Local girls basketball teams tip off this week

Tournaments at Reed-Custer, Lincoln-Way Central, Somonauk, Seneca

Here is a look at the area’s high school girls basketball teams as play opens this week.

MORRIS

Last year’s record: 4-12, 2-11 in Interstate 8.

Key returners: Maddy Shannon (5.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg); Alexxis McKerrow; Bridget Pellens; Libby Wright; Savannah Hernandez; Moriah Mayberry; Addison Stacy.

Key newcomers: Makenna Boyle; Sophie Hipes.

Worth noting: Coach Luke Windy enters his 15th season as varsity coach with a record of 157-201... Morris will run a four-guard offense, with Shannon, Boyle, Stacy and Mayberry projected as starting guards, and the forward position is between McKerrow and Hipes... Windy said he expects his team to have a strong work ethic... I have yet to get on them about working hard in practice and that’s usually not the case,” he said. “So when I have to spend little time talking about going hard every day that reminds me of teams we’ve had here in the past that won.” ... Windy said the main concern right now is scoring consistenty.

COAL CITY

Last year’s record: 4-6, 4-5 in Illinois Central Eight.

Key returners: Molly Stiles (Sr.); Audrey Cooper (Jr., 5.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.0 spg); Morgan Planeta (Sr., 3.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg); Mia Ferrias (Soph., 1.0 ppg).

Key newcomers: Kerigan Copes (Jr.); Abby Gagliardo (Soph.); Mackenzie Henline (Soph.); Makayla Henline (Soph.).

Worth noting: Head coach Brad Schmitt is entering his 19th season... Schmitt looks for Cooper to be the point guard and floor leader... “I think we have numerous kids who are capable of accepting their role and more importantly carrying out their role,” Schmitt said. “We have some young athletic girls who will need our juniors and seniors to bring them along. I think we will score by committee as we don’t have a true 15-point scorer at this time, but we do have numerous girls who are capable of scoring each night in various ways. I think if we keep the philosophy of everybody do a little it will end up being a lot, we will be able to compete at the level we expect.”

MINOOKA

Last year’s record: 5-9, 5-6 in Southwest Prairie Conference

Key returners: Makenzie Brass, (Soph. 9.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg); Kinzie Caves (Sr., 6.0 ppg); Brianna Simmons (Sr., 6.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg).

Key newcomer: Kennedi Brass (Soph.)

Worth noting: Minooka has eight seniors on the roster this season... Head coach Jeff Easthon is entering his fourth season as the Indians’ head coach... “We have eight seniors this season, and we have two sophomores who I expect to be key contributors,” Easthon said. “We are strong and athletic with a deep roster. I think we can compete in a very tough conference.”

SENECA

Last year’s record: 11-1, 8-1 Tri-County Conference

Key returners: Kennedy Hartwig (Jr., 2nd Team All-Conference, 13.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.0 apg); Carly Greve (Sr., 3rd year as varsity player, 4.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg); Emma Smith (Sr., 4.0 ppg); Addie Eltrevoog (Sr., 3.0 ppg).

Key newcomers: Alyssa Zellers (Fr.); Lainie Olson (Fr.).

Worth noting: Head coach Brian Holman is in his first year as Seneca’s head coach. He was 124-51 in six years at Spring Valley Hall and Newark... The Lady Irish lost 3rd Team All-Stater Brooklyn Giertz and all-conference Madison Bromberek to graduation... “We’ll be inexperienced, but hopefully we have enough talent to get by in the early stages of the season,” Holman said. “By January, the hope is we have a team ready to compete for a regional championship.”

GARDNER-SOUTH WILMINGTON

Last year’s record: 12-4, 8-2 in River Valley Conference

Key returner: Addi Fair (Soph., 12.1 ppg, 74% FT, 3.9 rpg, 2.1 apg, 2.7 spg).

Key newcomers: Taeryn Lardi (Jr.); Hannah Balcome (Fr.); Mary Claire Phillips (Soph.); Eva Henderson (Soph.); Aspen Lardi (Soph.).

Worth noting: The Lady Panthers have gone 138-53 in the last seven years under coach Adam Leigh... GSW lost All-State special mention players Abby Beck and Kylie Hawks to graduation from last year’s team... “We have a new identity we are looking for this season,” Leigh said. “We will rely heavily on Addi Fair for the bulk of our offense, but the team is working to improve every day.”

NEWARK

Last year’s record: 8-2, 5-2 in Little 10

Key returners: Senior K.J. Friestad (10.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg); senior Kellie Snyder (6.3ppg, 10.5 rpg); senior Lindsey Hatteberg (4.6 ppg); senior Peyton Eike; senior Reese Heap; senior Kailee Wohead

Key newcomers: Junior Taylor Kruser; junior Bre Dixon; junior Emily DiClementi; junior Kelly Christian.

Worth noting: P.J. McKinney takes over as the Lady Norse head coach... “As we transition to a new coach, we are looking forward to a great season of Lady Norsemen basketball,” McKinney said. “We will have great leadership from our six seniors. I am looking for improvements from the team every day and we will win some games along the way.”

Rob Oesterle

Rob Oesterle

Rob has been a sports writer for the Morris Herald-News and Joliet Herald-News for more than 20 years. He is currently also writing news for the Morris Herald-News.