Sydnee Roby isn’t much of a rah-rah type. Her play does the talking.

“On the court, she’s just always been a workhorse,” Milwaukee King coach Craig Machut said. “I have a job to do. I’m going to do it.”

This year the Milwaukee King junior did it better than any player in the state.

A 6-foot-4 center, Roby averaged 17 points, 11 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game and not only earned her second straight first-team all-state selection from the Associated Press but was also a unanimous pick and the organization’s state player of the year.

Also claiming a top honor was La Crosse Aquinas coach Dave Donarski, who edged Appleton North’s Joe Russom for coach of the year.

In an era when big players are trying to expand their perimeter skills, Roby has dominated the paint. It’s helped King win big the past three seasons.

Playing one of the state’s toughest schedules, the Generals are 60-15 in her three seasons with a state berth last season and a sectional final berth this year. This season, she posted a career-high in shooting percentage (61.2).

The AP honor is the second of the week for Roby. On Monday, Gatorade announced her as its state girls player of the year.

“She’s excited about it. Her mom is excited about it and her teammates are excited, too, because they see how hard she works,” Machut said. “They see how selfless she is. She spends more time passing than any post I’ve ever seen.. A post as dominant as her could be that black hole that we hear about as a post (player) that’s not easy for teammates to deal with.”

Roby posted 14 doubles-doubles in scoring and rebounding. She scored a season-high 27 points in a 64-63 loss to Montini Catholic of Lombard, Illinois on Jan. 6. She also went for 24 points on 7-for-9 shooting and grabbed 14 rebounds (10 offensive) in an 81-69 victory over Milwaukee Vincent on Feb. 15 that gave King a share of the City Gold Division title and sank 11 of 12 shots for 23 points in a 66-57 sectional final loss to Oak Creek.

Her play caused a number of high-major Division I programs to come to watch King play or practice.

“We’re just scratching the surface of how good she could actually be, which is both awesome and kind of frightening,” Machut said.

Donarski, whose Blugolds (28-0) spent the season ranked first in Division 4 and won the state championship by defeating second-ranked Melrose-Mindoro (27-1) 68-52, was 55-1 the last two seasons. Aquinas was runner-up after losing to Howards Grove in the 2017 title game.

The Blugolds only played seven Division 4 teams this season — one during the regular season and six during the WIAA tournament — while playing in the Mississippi Valley Conference, which is filled with Division 2 and 3 programs. They also beat Division 5 state champion Bangor and traveled to Iowa to defeat Dowling Catholic, which was one of that state’s best teams in its largest division.

“I was in a pretty good position when I took over after what previous coaches Joe Gaspard and Matt Watson did,” said Donarski, whose four Aquinas teams have posted a 95-11 record. “The program was on the rise before I got here, but it was so exciting to be part of this.”

Aquinas started its season with a 35-point win at Division 1 Chippewa Falls and never looked back. It won its games by an average of 34 points, and that winning margin jumped to 37.5 during the postseason.

The Blugolds succeeded under heavy pressure to win their first WIAA championship after placing second last season. Aquinas returned just about every player from that team this season, and just two opponents finished the game with a deficit of less than 10 points.

“It was joy and relief,” Donarski, who was an assistant coach when the Aquinas boys basketball teams won WIAA championships in 2008, 2011 and 2013, said of winning the title. “I’m so proud of the kids, who were under a lot of pressure and battled through it.”

Aquinas was led by All-State second-teamer Lexi Donarski, who is Dave’s daughter and committed to Iowa State. She scored 24 points and had 13 assists as the Blugolds beat Crandon 75-38 in the semifinals and the Mustangs in the championship game.

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