a first-team selection as a sophomore and an honorable mention last season.

Eley averaged a team-leading 12.7 points to go with 6.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.6 assists for the Royals, who reached the state tournament for the first time since 2005.

Keahna was Class 1A’s second-leading scorer, averaging 21.5 points per game as the Warriors established a school record with 20 wins in the program’s fourth year. Keahna made 41 3-pointers and tied for fifth in the entire state with 117 made free throws.

Thompson was the Iowa Star’s sixth leading scorer overall at 12.8 points per game, adding a league-leading 138 assists (ninth-best in the state) to go with 56 steals and 20 blocked shots.

Zobel knocked down a conference-high 60 3-pointers – tied for ninth in the state – in leading the Redhawks at 14.3 points per game. She shot 79 percent from the free-throw line, was the team’s leader in assists (47), steals (56) and blocked shots (20) and third-leading rebounder (4 rpg).

Both Zobel and Keahna eclipsed the 1,000-point career plateau in the next-to-last games of their respective careers.

The only non-senior on the all-South Division squad, Dean averaged 8 points and ranked 16th in the state with 124 assists. Her trademark, however, was steals – she had 162 of them, good for second-most in all of Iowa basketball.