As we approach the season I will be previewing conferences in Southern Illinois with multiple articles. I will predict the results of the upcoming season and also write articles about the top players in the conference. I will begin with…
As we approach the season I will be previewing conferences in Southern Illinois with multiple articles. I will predict the results of the upcoming season and also write articles about the top players in the conference. I will begin with the Prairie State conference.
In review, last year Nokomis and Alton Marquette both finished with one loss in the conference. The standings were:
1. Alton Marquette 3-1
2. Nokomis 3-1
3. Metro East Lutheran 2-2
4. Bunker Hill 2-2
5. East Alton Wood River 0-4
Since that time Father McGivney has also been added to the conference starting with the 2018-2019 season. This will make a large impact on the new season as Coach Jeff Oller returns a very solid group. As we look to this year, my crystal ball says the following:
- Father McGivney will come away with the conference championship in their first season. With Anna McKee returning for a Sophomore season to build upon her 18 points per game the Griffins have their leading scorer back. With Madison Webb returning for her Junior year after averaging 12 points and 8 rebounds at her forward spot the Griffins have their second leading scorer and top rebounder back. In Macy Hoppes they have their floor general and spark plug back to run with McKee in the back court. They all play well together and bring experience and leadership back. In addition Coach Oller has a host of reserves back from last years team that contributed some at the varsity level.
- Alton Marquette will finish second despite the huge losses from last years senior class. Coach Lee Green is preparing to reload the Explorers with an influx of new talent and good old fashioned hard work. Senior Payton Connors returns at a guard as the only returning starter and Sophmore Kiley Kirchner and Junior Emma Nicholson are the only others that saw many varsity minutes last year. All 3 are capable of having much improved seasons this year. The incoming freshman class should have immediate varsity impact with Adrenna Snipes likely taking over as the Point Guard from day one. She will be a big key for the Explorers in such an important role..
- Metro East Lutheran will finish third despite the loss of potential conference player of the year Ellen Schulte transferring for her senior year. Coach Rob Stock has a very good back court returning in Senior Sami Kasting and Junior Destiny Williams.Both players have to take on a bigger role this year and both are more than capable. Williams is very good at getting into the lane and creating opportunities. They also return Taylor Bradley, Miriam Wolf and Alaina Bozarth with varsity experience.
- East Alton/Wood River will finish fourth as Coach Joe Parmentier continues to try to build the program. The Oilers did not graduate one player on a team that ran very deep and used mostly freshman and sophomores last year. Kayla Brantley was an all conference player from her guard spot and returns for her junior year. She will be able to use her 3 point shooting skills to put up numbers for the team, but, the key will be the ongoing development of the other players. LeighAnn Nottke, Aubrey Robinson, Fiona Hamiti, Taylor Parmenier and Jayden Ulrich all showed the potential to help Kayla Brantley carry the load this year. If they can become more consistent the Oilers could cause some problems this year.
- Nokomis will finish 5th this year. Coach Brandon Engelman lost a large senior class that led the Redskins to a share of the conference title. The only returner that saw consistent minutes at the varsity level is Macee Eisenbarth. Macee is a post player that works very hard to find her spots against bigger players. She should have a nice Junior season. Coach Engelman will look to Sophomores Mia Fesser and Kristen Stauder along with Seniors Emily Cesaretti and Vanessa Patkus to step into more prominent roles this year in the quest to replace the lost production from the 2018 seniors.
- Bunker Hill will have to try to overcome the loss of a strong senior class, along with adapting to a new coach, this year to keep out of the bottom spot in the conference. Briley Chrismann will run the point guard spot and will also be the main scoring option. Haley Burris and Alexis Scroggins also saw action on the varsity last year and will need to step up into more prominent roles for the team to have a successful season.
It should be an exciting year in the conference as we see a new team come in to contend for the championship against established programs that trying to reload instead of rebuild.