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 Jan. 2-8
I attended the concluding day of the Grow The game Shootout at North Central College in Naperville. I saw Stevenson-Evanston, Barrington-Montini Catholic, Alton-Hersey, Maine West-Lake Forest and Highland Park-University High.
No team was more impressive Saturday than the undefeated, 18-0 Alton Redbirds in a 63-50 win over Hersey.
The Redbirds led by as much 19, withstood a run where the Huskies cut it to 7 in the third quarter , and looked consistent at every spot on the floor.
“The goal was to stay disciplined, make sure we stay mentally here, don’t take mental breaks on (defense), communication, talk just play the best we had,” sophomore forward Jarius Powers said.
The big, likely future D1 forward scored 18 points. She muscled up buckets, established good inside position for timely buckets and scored when it was most critical. Double-doubles are common occurrences for Powers, who was averaging 12.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game through 15 games. Proctor (12.8) and Lewis (10.8) were also averaging double-digit scoring figures.
“The attitude I approach (with) is you know you can depend on me to come through in the clutch in big games and I’m not going to disappoint you,” Powers said. “I love my teammates to death and I think they’ve got the trust in me in big games when we’re close to give me the ball.”
Sophomore point guard Kiyoko Proctor scored 15 points in the win over Hersey and led Alton’s relentless defense with 9 steals, and distributed 5 assists. She looked beyond her years in terms of composure and getting the Redbirds into their offense.
Powers out to Blakeny. 10-point Alton lead. pic.twitter.com/3aHLa2Ww7p— Kaleb Carter (@Kaleb_M_Carter) January 8, 2023
Alyssa Lewis (2024), while often a scorer, uses her athleticism to lock up opponents.
Laila Blakeny (2023) and Kaylea Lacey (2026), the latter already a physical match or superior physically to her elder peers, played well Saturday too.
Talia Norman (2025) provides a great deal of size off the bench for the Redbirds.
With the absence of Megan Mrowicki for the Huskies, Natalie Alesia (2023) has had to step up and scored 20 points in earning POTG honors.
-Stevenson’s a much-improved team from what I can tell. Kate Arne (2024) has had to pick up more slack. The young guards are better. Emory Klatt (2024) reached 1,000 career points in the game.
-Having watched Montini twice, they’re one of the more enjoyable teams to watch on both sides of the ball and you expect players to make the smart play.
-Barrington has to find more ways to get out and run. Also in half-court, keep getting touches for Molly O’Riordan (2024). Adaobe Ibe’s (2024) role seems to be growing.
-As a 2A squad, University High is going to have the potential to make another postseason run due to its size and athleticism.
-Highland Park has a ton of size. They were able to get some good high-low looks that made a difference.
-Start making more perimeter shots and Maine West may surprise some teams down the stretch.
-Lake Forest’s Rachel Kaus (2023) does so much, it’s hard to keep up. Her court-vision and movement without the ball separate her from many good bigs. She’ll be a great addition to Cornell, which has Maine South 2022 grad Emily Page already succeeding.
Here are the players who I most enjoyed watching on the floor at North Central College.
I did this in a Twitter post recently about the Morton College tourney, so going to include this tidbit.
Stevenson – Kate Arne (2023) (Improved offensively)
Evanston – Ciara Gentile (2023) (Defensive deterrer )
Barrington – Gwen Adler (Is everywhere all at once)
Montini – Victoria Matulevicius (2024) (high-volume scoring capabilities)
Hersey – Natalie Alesia (2023) (Picking up more responsibility)
Alton – Kiyoko Proctor (2025) (Young, skilled, feisty and in control)
Highland Park – McKenzie Reitmayer (2024) (Skilled in a number of ways)
University – Kari Merriweather (Spark plug with super athleticism)
Lake Forest – Bella Ranallo (Highly skilled, great insticts, can tell she’s a multi-sport athlete just from watching)
Maine West – Aya Deiri (Athletic, defends, attacking on offense and plays with intensity)
Incredible week with a win over previously-unbeaten Fieldcrest, 48-38. Also beat Beardstown and Havana. Was 17-0 after the week.
Macy Groharing scored 27 points in a 72-56 win over Morrison. The Tigers also defeated Rock Falls 54-44 and sit at 15-2 and unbeaten in the Big Northern.
Kate Arne scored 24 vs. Hampshire. Emory Klatt also reached 1,000 career points in the Evanston win.
Pulled out single-digit wins over conference foes Ottawa, 46-43 and LaSalle-Peru, 58-54.
Won the Lady Jacket Midwinter Classic tournament with a 32-27 win over Marissa/Coulterville. Camrynn Howie was tournament MVP. Also beat Dupo and New Athens.
Defeated Pleasant Plains and Mahomet-Seymour by 24 and 25 points, respectively.
Defeated Heritage Christian of Indiana 46-33 to improve to 16-0. Grace Lambes is averaging 17.7 points per game and Liz Griswold is contributing 16.6 points.
Wins over Althoff Catholic, 39-35 and Benton, 43-31, have the Knights at 13-3.
Had a 5-game win streak going at the end of last week after Riverton, Vandalia and Southwestern, allowing an average of 29.7 points during the week.
Nabbed close wins over Mattoon, 60-57, and Rochester, 47-43. Record improve to 14-2 after the pair of wins.
Wins over Somonauk-Leland, Polo and Aquin Catholic.
30 points, 9 rebounds and 5 steals in a 58-42 win over Tinley Park.
Put up 28 points, 10 rebounds, 6 steals and 2 blocks in a 58-51 victory vs. Wauconda.
Totaled 29 points, 10 rebonds, 8 blocks and 4 steals as the Redhawks beat Plainfield Central 56-49.
Scored 34 points as her team defeated 1A power Okawville 61-54.
Had 24 points, 4 3-pointers, 3 assists in loss to QND.
Scored 27 in a 50-39 win over Lewistown. Her team is now 15-2 as of Sunday.
Totaled 28 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds and 6 steals in a win over Champaign Central.
Posted 32 points in a 70-64 victory vs. Plainfield North.
Scored 25 in a win over Eisenhower.
Tallied 17 points 6 rebounds and 4 assists in a 59-38 win over Morton.
In a win vs. Cary-Grove, had 23 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.
Totaled 22 points 12 steals and 6 assists in a win over Marist.
In same game as Galvan’s performance, the lengthy forward put up 29 points, 10 rebounds, 5 steals and 4 assists.
Had 21 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals vs. Elgin.
Knocked down 9 3-pointers and scored 34 points vs. Eisenhower.
Had 30 in a 37-30 win over Argo.
Scored 30 as her team beat De La Salle 60-43
Had 22 points, 7 3-pointers in a 52-27 win over North Boone.
Totaled 23 points, 8 rebounds in a tight, 43-40 victory against Glenbard South.
Scored 23 points and had 18 rebounds in a win over Civic Memorial.
20 points, 10 rebounds, 5 steals, 5 assists vs. Carrollton.
Had 24 points, 6 rebounds, 6 steals and 4 assists in a win over Waterloo.
Tallied 23 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists in a win over Johnston City.