Each week, I’ll be highlighting the best team and individual performances from around the state that stood out in girls basketball. It could be a state record, an amazing highlight or anything in between.
Stats are critical to highlight these players and teams. Get in touch to submit a girls team or player at any point during the 2021-22 season. I can be reached at KalebCarter4256@gmail.com or on Twitter @Kaleb_M_Carter.
Editor’s note: Stats and records are accurate through Sunday, Feb. 13.
Notable Week 13 Team Performances
When I watched Whitney Young against Stevenson at Fremd’s early December invite, the Dolphins’ talent was achingly apparent. I’d previously seen it in spurts on a summer day at the Morton College Summer League.
Stevenson’s cohesiveness was light years ahead of what the Dolphins showed that day, leading to a 69-60 win. The Dolphins at that point found themselves 2-3, having lost three games to teams that are now in the Illinois-Basketball.com Top 25.
Saturday, the Dolphins claimed a city title at Credit Union 1 Arena, in a 57-55 triumph over a Kenwood team with three current senior Division I commits in Brianna McDaniel (Texas A&M), Whitney Dunn (Loyola) and DonYeil Bolton (Alabama State).
“I think the losses that we took earlier in the season were needed so we could be prepared for games like this, because at one point we were down 17-6,” junior Skylar Jones said. “I think we needed to stay composed, slow down and get our groove back.”
Jones was in takeover mode in the third quarter, with her defense (five steals) helping jump-start the Dolphins and leading to easy buckets in transition and the half-court. She helped Whitney Young dictate the pace it wanted as they surged ahead.
“Her mental is on a whole other level right now,” Whitney Young coach Krissy Harper said. “How she was earlier in the season, how she came out slow, that first possession she missed that left-handed layup … She would have crumbled. But she held it together. She couldn’t really find her rhythm in the first half, but she definitely came through for us in the second half.”
Every Dolphins player played with assured confidence that showed their belief in one another and what they were doing collectively. Tanila Marshall’s defense around the rim deterred the Broncos. Olivia Vick provided a shooting threat and a cool under-pressure ball-handling presence. Freshman Alana Shields hit timely free throws and handled the ball well against Kenwood’s pressure.
After an ice-cold first half, freshman Destiny Jackson rose to the occasion in the second half with some pull-up jumpers, and added rebounding and a passing touch. Maia Downes’ crucial 10 points in the first half kept the Dolphins in the hunt.
“Maia Downes was the silent assassin,” Harper said. “Seriously. She’s the one who kept us in the game, undoubtedly. … I’m so proud of her. Her being a senior, I really believe she took all of this in and she wanted to go out with a bang.”
Every Dolphins player has meshed as the season advanced. At the time of Saturday’s win, Whitney Young had won 12 consecutive games. That run started with a 50-44 win over Loyola Academy on Dec. 30.
“We’re light years ahead,” Harper said of where the Dolphins were in December.
“We all started to mix,” Jones said. “We all started to get on the same page. When you saw us against Stevenson, I don’t think we were all on the same page. We were having mental and internal issues, and I think over time they started flattening out and we started to get on the same page.”
The Dolphins are highly likely to face Kenwood again. Soon.
A possible sectional semifinal matchup looms between the two.
“We should definitely be grateful, but not take it for granted because Kenwood is definitely a very good team,” Jones said. “We’re going to end up playing them again in state (playoffs), so I don’t think we should take them for granted at all.”
Should the Dolphins play to their full potential, sink more shots than they did in the comeback win over Kenwood…
And should a motivated Kenwood bring their A-game and prove ready to weather the storm…
Tuesday, Feb. 22 at Lyons Township High School should be a great deal of fun.
Defeated Dundee-Crown, 56-26, and Crystal Lake Central, 42-16, and sealed the deal on the Fox Valley Conference championship.
The Fox Valley Conference has had a different girls basketball champion in each of the past 5 years.— Alex Kantecki (@akantecki) February 10, 2022
Went undefeated, 14-0, in the Illinois Central 8; beat Joliet Catholic, 45-40, and Manteno, 64-26.
The varsity (24-4,14-0) defeated Manteno 64-26 tonight to finish the conference season undefeated! Leaders: Mady Kibelkis (18 pts), Jenna Hunter (16 pts), Danielle Piper (9 pts), and Marissa Velasco (8 pts). Great showing tonight by our student body - thanks for the support!— Peotone High School Girls Basketball (@peotonegirlsbb) February 10, 2022
Earned Kaskaskia Division title with a 10-0 mark when they defeated Valmeyer 49-42. Also beat New Athens, 46-26.
Here they are:— Dupo Lady Tiger Basketball (@DupoLadyTigerBB) February 11, 2022
Your 20 win, undefeated Kaskaskia Division Conference Champions, the 2022 Dupo Lady Tigers!!!
49-42 win tonight over Valmeyer to seal the deal. pic.twitter.com/DNsIVAywxs
Blasted Belvidere, 61-8, and Rockford East, 68-23. to run its winning streak to 13 games heading into the postseason. Went undefeated in NIC-10.
Won NUIC North with a 46-28 win over Pecatonica and defeated Durand, 47-24.
25 yrs is a long time… Orangeville Lady Broncos ended the drought tonight and win the NUIC North with a 46-28 win vs Pecatonica. “We before me” mentality was the constant for these girls all year. These girls also set the single season win total finishing the year 27-4. #benice— OrangevilleGirlsBasketball@8675309 (@OrangevilleGir2) February 11, 2022
Defeated Plainfield North, 47-46, and Bloomington, 61-32.
Defeated Deerfield, 72-65, to avenge an earlier loss and win the CSL title game, led by Emily Pape’s 31-point, 13-rebound performance.
Thumped Rockridge, 50-19, and Class 2A No. 1 Quincy Notre Dame, 73-49.
Brimfield (25-4) 50 Rockridge 19. Ella Lune 24 pts, 14 rbs. Elynn Peterson 10 pts. Next stop Alwood regional Monday at 6pm.🏀🏆— @Brimfield Lady Indians (@brimfield_lady) February 11, 2022
The Griffins defeated Argo, 53-31, and Plainfield South, 56-44. Sophomore Lana Kerley had 26 points and assists in one of the wins.
Notable Week 13 Individual Performances
Ariana Warren, Arcola, Sr.
Scored 37 on 15-of-22 shooting and reached 1,000 points in a 78-26 win over Chrisman.
Helped team get to NTC title game.
Varsity girls win 78-26 over chrisman. Advance to the semi final of regionals against armstrong. @ArianaWarren9 with a career high 37 pts. That puts her at 1,000 career points! 9th girl in our program to achieve this. @ill_hoop_scores @clikasNG @hrpreps @ngpreps— Arcola Girls Varsity Basketball (@ArcolaGirls) February 13, 2022
Arcola's Ariana Warren was 15-22 (.682) from the field a career-high 37 pts and in the process finished with exactly 1,000 pts. Arcola routed Chrisman 78-26 in Class 1A girls regional at Arcola. The Lady Riders play at Hume Monday against Armstrong at 7:30 p.m.— Mike Monahan (@MikeMonahanRH) February 13, 2022
Sophia Hoffman, Carlyle, Fr.
Scored 19 points and added six steals, four assists and four rebounds in a 54-35 win over Wesclin.
Posted 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting, three rebounds, two assists and two steals in a 67-36 win over Red Bud.
Tessa Crawford, Jersey, So.
25 points, including five made three-pointers, six rebounds, four assists and four steals versus Cahokia.
18 points, four three-pointers, four rebounds, two assists and three steals against Waterloo.
Alyssa Seymour, Chester, Sr.
Totaled 30 points and 19 rebounds in 72-36 victory against Sparta.
Added 13 points, 13 rebounds in another game.
Alyssa Hughes, St. Charles North, Jr.
Scored 30 with nine rebounds, four assists and three steals in a 56-54 win over Batavia.
Was named unanimous DuKane all-conference.
Lauren Miller, Trinity, So.
31 points and 11 rebounds versus De La Salle.
Blazer end the regular season 66-49 vs. De la salle— Trinity Girls Basketball (@TrinityGirlsBa1) February 9, 2022
Ciarra Richardson finished 2 ast shy of a triple double!15pts 18rebs 8ast.4 stls
Lauren Miller finished with Another big double double to close out the regular season!31pts(66%FG 2/2 from 3)11 rebounds!
NEXT UP: Aspire Chicago https://t.co/UW85s71eG0
Torrie Kortan, St. Charles East, Sr.
27 points in a win over Wheaton North.
Kammie Ludwig, Geneseo, Sr.
Scored 37 points versus Moline as Geneseo clinched the Maple Leafs’ third-consecutive Western Big Six title and helped Geneseo win its 29th game, a school record.
Abbey Schreacke, Quincy Notre Dame, Jr.
Scored 27 in a 45-35 win over Jeff City Helias (MO).
Posted 34 points, 10 rebounds in a loss to Brimfield.
Totaled 20 points in a win over Liberty.
Bella Dudley, Tri-County, Sr.
23 points, six rebounds, five steals and four assists in a win over Decatur Lutheran.