Illinois Girls Hoops Week 6 & 7 Top Performers and State Farm Classic Notes
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. Last season, I tended to base the top performers on stats from several games over the course of a week. For this season’s individual honorees I’ll be focusing on individual game performances. This will hopefully help me recognize more players and spend less time searching for statistics.
As far as teams go, I want to highlight squads that upset highly-respected foes, put up absurd statistical performances or set new program records, things of that nature, over the course of the week, which will be focused on results over a week and not just in one game.
Stats are critical to highlight these players and teams. Get in touch to submit a girls team or player at any point during the 2022-2023 season. You can submit stats to our Twitter, @ILL_HS_Hoops and @ill_hoop_scoops. I can also be reached at KalebCarter4256@gmail.com or on Twitter @Kaleb_M_Carter.
Editor’s note: Not every submission is included in the top performers. Choices made at KC’s discretion. Games eligible to be considered for top performers were played Dec. 19-Jan. 1.
State Farm Holiday Classic Notes
(Games I watched in-part or full)
Washington vs. Bloomington (Tuesday)
Against Bloomington, I watched Bradley-signee Claire McDougall be just relentless in man-to-man defense.
Was quite impressed with some of the passing I saw from Carly Vaughn, and tough rebounding around the bucket from Addie Kimler.
Katie Barger looked like the best athlete on the floor for the Raiders. She had a game-high 18.
Brimfield vs. El Paso-Gridley (Tuesday)
Brimfield moves the ball very well. Ava Heinz is leading the way and her team is doing just fine in Year 1 under coach Josh McKown.
Adam Duvall, who does as good a job covering girls basketball as near any preps reporter in Illinois does, wrote this about Brimfield recently.
Rock Falls Bloomington Central Catholic (Tuesday)
BCC made good decisions offensively and kept Rock Falls off balance with a zone press. Big senior forward Elyssa Stenger impressed in her time, and sophomore wing Lauren Emm (instant offense with steals) made big plays on both ends of the floor in the second quarter to help BCC go up.
Rock Falls responded and between senior forward Emily Lego and junior forward Emily Bickett, Rock Falls was hard to slow down low.
Senior guard Brooke Howard kept finding ways to make timely plays and hit a huge 3-pointer in the 4th for a Rock Falls lead, and the Rockets won 47-44.
On another note, Daniel Herrera is probably the most vocal and animated coach I’ve seen in Illinois in a while.
Kankakee vs. Normal West (Wednesday)
In a short stretch in the second quarter, Nikkel Johnson made some nice plays at the rim, scoring through contact and dishing off an assist to the other block.
Kankakee sited a young lineup between sophomores Taleah Turner, Benkwasha Stroud and some juniors. Freshman Morgan Baptist showcased flashes of knowing how to use her 6-0 frame.
Normal West senior guard Emily Kobel maintained control with then ball in her hands. She utilized the ball screens of teammate Olivia Patton and Annika Wertheim sto get downhill and to the rim, finishing well.
Normal West took a nine-point lead into the fourth quarter and won.
Paris vs. Rockford Lutheran
Paris is a team that knows how to move the ball against a zone defense. They don’t catch and wait, they anticipate rotating defenders and find the open player. One example that comes to mind was in the second quarter, as Lutheran continued to try and trap the Tigers, but they just kept making good passes before the second defender in the double team could come. Sophomore Taylor Clark cut opposite to the near right block and took a pass and laid it in fora 20-14 Paris advantage. I saw Kendra Young make a similarly intelligent cut soon after for another Tigers layup.
Senior Tigers forward Deming Hawkins’ wisdom shows up on the court by how she moves away from the ball, and it leads to productive plays own the offensive end.
Paris used a huge second quarter to take to a 33-17 halftime advantage after what was a hotly-contested first quarter.
Notable Week 6 & 7 Team Performances
At the Morton College Christmas Tournament, gave Fremd its first, loss, avenging an earlier loss, as well as avenging a loss in the championship game of the same tournament last year.
Claimed the Mattoon tourney title with a win over Galesburg, with Savannah Orgeron taking MVP honors.
In a neutral court game at Monticello, came back to defeated previously-undefeated Neoga, a team that had beaten Tuscola twice last season, including ending their run in the postseason. Moved to 15-0, beating Clinton for the Monticello tourney title.
Sneak peek at Tuesday's N-G sports cover feat. @clikasNG on a big win by @TCHSGirlsBBall at the @SagesAthletics Holiday Hoopla. Plus, @mdaniels_NG on an important week for #Illini football, men's basketball and women's basketball programs@APSE_sportmedia pic.twitter.com/gSLhm0xLqi— News-Gazette Preps (@ngpreps) December 27, 2022
Now 14-3, defeated Sandburg 53-52 to win Sandburg’s tourney. Hayven Smith was tourney MVP.
Maggie Schmidt averaged 13.5 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 4.75 steals, had a 17-point, 11-rebound, 10-steal, 7-assist game and teammate Lily Esparza won tourney MVP honors at the Reindeer Games as BC went 4-0.
Won the Komromy tournament, besting Barrington in the finals, led by Meegan Fahy’s 19 points 6 rebounds and 5 steals per game.
Won four games to take Saint Viator’s Blenner Classic as Ada Taute led the tournament in scoring with 79 points over 4 games, including 28 in the semis and 25 in the final.
Won the small school girls title at the State Farm Classic, besting previously-undefeated Paris, 36-32. Also defeated defending state champion Brimfield, Sacred Heart-Griffin and Bishop McNamara.
Still undefeated, beat Okawville and O’Fallon to win Mascoutah’s tournament.
Winners of 10 straight and led by the Flynn sisters (Kate and Klare) the Hornets won the Beardstown tourney, giving Havana only its second loss in winning the title.
Wins over Butler College Prep, Orr, TF South and Thornton last week. Won the Hillcrest Holiday Classic. Madison Davis had 27 in the finals and was MVP.
Earned the Erie Christmas Tournament crown by beating Monmouth-Roseville, Wethersfield, Morrison and Orion.
Won the Montini tourney, led by a balanced act, as Grace Carstensen, Danielle Scully, Amalia Dray and Stella Skalds each averaged 10+ points per game.
Undefeated. Beat Washington a second tome this season, this time 47-32, to win the large school bracket of the State Farm Holiday Classic.
Handed Peoria Notre Dame its first loss in winning the Peoria Manuel tourney.
Improved to 14-3 by winning the Princeville Holiday Tournament.
A 1A team, won its home tournament after beating 4A squads Hoffman Estates and Wheeling.
Notable Week 6 & 7 Individual Performances
Zara Engledow, Marshall, So.
22 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists in a win over Dietrich.
Taylor Smith, Belleville East, So.
Scored 30 in a loss to East St. Louis.
Annalise Pietrzyk, Providence Catholic, Sr.
Scored a career-high 37 in win over Downers Grove South.
Emory Klatt, Stevenson, Jr.
Scored a career-high 33 points and plucked 17 rebounds from the air in a win over Naperville Central.
Lenee Beaumont, Benet, Sr.
Beaumont scored 20 with 14 rebounds and 7 assists in heeling her team hold off York.
Taylor Keirs, North MacArthur, So.
Scored 24 in win over TCSV.
Audrey Sabol, Nokomis, Sr.
Had 31 points in a 52-27 victory vs. Lincolnwood.
Shelby Veltrop, Morrison, Sr.
24 points on 8 of 11 shooting, 17 rebounds, 14 blocks, 3 assists in a win over Kewanee-Wethersfield.
Nora Leadstrom, DePaul College Prep, Sr.
23 points, 16 rebounds vs. Latin.
Kam Porter, De La Salle, Jr.
Had 28 points as De La Salle defeated Latin.
Roya Smith, Latin, So.
23 points, 6 rebounds, 5 steal and 4 assists in loss to De La Salle.
Gwen Adler, Barrington, Jr.
22 points, 20 rebounds as her squad defeated Hononegah.
Olivia Kerndt, Deerfield, Sr.
Tallied 26 points in a win over Joliet West.
Apple Guerrero, Argo, Sr.
32 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists in win vs. Richards.
Josie Canellis, Sandburg, Sr.
Scored 22 and reached 1,000 points for her career as the Eagles thumped Oswego East.
Bella Austin, Vandalia, So.
Scored 28 in a game and 75 at the Winterfest Holiday tourney.
Grace Cord, Lake Park, Sr.
29 points, 18 rebounds as her team beat South Elgin
Peyton Gerdes, Grayslake North, Sr.
How about a triple-double of 37 points, 13 rebounds and 10 blocks vs. Amundsen.
Denali Craig-Edwards, Peoria, Sr.
25 points, 15 rebound in a win for the future Western Michigan Bronco.
Kylee Norkus, Neuqua Valley, Jr.
Posted 28 points, 7 rebounds, 5 steals, 3 blocks and 2 assists in a game.
Rachel Zacks, New Trier, Sr.
Scored 24 in a win vs. Maine West.
Madi Dolecki, Schaumburg, Jr.
Totaled 20 points, 9 rebounds in victory over Waubonsie Valley.