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Girls basketball previews

Kaneland guard Jenni Weber, right, moves the ball on offense during their girls basketball sectional final at Kaneland High School on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 in Maple Park. Kaneland lost 55-51. Photograph by Mary Beth Nolan for Shaw Media
Kaneland guard Jenni Weber, right, moves the ball on offense during their girls basketball sectional final at Kaneland High School on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 in Maple Park. Kaneland lost 55-51. Photograph by Mary Beth Nolan for Shaw Media

Sycamore Spartans

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.

Kaneland Knights

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.

DeKalb Barbs

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.

Genoa-Kingston Cogs

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.

Hiawatha Hawks

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.

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