By Kaleb Carter
Illinois-Basketball.com is pleased to announce its first Player of the Year awards for girls basketball. The award honors standout performers on some of the best teams in the state. We considered statistical performance, team performance and all-around skill, and spoke to media and coaches around the state before choosing these deserving student-athletes.
A physically imposing presence among the small schools of the greater-Peoria area, Eastern Illinois signee Ella Lune led a dominant season for her squad, touting terrific stat-lines while holding down the paint on the defensive end.
Lune’s defense — which included six blocks — was a deciding factor in Brimfield’s 33-32 state championship win over Galena. She averaged 19.5 points, 8.6 points, 3.1 assists, 2.2 steals and 2.2 blocks per game for the season. Lune was the leading vote-getter for the Associated Press all-state team.
Brimfield wins 1A title on Elynn Peterson’s late free throw.— Kaleb Carter (@Kaleb_M_Carter) March 5, 2022
“I don’t want to go to overtime, so I really got to make this basket,” Peterson said she told herself. “So I said, ‘God, please help me,’ shot the ball, and it went in.” @brimfield_lady https://t.co/79QbIRf5kL
Schreacke, an uncommitted multi-sport star in basketball, volleyball and softball, capped her hoops season with a 35-point, 11-rebound in a decisive state title win over Winnebago.
She consistently put up 30-point scoring performances and double-double efforts, and earned the most votes for the Associated Press all-state team in 2A. Schreacke averaged 25.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and made 137-of-172 free throws (80 percent) for the year.
Abbey Schreacke brought it in a historic performance as @QNDgirlsbball defeated @BagoAD for a 2A state title.— Kaleb Carter (@Kaleb_M_Carter) March 5, 2022
Raiders were a blistering 29 of 34 from the free throw line and made timely plays throughout the second half.https://t.co/nkaMjWdH0c
Congrats to Abbey Schreacke on being named AP & IBCA First Team All-State! Second year in a row she was the leading vote getter for AP polls. pic.twitter.com/kkYk771wQN— QND Lady Raider Basketball (@QNDgirlsbball) March 7, 2022
A record-breaker throughout her preps career and the Maple Leafs’ all-time leading scorer, the Providence signee led Geneseo through most of the season undefeated. Geneseo finished 31-2. She was a first team all-state pick for the IBCA and AP.
“Led the WB6 this season in points per game (24.5), owns Geneseo’s career (1,881), and single-season (791) scoring records. She also has hit the most 3-pointers in a season (73) and compiled the highest single-season free throw percentage (84.3%).”
Swanson’s near unmatchable scoring ability at the highest level of Illinois girls basketball won her the honor as the 4A Player of the Year, narrowly edging several worthy candidates of the most competitive race of the four classes. Two other players were heavily considered for the award, and in the process of consulting coaches, media and others, several more names were deemed worthy of consideration.
It was Sophie Swanson’s impeccable shooting that led Barrington all the way to the state title game. Her ability to get a shot off from seemingly any angle, with perfect form, made her lethal from all over.
The Purdue commit and Fillies junior averaged 21 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game for the 30-6, 4A state runner-up Barrington squad. It was the best finish in Barrington history. Capable of going on a run by herself instantly, Swanson posted scoring totals of 40 (versus Fremd), 37 (Fenwick), 36 (Buffalo Grove) 33 (Naperville North) and 32 (Libertyville). She also scored 35 in a state semifinal win over Bolingbrook. Swanson was the leading vote-getter for the AP all-state team.
Barrington’s Sophie Swanson, a @PurdueWBB commit, needs only a little bit of room to create a good look at the basket. Near any shot from her is a good shot.— Kaleb Carter (@Kaleb_M_Carter) February 5, 2022
But now, @bhsfilliesbball is stampeding as others are finding their roles.https://t.co/Pf8pd4EYcK