Illinois Girls High School Basketball Rankings: Week of January 9

By Kaleb Carter

The first girls basketball rankings are an attempt to contextualize just how every team in the state stacks up with one another, regardless of the size of the school. Not an easy process by any means, the time spent agonizing over placement, evaluation of best wins and toughest losses was not a process taken lightly.

Inevitably, teams will be in front of opponents they’ve taken losses to. Transitive property is only going to tell you so much. And as far as I’m concerned, several 3A squads have a good enough resume to be considered among the state’s best, even over some 4A squads that have beaten one another up.

There will be a lot of movement on these in the coming weeks, don’t you fret. Sound off in our replies as to who you think belongs and which teams deserve a better ranking. 

1. Stevenson (18-1)

They’ve got size. They’ve got skill. They’ve got wins over the likes of Whitney Young, Barrington (twice) and St. Charles North, and their lone loss is to two-loss Loyola Academy. Trio of Simone Sawyer, Emory Klatt, and Ava Bardic lead the way.

2. Benet (15-2)

Would have had the top spot if not for a loss to a surging Geneva squad. Has some of the most impressive wins in the state over the likes of Kenwood, Homewood-Flossmoor, Lyons Township and Naperville North. Lone in-state loss is to Geneva. Morgan Demos and Lenee Beaumont formidable.

3. Kenwood (10-3)

Good, dominant win over Butler College Prep and beat Joliet West. Two of the three losses are to out-of-state opponents. The lone in-state loss to Benet. Kenwood will be hard to beat with Brianna McDaniel back.

4. Loyola Academy (18-2)

As far as these rankings go, Loyola can claim victory over the top team in the state. Angelina Giordano leads a team that is better than expected after losing many seniors last season. Losses to Whitney Young and Montini. 

5. Naperville North (18-2)

Strong start to season, but blips came in losses to Sandburg and Marist. Addition of Saint Louis commit Kenzie Hare have made Huskies bonafide state contender. Big wins over Geneva, Barrington, Whitney Young and Lyons.

6. Sycamore (15-0)

Defeated a Bolingbrook squad that is looking to get healthy, but forget that for a moment: The Spartans just won’t lose. Evyn Carrier provides the size while St. Thomas commit Faith Feuerbach adds a shooting punch. Also handed Nazareth its lone loss and beat Geneva.

7. Hersey (17-3)

Michigan commit and junior guard Katy Eidle is one of the top playmakers in the state, and Megan Mrowicki is an excellent complement to Eidle. 

8. Geneseo (17-0)

Providence commit Kammie Ludwig has been one of the Western Big 6’s top scorers for years. She leads an undefeated Maple Leafs team that recently won the large school State Farm Classic tournament by defeating Washington.

9. Joliet West (8-1)

Last played on Dec. 18, but have dominated most opponents behind the strength of Division-I-caliber Grace Walsh (Air Force signee) and Lisa Thompson.

10. Winnebago (19-0)

A 67-60 overtime win over Fremd is ‘Bago’s most impressive victory, but the team also has a 57-42 win over Paris. This makes Winnebago the prospective 2A title favorite, with a few challengers that come to mind (Paris, Butler College Prep, Quincy Notre Dame).

11. Fremd (15-4)

Don’t look now but with a healthy Brianna Wooldridge (IUPUI commit) and possible return of Ella Todd (Division I offers pouring in), the Vikings have shaken off a slow-for-them start and seem poised for some late-season magic. Narrowly clipped Conant Saturday.

12. Marist (12-4)

Kira Chivers is a leader, and a cast of supporters keeps Marist among south Chicago’s stronger squads. All its losses are to teams higher in the rankings. Bested a good Lyons Township team by 24. 

13. Bolingbrook (6-3)

Banged up, have played without Kennedi Perkins and Tahj-Monet Bloom. Health will play big factor in state-caliber team’s potential. A healthy Raiders squad is as good as anyone in the state. Hard to rank given current situation. 

14. Lyons Township (13-3)

Winona State commit Hailey Markworth has the Lions playing a fun brand of attacking basketball. Took a heavy loss to Marist at the Grow The Game Tournament but also has a win over Fremd. Has beaten Edwardsvillle, Montini, Fremd, Downers Grove North and York. Hailey Markworth leads, but Lyons is strong throughout. 

15. Nazareth (13-1)

Defeated strong 3A program Peoria 54-32. Wins over Montini and Whitney Young. Danielle Scully, Grace Carstensen, Caroline Workman and Amalia Dray make for a strong core.

16. Geneva (11-4)

Best wins came over Benet, Deerfield and Batavia. Three of its losses came against teams in front of them in the poll. Edged Wheaton North Saturday, 54-51.

17. Edwardsville (15-4)

Sydney Harris has caught fire as of late, but Tigers fell in both of its game to Chicagoland teams (Marist and Lyons). 

18. Barrington (11-5)

Sophie Swanson is one of the states best scorers and the Fillies have shown a knack for playing exciting, close games against most good teams they encounter. Best win is Hersey (split versus Huskies in back-to-back games), also beat Carmel Catholic.

19. Okawville (18-0)

This is the one that’s going to get me into hot water, but the Rockets remain undefeated with wins over Alton, Freeburg, O’Fallon and Mascoutah. Should Okawville lose to a small school foe, their ranking will and should take a hit, but for now, Okawville is having an amazing season. 

It’s a school of under 200 students for hell’s sake. There are absolutely larger school Chicago-area teams that can beat Okawville, but for now, the Rockets are taking care of business and are beating who’s in front of them. Thrashed a Carlyle team that came into the game Thursday with a 16-2 record.

20. Morton (14-2)

Katie Krupa has the Potters playing at a top-notch level in 3A once more. The top of the Mid-Illini elevates the play of Morton, Metamora and Washington. Losses are to Metamora and Geneseo, but has beaten Washington and Batavia. Has an intriguing matchup with Peoria scheduled for this week. 

21. Downers Grove North (17-2)

Comfortable in a low-scoring game, The Trojans get a great deal from Ryan Wendt and Kate Gross. Beat York by a point Saturday. 

22. Whitney Young (10-5)

Dropped games at O’Fallon to O’Fallon and Edwardsville to start the year, but every loss is to a team ranked higher than it. Has a roster with high-potential. Has beaten Loyola Academy, Carmel, Homewood-Flossmoor and Butler College Prep.

23. Mattoon (17-1)

Mallory Ramage, a senior Loyola signee, makes Mattoon as dangerous as any school in the southern half of the state. The Green Wave has fallen to Lincoln and Kloe Froebe, but has strong wins over Mahomet-Seymour (twice) and Teutopolis, and beat Lincoln the first time around. 

24. Prospect (14-3)

A remarkably balanced team that is led by Andie Will, Prospect has losses to St. Charles East and Fremd. Good wins over Hersey and Saint Viator (twice). Took a loss to Maine South on Saturday but had won 13 straight prior.

25. Willowbrook (13-1)

Sophie Sullivan led the Warriors to a hot start with a great win over Montini and its lone loss is to Wheaton North.

Teams to watch

Butler College Prep, Quincy Notre Dame, Alton, Deerfield, O’Fallon, Washington, Metamora, Peoria Notre Dame, Peoria, Carmel Catholic, Fieldcrest, Libertyville, Paris, Providence Catholic, Sandburg, Normal, Montini, Sandburg, Lincoln-Way Central, Marian Catholic, Civic Memorial, Homewood-Flossmoor, Springfield, Lincoln, River Ridge/Scales Mound.

First Teams Out

Deerfield (15-2)

Beat Lake Zurich on Dec. 30, but has been on pause. One of the higher-powered offenses in the state, Deerfield is a threat to score 70 every night. Fell to Downers Grove North and Geneva.

Alton (12-3)

Young team with a great deal of talent, has beaten Breese Mater Dei and O’Fallon. Lost to undefeated Okawville as well as Edwardsville and Civic Memorial.

Butler College Prep (13-5)

Xamiya Walton is producing like mad, while Illinois signee Camille Jackson directs the attack. Two in-state losses (Whitney Young, Kenwood, Batavia), will have chance for signature win in coming weeks. 

Quincy Notre Dame (13-1)

Abbey Schreacke has been one of the state’s better performers, a threat to score 30 every night. A good win over Springfield Thursday kept the Raiders going in undefeated fashion until a huge loss at the hands of O’Fallon.

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