Author Archives: Kaleb Carter

Illinois High School Basketball Top Performers: Feb. 15-21

Illinois High School Basketball Players Honored

Illinois-Basketball.com sends emails to the vast majority of coaches in the state of Illinois looking for the some of the top performances from players in the state.

An email was sent to every coach with an email listed on the IHSA website. Any emails omitted can be pointed out to the writer at kalebcarter4256@gmail.com to be added to our database.

We’ve identified nearly 50 deserving athletes between boys and girls basketball. We’ve also included a list of milestones and accomplishments from the past week. Click here to see the top performers from Week 2.

Illinois Girls Player of the Week Nominees

  • Lexie Sinclair, Bartlett (4A): Sinclair put together an unconventional triple-double with a 16-point, 11 assist, 12-steal game in a win over South Elgin; Scored 16 points against Streamwood, 18 vs. Elgin, and 20 against Neuqua Valley, all victories; Also, MacKenzie Hare put up scoring totals of 32, 39, 29 and 24.
  • Trinity Wade, Shelbyville (2A): Scored 44 points in a win over Cerro Gordo/Bement, a school record.
  • Emily White, Sullivan (2A): Scored a career-high 35, had 13 rebounds and shot 7 of 9 on 3-point attempts as Sullivan beat state top 10-ranked Clinton.
  • Gracen Haska, Fenton (3A): The freshman recorded 17 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks in the Bison’s first win of the season; Also, Sophia Haska: scored 13 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and had 3 blocks in a win over East Aurora.
  • Tyler Butler, Belleville East (4A): The senior forward keeps stacking up double-doubles. Butler had 19 points and 19 rebounds in a 49-47 loss to Belleville West Thursday; Scored 20 points and plucked 9 rebounds off the glass in a 54-46 win over Collinsville; Butler as of Sunday was averaging 19 ppg and 15.8 rpg through five contests.
  • Apple Guerrero, Argo (4A): Averaged 21 points and 10 rebounds during the week, shooting 48% from the floor with 11 total assists and 12 steals.
  • Thaya Luse, Aurora Christian (1A): Posted 29 points, 16 rebounds in a win over Rosary on Monday, Feb. 15; Tallied 21 points, 18 rebounds, 7 assists and 8 steals in a win over Elmwood Park Thursday. Had 6 consecutive double-doubles as of Sunday.
  • Tyrah Taylor, Hope Academy (Chicago) (1A): Had 17 points, 10 rebounds, 4 steals in 79-7 win over Rochelle Zell on Tuesday, Feb. 16.
  • Kamryn Sturdy, Tri-City/Sangamon Valley (2A): Freshman had 17 points, 3 assists and 3 steals in a win over rival Riverton; Also, sophomore Sarah Finley averaged 16 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks in games against South Fork and Riverton, while shooting 13 of 24 (54%).
  • Riley Mount, West Aurora (4A): In three games, averaged 26 pppg, 8 rpg, 1.7 apg, 4 spg; Averaging 26 ppg this season overall.
  • Natalie Iberg, Greenville (2A): 23 points, and five 3-pointers in a win over Vandalia on Friday.
  • Jase Burkett, Woodlawn (1A): Freshman sank four 3-pointers and scored 14 points to lead Woodlawn back from a 9-point deficit to beat Goreville 42-40 Saturday.
  • Sophia Harris, Putnam County (1A): Scored 24 points, added 12 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 blocks in a 57-35 win over Dwight Saturday; Had 11 points and 13 rebounds Thursday against Marquette; put up 14 points, 9 rebounds against Roanoke-Benson Wednesday, Feb. 17.
  • Laura Strenk, Regina Dominican (2A): 15 points, 6 assists, 3 steals and a charge in a loss.
  • Claire McDougall, Washington (3A): Posted two double-doubles, averaged 14 ppg and 10.5 rpg over two games against Pekin.
  • Tiffany Bargmann, LeRoy (1A): Bargmann scored 17 points, had 5 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 blocks in a 64-27 win at Flanagan on Monday, Feb. 15; Scored 19 points, added 4 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 assists in a 38-33 win over Lexington on Thursday, Feb. 18; Set school single-game block record with 8, adding 17 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists in a 44-41 overtime win over El Paso-Gridley on Saturday Feb. 20.
  • Kammie Ludwig, Geneseo (3A): Scored 25 points in less than a half of basketball in a win over United Township.
  • Erin Henry, Plainfield North (4A): Put up 17 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals in a win over Yorkville as the Tigers moved to 5-0 in the Southern Prairie; Also, Jayln Patterson scored 17 points and collected 14 rebounds in a win over West Aurora.
  • Jessie Pakaski, Wauconda (4A): Led her squad to wins of 63-31 over Grant and 51-26 against Round Lake, combining for 21 points, 21 rebounds, 9 blocks and 5 assists in those games.
  • Claire Roberts, Sandwich (3A): Scored 18 points, added 5 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists in a 40-25 win over Somonauk Monday, Feb 15; Hit two 3-pointers on her way to 14 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals in a 42-34 win over Rochelle on Wednesday, Feb. 17; Hit all 8 free throw attempts scored 10 points, added 7 rebounds and 2 steals in a Friday loss to Sycamore.
  • Gabi Burgess, Lake Park (3A): Scored 25 points and had three steals in road win over Wheaton North.
  • Sydney Affolter, Marist (4A): an Iowa signee, put up scoring totals of 33, 20 (w/16 rebounds), 13 (w/8 rebounds) and was nominated for the McDonald’s All-American Game.
  • Erin Houpt, Danville (3A): Had scoring totals of 35 and 20.
  • Lauren McDonald, Saint Ignatius: Scored 17 points, had 7 rebounds and 4 assists in a win over Mother McAuley Saturday; Scored 32 in a win over Mother McAuley Friday.
  • KayLee Hohlbauch, Arcola (1A): 23 rebounds, 16 points in a 48-41 win over Okaw Valley on Thursday.
  • Lexi Kerstein had a triple-double of 16 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists and a near triple-double of 17 points, 11 assists and 8 rebounds.
  • Carsyn Todd, Salt Fork (1A): Scored 31 and hit 4 treys in a win.
  • Maya Osborn, Marshall (2A): 20 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists in a 56-27 win over Olney.
  • Charlotte Trunk, Sandburg (4A): Averaging 12 points, 10 rebounds per game; Erin O’Connor is averaging 10 pts, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals a game; Also sophhomore guard Claire Calaghan is averaging 9 points, 4 assists and 4 steals per game.

Illinois Boys Player of the Week Nominees

  • Bryce Moore, Carmel Catholic (3A): 18 ppg, 9 rpg, 3 apg, 2 spg and led his team to a 2-1 record ast week.
  • Chase White, Lebanon (1A): Senior point guard missed who missed his entire junior season with an ACL tear and after three games this season he is averaging 17 ppg, 4 apg, 4 spg and 4 rbps a game. His coach called him “a silky point guard who can facilitate, pass and score.”
  • Jenson Whiteman, Rockridge (2A): Coming off a team quarantine, Whiteman scored 35 points had 6 rebounds and 4 assists in a win over Orion. Whiteman was an all-Three Rivers Area Conference performer a season ago.
  • Tommy Zimmer, Illinois Lutheran (1A): The junior, who already has a 31-point game this season, recorded a 20-point, 10-rebound game against Donovan Friday and a 20-point, 9-rebound game against Grant Park Saturday.
  • Devion Blake, Egyptian (1A): The 6 foot, 5 inch junior post player put up two strong performances, 22 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 blocks and 3 steals in a win over Elvarado; Blake also posted 30 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals in a loss to Cobden.
  • Blake Kimball, Unity (Tolono) (2A): A junior point guard, Kimball scored 22 points in a loss to St. Joseph Ogden; Kimball responded after the loss with 30 points on 8 of 15 shooting, (6 of 13 on 3-point attempts) in a win over Paxton-Buckley-Loda.
  • Dylan Singleton, Lincoln (3A): Scored 38 in a win over 2A #1 Sacred- Heart-Griffin.
  • Manny Garcia, Notre Dame La Sallete: Put up a stat line of 21 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in a 57-47 win over Springfield Sabers.
  • Robbie Avila, Oak Forest (3A): The big, spectacled junior post had 23 points and 12 rebounds in a win over Bremen Wednesday; Avila, who recently picked up an offer from Division I Richmond; Scored 30 points and collected 11 rebounds in a loss against Lemont on Friday; Avila also crossed 1,000 points for his career.
  • Jacob Shoven, Clifton Central (2A): Scored 22 points and recorded 6 rebounds, 4 steals against Momence on Friday, reaching 1000 points in the process.
  • Jack Haynes, Streator (3A): Scored 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds (7 offensive, 7 defensive) against Peotone.
  • Bryce Anderson, Carterville (2A): hit the game-winning bucket with 2.3 seconds remaining to defeat previously unbeaten Centralia.
  • Ben Randall, Hersey (4A): Posted 15 points, 14 rebounds in one game, 12 points, 7 rebounds in another.
  • Nick Martinelli, Glenbard South (4A): Scoring in bunches for undefeated GBS, Scored 34 in a win over New Trier, and 21 in a win over Highland Park.
  • Kentucky signee Bryce Hopkins, earned a McDonald’s All-American Game nomination, had 25 points, 18 rebounds and two blocks in an 84-54 win over Montini; Scored 22 points in an overtime, 71-68 loss to Nile Notre Dame; Scored 19 in a win over Providence Catholic.
  • Ty Pence, St. Joseph-Ogden (2A): Scored 40 points and had 19 rebounds in a 66-52 win over Oakwood Wednesday Feb. 17 Scored 16 in a win over Robinson Saturday; Posted a 20-point, 16-rebound performance in a 58-51 win over Unity Friday.
  • Robert Roszkiewicz, Addison Trail (4A): Scored 37 in a loss to Willowbrook.
  • DaJuan Bates, De La Salle: scored 40 in a 66-51 win over Leo.
  • Jaxson Provost, Bishop McNamara: scored 23, had 10 assists, 6 rebounds, 5 deflections 3 steals over 2 games. s

Milestones, Game-Winners and More

We’re on the lookout for records and milestones, monster performances and game-winners. You can find more info like this by subscribing to the Illinois High School Basketball News Newsletter.

It’ll be hard to top a three-quarter court buzzer-beater to knock off a ranked team in overtime:

  • Coach Lee Bennett won his 300th game at Centralia. As of Wednesday Feb. 17 he held a record of 300-102.
  • Evanston graduate Eliyah Williams went over 1,000 points for Farleigh Dickinson.
  • Ashley Raymer reached 1,000 points for Providence Catholic.
  • Danny Grieves went over a quarter of a ton of wins, or as it’s easier to say, 500 for Metamora boys basketball.
  • Mendon Unity coach Brad Begeman reached 200 victories in a win over Quincy Notre Dame.
  • Greta Kampschroeder was honored as the lone Illinois girls preps player to be selected for the McDonald’s All-American Game and also hit this ridiculous shot.
  • Marengo’s Matt Volkening scored 33 points in the same game as he crossed the 1,000 points threshold in a 64-33 victory.
  • Conor Enright scored 21 points had 12 assists and 4 rebounds in a 70-48 win over Round Lake and also reached 1,000 points last week. He also scored 15 had 5 assists and 5 rebounds in a win over Libertyville.
  • Rochelle broke a school record when the Hubs drilled 18 3-pointers in a 90-56 victory.
  • Quincy Notre Dame reached 1,500 wins as a program, per Matt Schuckman.
  • Genoa-Kingston grad Julie Galauner scored 41 points had 11 rebounds, and broke the Augustana University and NACC career records for 3-pointers.
  • Josh Harris crossed 1,000 points for Timothy Christian.
  • Heritage’s Corey White won his 100th game.
  • Illinois Valley Central’s Kamden Wollard reached the 1,000 points mark.
  • Evanston girls basketball coach Brittanny Johnson recorded her 100th win as the coach of the Wildkits.
  • Decatur MacArthur’s Quincenia Jackson became the program’s all-time leader in points.
  • Kayla Kodat, Dwight (1A): Hit 1,000 points for her career.
  • Aurora Christian’s Lexi Lamanna, already the program record-holder for assists, broke the steals record as she neared 300 steals last week.
  • Sandburg’s Josie Canellis set the program record for most 3’s in a half with 7 aainst Bolingbrook.
  • Annawan’s Emily Miller is now over 1,000 career points after scoring 21 in a 64-48 win over West Central.

Lamprecht Helps East Peoria End Four-Year Streak

Already one of the up-and-coming players in the Peoria area as a freshman, Tatym Lamprecht has elevated her game to the point of pushing East Peoria girls basketball forward as a sophomore this season.

Her 38 points propelled East Peoria past Limestone 55-49 on Wednesday, Feb. 17. That marked the Raiders’ first win in Mid-Illini Conference play since 2017, ending a 48-game conference losing streak. Her aggressiveness on the offensive end yielded her 20 free-throw attempts. She made 18.

“I didn’t think I would score that many points,” Lamprecht quietly admitted.

Her coach, Khassandrae Brown, is less modest about the sophomore, who also has scoring performances of 24 and 23 under her belt this season.

“She doesn’t shy away from contact like you get with incoming freshman up against seniors like we had last year,” Brown said. ” She’s definitely gotten more aggressive and stronger. She has worked on her shooting which has helped a lot, because now they have to respect the shot and the drive from her. She does a phenomenal job of getting to the basket.”

Her shot has been the biggest difference in going from approximately 13 points per game a season ago to being a threat to score well over 20 every night as a sophomore. With an unconventional shooting stroke — the follow-through takes her closer to the basket than more traditional form — Lamprecht naturally ends up chasing her own shot. Still, she’s not chasing misses as much as she used to.

Acting as the Raiders’ primary ball-handler as well as their most potent offensive weapon, Lamprecht has long had to face the focused attention of opposing defenses.

“I got a lot better at shooting this year and drawing fouls,” Lamprecht said.

Provided photo of Lamprecht

“I’m a lot more confident with the ball last year than I was last year.”

She has grown accustomed to box-and-1’s, triangle-and-2’s, and sometimes just facing three people in her face all at once. Teams will do a lot when playing East Peoria to make anyone but the high-scoring sophomore beat them.

Lamprecht cited her time playing for her Heart of Illinois travel squad this past summer, when she couldn’t work out with her varsity team due to coronavirus restrictions, as a large part of what has propelled her into a productive sophomore campaign.

“We hadn’t been practicing that much and it’s a lot harder doing school online,” she said about the beginning of the school year.

Others on East Peoria have begun to have to strengthen their roles on the team. Fellow class of 2023 player Paige Creviston has shown Brown glimpses of being a strong player in the post.

Seniors Jexie Bolding and Rileigh Fortune are contributing as starters for an otherwise young team. Fortune, who didn’t play as a junior to focus more on running, has aided the team this year. Kaylie Hammel, who broke her arm two years ago, wasn’t even sure about playing but is now acting as a secondary ball-handler.

“We’re trying to get some other pieces to that puzzle to all fit together,” Brown said. “When she (Lamprecht) is double-teamed or the attempt is to take her out of the offense and not let her beat (them), that we have someone that can step up and fill that roll.”

But doing so against powerful conference foes like Morton, Metamora, Dunlap, Pekin and Washington, who have all been beating up on one another in February, is easier said than done.

The Raiders are after all 1-7 in Mid-Illini play after a 73-37 loss to Dunlap Saturday. Still, they’ve made big strides this season have two-plus more seasons to build upon with Lamprecht.

“We’re real low on numbers so we have a few from each class,” Brown said. “Before the win against Limestone, we had lost 48 (straight) conference games so to finally get one of those was huge for us. We’ve been competing. Against Canton they beat us at home and then we went there and only lost by 10 and it was a close game and competitive. We’re just trying to build on that win and keep trying to compete.”

Kaufman, Daly lead hyper-efficient Agape Christian past Meridian

Led by a consistent senior and a crew of talented underclassmen, Agape Christian is off to a hot start in a rapidly moving season.

The Knights visited Meridian, a school it had never defeated and pulled out a dominant 89-64 victory on Saturday to move to 5-1 on the season.

“It’s very nice to have a shooting guard like Nick (Ucci) or a big post man like Nathan (Kaufman),” Agape Christian senior Johnathon Daly said. “They’re very efficient. We just kind of analyze teams and we just see how strong they are in the paint or their guards.”

“We are very young and it gives us a lot of hope for the future,” assistant coach Clayton Reed said. “We’re efficient because we feed off each other and our pace is getting a lot better.”

Notables

  • Daly used his smooth jumper and ability to get to the free-throw line to score 29 points, going 7-of-14 from the floor with a trio of three-pointers. He also had seven assists. Kaufman and Daly work well off one another, feeding each other for several of their buckets. Kaufman posted a line of 21 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks.

For context, Bucky Dent at The Southern in Carbondale had this to say about Agape Christian coming into this season.

“The Knights should be decent, returning two good starters off a 14-12 team. The marquee name is 5-11 junior Johnathan Daly, who pumped in 15 points per game while finding time to grab five rebounds. Six-three sophomore Nathan Kaufman averaged a double-double (12 ppg, 11 rebounds) and also rejected 1.5 shots per game.

One thing to watch is that Agape Christian is one of four conference schools with a new coach at the helm in Danny Stevens. Can they get used to him, and vice-versa, in a mini-season like this one?”

  • Agape Christian stretched its lead to 31-18 before the Bobcats got going in transition for some easy baskets. The Knights’ offensive efficiency kept Meridian from getting out on the break for much of the second quarter.

“They have a full-court press that’s pretty tough to beat,” Daly said. “But once you slow down the pace more you can control the game. A team like Meridian… they’re very athletic, very fast-paced. They want to control the game. If you can control that pace you can throw them off. We got some layups on some nice back-cuts.”

  • Meridian’s athleticism and relentlessness yielded some second-chance points to keep things close. The Bobcats’ aggressiveness on the defensive end also put several of its players in foul trouble in the second quarter, allowing Agape Christian to stretch its lead out from its 15-14 advantage after a quarter. “We’ve got a couple really good shooters and you know how it is,” Reed said. “Anytime you start hitting threes or you start hitting any kind of jumper it keeps rolling and your momentum goes up. Nick Ucci will hit a three, but as soon as he hits a three, it goes to Johnathan Daly. These guys are getting their rhythm down and they feed off each other.”
  • Kaufman, who recently scored 50 points in a win over Crab Orchard, was lauded by Reed for his attitude and potential. “His potential is through the roof. We’ve seen that. Even in junior high, he was dominant. We competed in the state championship down here and he’s just a really good player. He has a really really good head on his shoulders and he’s a play-hard dude. He wants to win.” That 50-point outburst tied a school record set by 2019 graduate and current Knights assistant Matthew Keller, who also played with Reed. Daly noted that he learned a lot from those players when he was a freshman, and now with them as coaches and wants to share small lessons with his younger teammates.
  • Cameron Davis, after dealing with foul trouble in the second quarter, scored the first two buckets of the second half, showcasing his quickness and finesse in the process. But foul trouble plagued him as he finished with 9 points. Roderick Gatewood scored 10 of his 13 points in the first half for the Bobcats.
  • Freshman Anthony Ucci played like a prototypical glue guy throughout the night, using his bigger frame to his advantage around the hoop, scoring six points and grabbing rebounds. His brother Nick, also a freshman, scored 19 and added 5 rebounds. Issac Goldman contributed 10 points.
  • Meridian’s Te’Kevon Williford (13 points) and Tristen Mackins (team-high 14 points) looked like the best players on the floor in brief flashes, but it wasn’t sustained for the Bobcats. Meridian was at its best attacking the hoop, especially after Agape Christian misses. Unfortunately for the Bobcats, the Knights were efficient Saturday, scoring 27 in the second quarter, 21 in the third and 26 in the fourth. Tim Weaver was previously the coach for the Knights, who Reed played for. Reed is the JV coach and is coaching under Danny Stevens, who is in his frst year at the helm of the Knights.

Danville’s Nathanael Hoskins leaving mark in final run with Vikings

Nathanael Hoskins has seen his fair share of big moments in recent years on the hardwood. Scoring the game-winning basket against Pontiac as a sophomore, recently crossing the 1,000-point mark for his career and even hitting a three-quarter-court shot in a win over Peoria on Wednesday. That’s not even to get into the accolades he has racked up for his play as one of the more versatile players in the Champaign area.

On Friday, Hoskins and Danville teammates celebrated senior night with a 76-56 win over visiting Urbana to move to 3-0 this season. Hoskins looked at ease on his way to 24 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists, per the statistics of Chad Dare, sports editor of the Danville Commercial-News.

“(Hoskins) constantly has improved,” Danville coach Durrell Robinson said. “He has done everything that I challenged him to do … improving catch-and-shoot threes, pull-up jumpers, defensively — and he has improved on it all.”

Fellow seniors Michael Moore and Tevin Smith, the former with 12 points and the latter with 13 points and 9 rebounds, scored their fair share.. Senior Jalin Howell was also honored Friday evening.

Hoskins has received significant interest at the Division-II level, but coach Robinson told Illinois-Basketball.com that he’s still receiving interests from prep academy programs, NAIA and other schools.

Notables:

  • Urbana raced out to a early 10-4 lead as Danville appeared to struggle with Urbana’s zone defense. From there, Danville made an offensive adjustment.

    “We switched up our offensive plays to him (Hoskins) and Tevin as the primary ball handlers for us to make plays, and make it easier for the others and they did a great job of that,” Robinson said.
  • Moore and Hoskins operated well in tandem, and Smith got his scoring going as well. The senior trio combined for 30 points in the first half, opening things up by knocking down three-point baskets. In a sequence in the fourth quarter with the game pretty well decided, Hoskins stole the ball, calmly moved down the court and lofted up an alley-oop that Smith, a Cal State Fullerton men’s basketball commit, finished with an emphatic, two-handed slam.
  • Late in the third quarter, Hoskins hit a teammate for a corner three, then finished an and-one within the next minute to stretch Danville’s lead to 53-33.
  • O’Shawn Jones Winslow made his presence felt on the boards and in the scoring column (6 points) in the third quarter.
  • With under two minutes to go, Howell set off a celebration by knocking down a three-pointer of his own from the right wing, adding an exclamation point to the senior night win.

Illinois High School Basketball Top Performers: Feb. 8-14

Over the weekend, Illinois-Basketball.com sent emails out to the vast majority of coaches in the state of Illinois looking for the some of the top performances from players in the state.

An email was sent to every coach with an email listed on the IHSA website. Any emails omitted can be pointed out to the writer at kalebcarter4256@gmail.com to be added to our database.

We’ve identified nearly 50 athletes between boys and girls basketball. We’ve also included a list of milestones and accomplishments from the past week. Click here to see the top performers from Week 1.

Illinois Girls Player of the Week Nominees

  • Brooke Heiman, Indian Creek (1A): Scored totals of 31, 31 and 35 over her last three games.
  • MacKenzie Hare, Bartlett (4A): 28 points against Geneva, 32 points against Naperville North, scored 32 and hit 7 3-pointers against Glenbard South. Kaleb Carter wrote about Hare in December.
  • Avery Jackson, Kankakee (3A): 16 points in conference-opening 53-45 win over Rich Township.
  • Marissa Hilt, Bloomington (3A): Scored 22 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, and 2 blocks in loss to Danville; Scored 19 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 steals in a win against Champaign Central.
  • Nyla Walker, Mother McAuley (4A): Nyla averaged 20.7 ppg, 5.0rpg, 3.3apg, and 2.3 steals per game over three games, including two wins over Fenwick; Also, Bella Finnegan averaged 16ppg, 10.3rpg, and 2.0 apg.
  • Lauren Huber, Glenbard East (4A): Reached 1,000 points in the third game of her third varsity season, scoring 21 point in a 56-23 win over Larkin on Feb. 11; scored 22 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, scored tying basket with 2 seconds left in regulation in a Feb. 9 overtime win over Glenbard North. Kaleb Carter wrote about Huber in January.
  • Thaya Luse, Aurora Christian (1A): Recorded a double-double in all 4 games this week, as Aurora Christian won each game. Against Westmont, 14 points, 13 rebound; Vs. Ridgewood 19 points, 13 rebounds, against Aurora Central Catholic 12 points, 11 rebounds; Then against St. Edward 18 points, 15 rebounds; Also, Aspen Weeks averaged 15.3 ppg and 7 rpg in the same four games.
  • Katy Eidle, Hersey (4A): Scored 28 in a win over Prospect; Had 23 points vs. Elk Grove. Kaleb Carter wrote about Eidle and the Huksies back in Spetmeber.

  • Addisyn Miller, Benton (2A): On consecutive nights scored 29 points vs West Frankfort (2/12) and 24 points vs Murphysboro (2/13), Made 4 3-pointers vs. West Frankfort and 5 vs Murphysboro. Also shot 10-12 from FT line in these two games. Benton is 3-1.
  • Lindley Johnston, Stark County (1A): Scored 25 in a 67 – 43 win over Wethersfield on Feb. 9; The sophomore scored 21 in a 43-39 win over Princeville on Feb. 12.
  • Charlotte Trunk, Sandburg (4A): Trunk averaged 14 points, 10 rebounds while going 2-1, with wins over Stagg and Lockport and a loss to Lincon-Way Central; Also, Erin O’Connor showed versatility, averaging 7 points 8 assists and 8 steals a game during the same three-game stretch; Also, Josie Canellis is averaging 15 ppg and shooting 40% on 3-pt. shot.
  • Laura Strenk, Regina Dominican (2A): averaged 14.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.5 apg, 3.5 spg in two games.
  • Tristian Canfield, Plano (3A); Scored 16 points vs Ottawa Feb. 13; Posted 12 points 7 rebounds, 4 steals vs Sandwich Feb. 11; Added a double-double of 17 points 14 rebounds vs Kaneland on Feb. 9.
  • Nadia Kessling, Henry-Senachwine/Lowpoint-Washburn (1A): Scored 20 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, went 9 of 12 shooting in a loss to Marquette Academy (Ottawa).
  • Trinity Wade, Shelbyville (2A): Career-high 31 points on Saturday the 13th against Dieterich.
  • Mia Simpson, Waukegan (4A): The senior scored 25 points, had 10 rebounds, 9 assists, 5 steals, and 5 blocks in a 62-35 win over Mundelein.
  • Summer Reid, Schaumburg Christian (1A): Poured in 38 points vs. Alden-Hebron on Feb. 12; Put up 20 points vs Parkview Christian on Feb 11; Scored 10 points vs Harvest Christian on Feb 8.
  • Denali Craig-Edwards, Peoria (3A): Sophomore posted 20 points and 10 rebounds against and is carrying a 4.8 G.P.A.; Aaliyah Guyton scored 22, had 5 assists and 3 steals in win over Normal West on Feb. 12. Guard Saniya Tutt nominated for performance Week 1.
  • Audrey Sabol, Nokomis (1A): Averaged 18 ppg and 11.3 rpg in three games, each wins; 14 points, 11 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block in 50-46 win over South Fork; 14 points, 11 rebounds in win over Buffalo Tri-City; 26 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks, 3 steals in win over Cowden Herrick/Beecher City.
  • Mallory Cyrulik, Clinton (2A): Jr. Prep Girls Hoops Top 100 player for the class of 2022, scored her 1,000th point on Thursday, at Central A&M. Mallory is the 11th Lady Maroon to reach this milestone, Mallory finished the game with 26 points, 23 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists, and 2 blocks. She is being recruited by a handful of Division III programs.
  • Kylie Kisgen, Freeburg (2A): In three games against Salem, Columbia, and Breese Central, the sophomore averaged 12.7 points; shot 45.5% from 3 pt line (5 of11); averaged 5.33 steals, 2.7 rpg, 2.33 apg; shot 68.8% from FT line.
  • Emily Smith, Marissa (1A): The senior scored her 1000th point in victory against Gibault (44-29). 12 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 steals; In 54-24 victory over Valmeyer she had 21 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 steals.
  • Sarah Finley, Tri-City/Sangamon Valley (2A): In three games (Nokomis, Lanphier and Athens), the sophomore averaged 18 points, 7.7 rebounds, and shot 53% from the field. She also went 16 of 22 from the free throw line. Scored her team’s first 17 points in a win over Athens on Saturday, Feb. 14.
  • Julia Simon, Wheaton North (4A): Louisville soccer commit is averaging 15.3 ppg and set school steals record (has 215); Also, Claire Hyde hit 5 3-pointers in win over St. Charles North Sunday, Feb. 14.
  • Georgia Duncan, Washington (3A): Averaging 15 ppg and led team to win over Morton.
  • Ava Bardic, Stevenson (4A): 25 points and 6 3’s in 62-52 win over Libertyville.
  • Erin Houpt, Danville (4A): 37 points in an 88-53 win over Bloomington.

Illinois Boys Player of the Week Nominees

  • Jamauri Winfrey, Richwoods (3A): Over three games against Normal West, Danville and Bloomington, averaged 27 ppg and 10 rebs.
  • Nathan Kaufman, Agape Christian: 50 points, 13 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 steals in 80-56 win over Crab Orchard; 20 points, 17 rebounds, 3 blocks in a 79-40 win over Century.
  • Jamar Mays, North Chicago (3A): Averaging 18 ppg and had 9 steals and 8 rebounds in a Feb. 11 win over Antioch.
  • Nathan Valentine, Geneva (4A): 28 points and game-winning, 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat Bartlett. Made 8 3’s in the game.
  • Grant Hyer, Quincy Notre Dame (2A): 12 points, 10 assists vs. Springfield Calvary; 26 points vs Sacred Heart-Griffin.
  • Jack Haynes, Streator (3A): A 6-6 junior, Haynes led the Bulldogs to a 4-0 start (best in over a decade) by averaging a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds per game.

  • Ben Kreiz, Wilmington (2A): Averaged 25 points, 13 rebounds, and 6 block shots per game the past week; Also, Tysen Meets, point guard averaged 17 points, 8 assists, 2 steals, and shot 85% from the free throw line this past week.
  • Gary Clay Jr., Rich Township (4A): 22 points in a loss to Kankakee.
  • Will Meliska, Midland (1A): Averaged 24 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals over three games.
  • Cameron Russell, Indian Creek (1A): Averaged 21 ppg, 8 rpg, 4 apg, and shot 70% from the field while leading Indian Creek to its second consecutive Little 10 tournament championship.
  • Will Dunlap, Orion (2A): Posted back-to-back double-doubles, averaging 14 points, 15 rebounds 2 blocks and 2 steals.
  • Mitch Haake, Mater Dei (2A): Had 14 pts, 7 assists, 6 rebounds in 67-40 win over Highland.
  • Tommie Wiliams, Belleville West (4A): Averaging 16.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.75 apg, 1.75 spg through 4 games; Also, Ty Lampley is averaging 14.5 ppg, 8 rpg, 1.5 spg for 3-1 Belleville West.
  • Ryne Schimmel, Moline (4A): Put up 30 points by shooting 7 of 10 from the 3-point line and 11- of 15 overall in a 88-84 overtime loss on Friday, Feb. 13. night at Galesburg. He also added 4 assists, 3 rebounds, and a steal in the game.
  • Trenton Kyler, DeKalb (4A): 29 points in win over Eastland; 22 in win over Naperville North.

Milestones & Achievements

We’re on the lookout for records and milestones, monster performances and game-winners. Here’s some moments Jakub Rudnik found from Week 2. You can find more info like this by subscribing to the Illinois High School Basketball News Newsletter.

“Their dedication and sacrifice for the team has been admirable and glad to have seen it pay off by being ready to go at the drop of a hat and start this season with the incredible, never before done and probably never done again, feat of going 6-0 in a single week. It was an impressive 6-0 as well beating three top 20 ranked teams in Libertyville, Mother McAuley and Marian Catholic, two wins against reigning 3A state 3rd place team Montini and a win against Glenbrook North.”

Lily Sutter does it all, Rommel free throws push Dunlap past Metamora in Triple OT

Lily Sutter can appear to be in multiple spots at once, and the do-it-all Dunlap junior was big in the first two overtimes against Metamora. Her performance gave the Eagles a chance in an eventual 64-59 road win Saturday afternoon.

Dunlap’s Sophia Remmel’s 21 points led all scorers while Sutter’s 19 seemed to come repeatedly at critical junctures in the triple-overtime victory.

“Lily is a key part to our success this season,” coach Heather Cassady said. “She has stepped out of her sister Elle’s shadow and (is) now making a name for herself. She is a very versatile player who can shoot the three and also create her own shot.”

Kayla Pacha led the way for the Redbirds (5-1) with 16 points. Grace Tyra had 15 points, all on 3-point makes for the Redbirds, and Alanya Terry chipped in 10. The Redbirds knocked down eight 3-pointers.

Remmel already had a 35-point performance in an impressive 57-39 victory over a solid Pekin squad. Pekin has since ended Morton’s 64-game Mid-Illini conference win streak.

“We are clicking right now,” Cassady said. “This team is working because we have good ball handlers, several shooters, and play great defense. Im very proud of the effort and focus so far but it’s still early

Third Overtime

Remmel found Tanaya Cummimngs for a cutting bucket as Dunlap seemed to finally make the clinching bucket, only for Tyra to hit one of her many threes to pull Metamora within a point, 60-59.

But Remmel made up for some earlier missed free throws, making each of her four attempts from the line in the third OT to clinch the victory.

“Sophia had a tough few minutes but overall she had a great game,” Cassady said. “So far this season she is averaging 20.5 points per game.”

Second Overtime

The teams traded buckets, with a Brooklyn Marshall basket putting Metamora up a point. Remmell tied it with a free throw, and though both teams had their chances to win, neither team could get a shot to go down as the score sat at 54-54 going to the third extra period.

Overtime

Sutter hit each of Dunlap’s two shots from the floor in the first overtime, grabbed several critical rebounds and blocked Pacha with the Eagles leading by four with under 40 seconds remaining. Unfortunately for the Eagles, missed free throws haunted them, and a Katie Lalumandier three-pointer with just over seven seconds left send the game to a second OT with the score 50-50.

Julia Sollberger made several big buckets in the overtimes, scoring 6 of her 8 points after regulation.

Fourth quarter

Sutter knocked down a bucket in the lane in the opening minute of the fourth to give Dunlap its first lead since the second quarter, and Remmel followed with another basket to push Dunlap ahead 38-35.

Marshall and Pacha sank consecutive shots for the Redbirds as Metamora tied the game back up 41-all.

Sutter sank two free throws with 1:39 to push Dunlap ahead 43-41. After a defensive stop, the Eagles took a timeout with 1:11 to go.

Metamora stripped Remmel off the drive, and took a timeout of its own with 1:00 left. Alana Terry, fouled right out of the timeout, san two freebies to tie it 43-43.

Metamora then stripped Remmel again with just over 10 seconds remaining off a double-team as a leaping Katy Ramage produced the turnover.

Pacha, rummaging for a loose ball, was fouled in the chaos, sending her to the free throw line, where she missed the front end of a 1-and-1. After a timeout with 1.9 seconds left, the Redbirds defense kept Remmel from getting off a shot from around half-court to send the game into overtime.

Third quarter

A Remmel floater pulled Dunlap back within three points at 29-26, only for Tyra to sink a triple. Remmel responded in-turn with a left-corner trey to pull Dunlap’s deficit back to 32-29.

After several scoreless minutes, Bree Erickson’s corner 3-pointer capped a 13-3 run for Dunlap, who pulled within a point (33-32) as Metamora went into the fourth up 35-34.

Second quarter

Russell scored 8 points in the second quarter and Tyra hit multiple 3-pointers in the first half as Metamora took a 29-19 lead into the half.

Pacha demonstrated a soft touch with a nice left-handed shot in the lane and Izzy Vandeschraaf followed another defensive stop with two free throws to push Metamora ahead 16-11.

Bree Erickson scored 5 of Dunlap’s 8 points of the second quarter, as Metamora held the Eagles in-check most of the way, as she and Sutter each knocked down 3-pointer in the period.

First Quarter

The Redbirds’ hard-nosed defense kept the Eagles from getting clean looks off the bounce. After initially running extra bodies at Remmel off the bounce, the sophomore Dunlap guard picked up her first bucket with a runner in the lane as Dunlap trailed 9-6. A triple from Remmel was the difference as the Eagles took an 11-9 lead into the second.

*Several stats were changed and quotes from coach Heather Cassady were added after publishing.

Watch her go: Altamont freshman Grace Nelson Scoring in bunches

Altamont freshman Grace Allen

Look up on the basketball court, and much of the gym sees just one side of Altamont freshman Grace Nelson:

Her back.

Nelson, the 2019 IESA state champion in the 100-meter hurdles and long jump, and a medal-winner in the 4×100 relay and 400-meter dash, was a member of Altamont’s 1A team title as a seventh grader.

This season, she’s off and running, using her pace and speed for the Altamont Indians to score 151 points over her first four games, including two 40-plus scoring outings. 

Stepping onto the varsity floor at home against Neoga in her varsity debut, she recorded a 40-point, 6-rebound game. Since, she has racked up totals of 34, 36 and 41, in that order.

Provided photo of Grace Nelson

“I would describe myself as an aggressive player, fast, just get it and go,” Nelson said. 

That’s not to say she doesn’t score in a number of other ways. She has an improving three-point stroke, honed from time spent with her Indiana Elite Havoc travel club. And she has begun to work well with teammates coming off screens and moving within Altamont’s productive transition offense. 

“I’m comfortable because they all know I can get to the basket and score,” Nelson said. “So they see an open opportunity for me down low, they’ll get me the pass. Playing together so long we’ve got good team chemistry.”

Excelling in a small town (Altamont’s population is approximately 2,300), Nelson hasn’t exactly taken local squads by surprise, as her excellence in youth basketball has been well-documented. Just weeks into her high-school career, she’s living up to the hype — reaching scoring marks most varsity stars will never achieve. 

“This is my 15th year as head varsity coach, and I have to say, coaching junior high, JV and on, she’s one of the most complete (players) that I’ve seen,” Altamont coach Katie Lurkins said. “Not just that I’ve coached, but I’ve seen in the area.”

Lurkins went so far as to say that Nelson’s success brought to mind that of former Mount Carmel and Indiana University great Tyra Buss.

“She has big goals,” Lurkins said. “The upside is I really think it’s the knowledge and the belief that she can do it. Some people had some question marks and some speculation about whether she was going to be the big deal at (this) level. I think her coming out at this level is going to push her.”

Nelson has been complemented thus far by talented teammates like fellow guard Brooke Runge, a senior and Parkland College signee. 

“I think we work pretty together pretty good and we’re a fast team so we transition a lot and get a lot of our points on transition layups,” Nelson said. 

Nelson said it was a shock to cross the 40-point threshold in her first game. Since then, however, she has come into a steady comfort on the floor each time out for now 3-1 Altamont, leading to her being awarded Illinois-Basketball.com’s first Girls Player of the Week distinction.

Nelson’s stats through four games: 37.8 points, 6 rebounds, 4.5 steals and 2 assists per game. She’s shooting 37.5 percent from three (9-of-24), 58.5 percent from the field (55-of-94) and 82.1% from the free throw line (32-of-39). She’s creating scoring chances for her team with prolific consistency, often by turning deflections into transition points.

“I’m pretty comfortable,” Nelson said. “I can finish most of my drives, finish strong and up with contact.”

Finding that continued success is something that Lurkins is confident Nelson will strive for. A combination of Nelson’s school pride, doing small things and her commitment to watching game film are all reasons Lurkins sees Nelson’s game only continuing to grow.

“She puts the ball cage away … she takes the laundry basket on and off the bus,” Lurkins said.

Getting good grades and being involved in non-basketball activities are just a few of the ways Lurkins said Nelson is a balanced kid. 

“As much success as she’s had on the court, she understands it’s her success and her team success is equally important,” Lurkins said. “This start gives her the encouragement and the energy to continue to push forward and push for those personal and team goals.”

Illinois High School Basketball Top Performers: February 1-8

Over the weekend, Illinois-Basketball.com sent emails out to the vast majority of coaches in the state of Illinois looking for the some of the top performances from players in the state.

An email was sent to every coach with an email listed on the IHSA website. Any emails omitted can be pointed out to the writer at kalebcarter4256@gmail.com to be added to our database. More than twice as many boys coaches responded as girls coaches.

Week 1 Players of the Week:

Offensive efforts stood out in the form of herculean displays by Altamont freshman Grace Nelson and Ridgewood’s Ganon Greenman. They are your inaugural Players of the Week.

Illinois Girls Player of the Week Nominees

  • POTW: Grace Nelson, Altamont (1A): 40 points, 6 rebounds as a freshman in her first varsity game, a 68-65 loss to Neoga; 34 points, 6 rebounds in a 69-51 win over Farina South Central; 36 points, 9 steals in a 77-55 win over St. Teresa.
  • Alyssa Crenshaw, Dundee-Crown (4A): 30 points, 20 rebounds in 54-53 win over South Elgin, including last two put-back buckets to end the game.
  • Taylor Charles, Burlington Central (3A): 20 points, 18 rebounds in her Rockets debut (previously played at Montini), a 63-60 win over Batavia.
  • Sarah Finley, Buffalo Tri-City/Sangamon Valley (2A): 30 points, 6 blocks, 4 rebounds in Feb. 6 56-50 win over Williamsville.
  • Germayia Wallace, Alton (4A): 16 points, 7 rebounds against Collinsville.
  • Kim Stuerke, Buffalo Grove, (4A): 25 points, seven 3-pointers, 8 rebounds, 3 assists in OT loss Rolling Meadows.
  • Emily Galvan, Rolling Meadows (4A) 32 points, five 3-pointers, 5 rebounds, 4 assists in overtime win or Buffalo Grove.
  • Tessa Towers, Batavia (4A): 20 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks.
  • Claire Hyde, Wheaton North (4A): 17 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals against Naperville Central.
  • Sophie Swanson, Barrington (4): 21 points, in 18 minutes of play, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals in 55-33 in over Schaumburg.
  • Whitney Zumbahlen, Newton (2A): 11 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 assists in 40-24 win over Dieterich on Feb. 5; 25 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocks in 61-49 win over Vandalia on Feb. 6.

Illinois Boys Player of the Week Nominees

  • POTW: Ganon Greenman, Ridgewood (3A): School-record 51 points in win over West Central; 37 in win over Kewanee.
  • Niko Powe, Kewanee (2A): 34 points, 3 assists and 4 of 4 on 3-point shooting in game against Ridgewood.
  • Xavier Gagnepain, Sycamore (3A): 33 points, 10 rebounds in loss to Rock Falls on Feb. 5; 18 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals in win over Genoa-Kingston on Feb. 6.
  • Sean Gallery, Maine South (4A): 17 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists in 47-36 win over Loyola; 12 points, 5 assists, 2 rebounds in 64-46 win over Deerfield. Marko Anderson also posted a stat line of 24 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists in the win over Deerfield.
  • Erik Rimas, Vernon Hills (3A): 29 points, 9 rebounds, six 3-pointers made in 81-60 loss to Evanston. Rimas is a football recruit with an FCS offer from the likes of Eastern Illinois to play tight end or lineman.
  • Aiden Whitlock, Eldorado (2A): 21 points, 11 rebounds (5 offensive), 4 assists, 2 blocks against West Frankfort.
  • Jaden Schutt, Yorkville Christian (1A): 23 points, 10 rebounds, 2 dunks in win over Sandwich.
  • JT Welch, Bloomington Central Catholic (2A): 28 points, 10 assists in 73-70 loss at Rock Island Feb. 6; 24 points in 64-61 loss to Moline.
  • Kaleb Applebey, Mount Carmel (2A): 31 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks, in 2-point loss to Mt. Vernon.
  • Ethan Roberts, Hersey (4A): 20.5 ppg, 6 rpg, 4 assists through two games.
  • Cam Russell, Indian Creek (1A): 25 points in win over Hinckley-Big Rock; 18 in win over Genoa-Kingston and shot 75% combined over the two games.
  • Andrew Marincic, Elmwood (1A): 31 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists against Lewistown Feb. 5.
  • Gabe Calhoun, Dunlap (2A): 25 points, 11 rebounds, 8 steals, 4 assists in 67-61 win over Peoria Christian.
  • Daniel Duncan, Peoria Christian (1A): 30 points in 67-62 loss to Illinois Valley.
  • Conor Enright, Lake Forest (3A): 28 points in 71-60 win over Mundelein.
  • Luke Braman, Roanoke-Benson (1A): 29 points in win over Midland Feb. 5.
  • Max Christie, Rolling Meadows (4A): 24 points, 10 rebounds, 6 blocks in 68-63 win over Buffalo Grove
  • John Poulakidas, Neuqua Valley (4A): 28 points in 65-53 win over Timothy Christian.
  • Zach Cleveland, Normal (4A): 13 points, 20 rebounds 9 assists, 4 blocks in win over Bloomington Central Catholic
  • Darius Clemons, Stevenson (4A): 24 points, 14 rebounds in 63-59 win over Streamwood.
  • Mason Accidentale, Plano (3A): Combined 45 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals and 9 three-pointers made in two games.

Hersey – Wheeling Notebook: Fendley, former player Christell reflect on first varsity matchup

Photo via Wheeling athletics.

The Hersey Huskies were dominant from the start of Saturday’s 55-15 win over hosts Wheeling, racing out to a 31-0, second-quarter lead. But the score was far from the most interesting thing going on between two teams playing in their first game of the season.

Longtime Huskies coach Mary Fendley stood masked up, across from counterpart and first-year Wheeling head coach Beth Christell.

Their relationship? Former teacher and pupil.

Fendley, who coached Christell for the Huskies in 2000-2003, got the best of her former player Saturday, but she is excited for more of what’s to come in future Mid-Suburban League competition against her colleague and one-time standout guard. The Daily Herald covered Christell’s hiring as head coach.

Illinois-Basketball.com caught up with both Christell and Fendley after the game and asked about their teams, their relationship with one another and their expectations for the future.

Photo via Wheeling athletics

Q: First of all, just how nice is it to be out on the court again playing in live-game action considering the circumstances in the world?

A (Fendley): I am absolutely thrilled to be coaching. A few short weeks ago it did not seem like this would happen. I told my girls that I even appreciate having to drive the bus while listening to tone deaf singers. (Seriously, they are amazing athletes. Singing – not so much.)

Q: How satisfied were you with the hot start and what’s the overall attitude of this team heading into a hectic few weeks of games?

A: I am blessed to have an amazingly talented group of athletes. The last few days at practice, things have started to click. I think we have a lot of offensive firepower, and am hopeful that a few of the girls will be ‘on’ at any given time. I think we all appreciate the opportunity we have to play the game we love. And, we just want to make the most of it.

Q: What years did you coach Beth Christell, and what type of player was she then? Knowing she’s been part of Wheeling’s program a few years, did you notice any changes to the way they play this year compared to years past when she was an assistant?

A: Beth was a strong guard whose atheticism made her super versatile. She could hit threes but could slash through the paint when overplayed.

The past few years I have been so impressed with how she has coached her JV team. She has shown a great combination of patience on the sideline with her girls while also motivating them to perform their best. Honestly, I was able to notice her more when I wasn’t coaching against her!

Q: What do you think folks who follow Wheeling basketball can expect from her leading that program, and how much are you looking forward to coaching against her in the future?

Beth is a competitor. So, Wheeling fans can know that she will continue to work hard to keep the program improving.

Q: How was it coaching against her tonight overall and did it produce any unique thoughts or feelings?

I appreciate being able to be in a league with Beth and so many other coaches who are passionate about what we do. She is a great representative of Wheeling, District 214, and the MSL. I probably sound cheesy, but I’m proud of Beth. She has done everything the right way to get to this point as a varsity coach. I have no doubt that she will do great things.

Coach Christell

Q: How nice is it to be out on the court again playing in live-game action considering the circumstances in the world?

A: With the uncertainty of most athletics this year, it’s been a really tough year for the girls. For their physical and mental well-being, they’ve needed some normalcy, and I’m so grateful we’re able to do whatever it takes to have a season this year.

Q: What’s the overall attitude of your team heading into a hectic few weeks of games and how much are you all focused on growth in a short season?

We can definitely feel the rush of the season; however, as a coaching staff of a group with no seniors, our push has continuously been progress. We are using this year to grow our understanding of the game and improve our team goals and priorities. Knowing that I have all of these girls back next season is a great feeling for our program.

Q: What years did you play for Mary, and what do you remember most vividly about her coaching style and playing for her? I read your father was a coach at Hersey a long time, how deep does that connection run deep to Hersey athletics?

A: I played for Fen and Barthel from 2000-2003 and remember that they always had a great balance of high expectations and fun. We did so many fun team activities to help build relationships with each other, but also was expected to compete during practice. Hersey High School was such an important part of my life. My father and mother both coached and taught at the school (dad, basketball and business teacher, mom, cheerleading, swimming and deaf and hard of hearing teacher for 32 years at Hersey). So many of the reasons I teach high school math and coach at the high school level are because of my interactions with the amazing teachers and coaches at Hersey. I will always be grateful for what Hersey has given to me and how it has helped make me who I am today.

Q: Knowing you’ve been part of Wheeling’s program a few years, have you tried to institute any broad changes or are you just building on what you’ve done as an assistant? Perhaps building on things she taught you as a coach?

A: The main changes I have tried to initiate at Wheeling has been to improve the numbers and communication with our feeder program. We have some great people in charge of the feeder program, and I have high hopes, that with higher numbers of kids interested in girls basketball at the middle school age, we can only improve our program outlook in the years to come. The other thing I’ve been striving to improve is to get our girls to see the importance of details and competing with each other. Both of these things were taught to me at Hersey and throughout my playing in college. If the girls can understand the little things/details of a basketball game, it will lead to bigger things. And the idea that competition among a team is a good thing; the sky is the limit to how far Wheeling Girls Basketball can go.

Q: How often do you and Mary still communicate as colleagues in the league?

A: Fen and I haven’t communicated tons up until this year. Before a few years ago, I was coaching at other schools (Elgin and Stevenson) and it isn’t until the past few years that I came back into the MSL. Now, especially as a varsity head coach, I see her and Barthel as people I can go to for anything. I’m honored I can call them colleagues in the league.

Q: What do you think folks who follow Wheeling basketball can expect from you leading that program and how much are you looking forward to coaching against Mary in the future?

A: This is a tough year. With a shortened season and no seniors, we really see this year as a pre-season to the 2021-2022 season. Our coaching staff have preached to the girls that they need to have something that sticks out to Wheeling basketball. No one will make every shot. No one will never have a break down on defense. However, hustle, aggressiveness, attitude and effort are things we can control every single game. With some more time, practice and competition among our team, I’m excited to consistently improve against great teams, like Hersey, in the MSL. It’s not going to happen overnight, but we’re ready for the challenge.

Q: How was it coaching against Mary tonight overall and did it produce any unique thoughts or feelings?

A: Coaching against Fen and Barthel tonight definitely brought up some emotions. On one hand, I felt like I didn’t belong. For women, who I looked up to for so long and have put so many hours into the game of basketball, I felt not in their league.  On the other hand, I was honored to be coaching at the varsity level and to be able to set goals for myself and my program, similar to what Fen and Barthel have accomplished at Hersey. I know they have coached a lot of talented basketball athletes and to be the first alumni to coach against Fen, has been a privilege.

Q: Finally, as you guys grow and play games in quick succession, what types of things are you looking for from your team and who do you expect to make big strides in the coming weeks?

A: With the shortened season, we are looking to make improvements. Every game, every practice. We’re not going to go from scoring 15 points in a game to scoring 60 overnight. But if we remind ourselves of our goals and make small improvements day by day, that’s success for us! We reminded our girls after the first game last night that we’re a team that needs everyone to pitch in. We’re not necessarily going to have a girl that scores 20 or 25 points a night. We’re excited for our junior leadership in Nikki Niznik, Sara Aranda, Ashley Yasak and Julia Kawa, and are encouraged by some talented freshmen coming up in Maya Huelsman and Marlena Miloucheva. The future looks bright and our girls are ready to compete.

Notable stat lines from the game

Hersey Team Stats: 16 assists; 24 of 41 shooting.

Mary Kate Fahey, 14 points; 3 assists

Avery Larson, 4 assists; 5 rebounds

Katy Eidle, 12 points; 3 assists; 3 steals

Mary McGrath 13 points; 5 assists ; 4 rebounds; 6 of 6 FG

For Wheeling, junior Sara Aranda was 2 of 3 from beyond the 3-point arc and freshman Maya Huelsman scored 4 points in her first game.

Fourth-quarter Paris run puts away Sullivan

A long run in the middle of the fourth quarter was the difference for Paris in a 50-39 road win at Sullivan Saturday afternoon.

Madyson Rigdon led the Tigers with 12 points and 3 steals, Kendra Young added 10 points, 11 rebounds and Kaitlyn Coombs scored 10. Trinity Tingley totaled 5 assists for the Tigers.

Emily White scored 14, knocking down 3 triples and Alaina Moore had 11 for Sullivan. Jerra Goad, who was effective getting to the free throw line in the early going, finished with 8 points.

Sullivan fell to 2-1 with a loss and Paris moved to 2-0.

Fourth quarter

Paris cut the score to as close as 35-30 before a quick 12-0 run by the Tigers was capped by several layups and a Young three-pointer out of Paris’ 4-corners, late-game offense as they surged ahead 47-30.

Third quarter

Sullivan’s defense continued to slow the Tigers as it had in the final two minutes of the second, continuing a run that cut a 28-13 Paris second-quarter lead to a 28-24 deficit.

One big sequence in the third quarter saw Rigdon hit the front end of a 1-and-1, only to miss the second before Kendra Young grabbed the offensive board and made the put-back, extending Paris’ lead to 35-25 with just under two minutes left.

The Tigers led 35-28 going to the fourth.

Second quarter

The teams exchanged a trio of possessions consecutively with made three-pointers, with Alaina Moore knocking down the one for Sullivan.

Paris went on a 10-0 run with stifling defense in the quarter, only for Sullivan to go on a 6-0 run of its own to cut its deficit to 28-19 at half.

First quarter

Paris got things going in transition with several steals to race out to a 9-3 lead. The Tigers’ man-to-man defense challenged nearly every shot in the early going.

Sullivan put in its trapping zone defense about five minutes into the game, something Paris struggled to deal with the rest of the first quarter until the final minute, in which Paris hit two buckets in the lane for a 15-10 lead after a period. Fourth-quarter

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