Coach: Adam Wickness (20-10, second year)
Last Year: 20-10, regional champions, lost in sectionals
Keep an Eye on: Senior Kate Majerus and sophomore Kylie Feuerbach, both first team all-conference, want to repeat their individual and team accolades from last year.
Also: Senior Darely Duerte was named a captain and should make an impact on both ends of the court.
Wickness’ Take: “We believe that we have set some demanding yet achievable goals and expectations that will make this season a great one.”
Lowdown: The Spartans have two returning all conference players along with some new role players. They are poised to build on last year’s success and make a deep playoff run.
Coach: Ernie Colombe (277-74, 17th year)
Last Year: 23-7, lost to Stillman Valley, 55-51, in Class 3A Kaneland Sectional title game
Keep an Eye on: All-Conference senior guard Jenni Weber and honorable mention all-conference senior guard Jaime Martens look to lead the team to another long playoff run
Also: Junior Guard Hannah Armen and sophomore guard Keely Noel will provide the depth for the team.
Colombe’s Take: “We think if we can get them to do the work, we think they can be good in February. It’s early, but we see a lot of potential.”
Lowdown: The Knights return two top players and have a lot of depth coming up from the underclasses. They are looking to repeat last year’s playoff run.
Head Coach: Tyler Bantz, first year
Last Year: 5-25, lost 47-25 in the Class 4A Conant Regional to Glenbard North
Keep an eye on: Senior guard Raquel Mills is looking to take a big step up in the new up-tempo offense.
Also: Senior guard Haley Brown has a chance to make some noise this year on both ends of the court.
Bantz’s Take: “We’re getting better at basketball, which is the biggest thing. They work hard, they listen, they’re coachable and those are the easiest players to improve quickly.”
Lowdown: The Barbs are on their third coach in three years and are looking to adapt to a new up-tempo playing style. It might take a while for the team to get used to the new style, but the arrow looks to be pointing up.
Coach: Kyle Henkel (58-80, sixth year)
Last Year: 20-8, lost 54-40 to Rock Falls in Class 3A Sterling Regional championship
Keep an eye on: Senior forwards Taylor Gilbert and Hannah Schwichtenberg are the top two players coming back from last year’s squad.
Also: Senior guard Veronica Cieslica and freshman Lily McPherson look to take over for last year’s departed high scoring backcourt.
Henkel’s Take: “I expect to compete in every game and try to be the toughest team on the floor each night.”
Lowdown: The Cogs graduated their top two scorers from last year, so they are going to have to revamp their offense around their length and size instead of outside shooting.
Hinckley-Big Rock Royals
Coach: Doug Brewington (20-38, third year)
Last Year: 10-19, lost 44-21 to Aurora Christian in the Class 1A Aurora Christian Regional semifinals
Keep an Eye on: Junior point guard Tori Prellberg was the team leader in assists and steals last year, as well as the defensive MVP of the team.
Also: Junior Guard Allyson Ryan was the leading scorer on the Sophomore team last year.
Brewington’s Take: “We’ve got spunk. We’re a feisty group. We may get out-skilled but we’ll never get out-worked.”
Lowdown: The Royals have only one returning varsity regular from last year, so their style is going to change from a jump shooting team to an aggressive driving team.
Indian Creek Timberwolves
Coach: Paul Muchmore (304-248, 21st year)
Last Year: 6-19, lost 35-32 in the quarterfinals of the Class 1A Indian Creek Regional to Earlville
Keep an Eye on: Senior guard Olivia Turner led the team in scoring last year
Also: Senior forwards Marisa VanWhye, Sarah Diehl, and Morgan Johnson round out the senior class and have a chance to break out this year.
Muchmore’s Take: “We have a lot of varsity experience so I hope that helps us early in the season.”
Lowdown: The Timberwolves switched offensive systems last year, so they should be more comfortable and efficient in their offense. Look for their record to improve.
Coach: Zach Munro, first year
Last Year: 7-15, lost 57-21 to Durand in the semifinals of the Class 1A Pecatonica Regional
Keep an Eye on: Junior forward Crystal Gonzalez and sophomore center Quarey Weikal will be the captains of the team and shoulder the scoring load.
Also: Freshman guard Daisy Montiel has dazzled in practice and should play a big role on the team.
Munro’s Take: “They’re hungry to get better. We are trying to improve everyday and get better than where we are now.”
Lowdown: The Hawks have a first year coach and only three upperclassman, so this season will be about building the program for the future.