Photo Courtesy of the Edwardsville Intelligencer. As we finish off our previews of the Mississippi Valley Conference I will predict the results of the upcoming season. In review, Edwardsville went undefeated in the conference last year. The final standings…
Photo Courtesy of the Edwardsville Intelligencer.
As we finish off our previews of the Mississippi Valley Conference I will predict the results of the upcoming season.
In review, Edwardsville went undefeated in the conference last year. The final standings for last year were:
- 1. Edwardsville 14-0
- 2. O’Fallon 11-3.
- 3. Belleville East 11-3
- 4. East St Louis 6-8
- 5. Collinsville 6-8
- 6. Alton 4-10
- 7. Belleville West 4-10
- 8. Granite City 0-14
This year of course to start with, Granite City is no longer in the conference. With the remaining 7 teams it should look very similar to last year with the same teams at the top and the same teams at the botttom. I think after their year end run last year East St Louis is on the rise and should be able to contend. Here are my predictions:
- To be the man you have to beat the man. Or in this case, woman. Edwardsville has been in control of this conference for years. Every time it appears that they may be down they figure out a way. I cannot pick against Lori Blade and her Lady Tigers until somebody proves it to me. While they have lost some major talent, I still see major talent on the roster. In addition you have a Hall of Fame coach on the sidelines. I strongly believe that Jaylen Townsend and Quierra Love will have big years. The additions of Sydney Harris and Kylie Burg will add the scoring punch that Edwardsville needs to replace the class of 2018. I might be wrong, but somebody needs to prove it.
- Second in the conference will be O’Fallon. Coach Knolhoff returns a strong group that will get a huge boost from the return of Izzy Akoro. Izzy needs to prove that she can stay healthy. If she does then the sky is the limit for her and the Lady Panthers. Ashley Schloer returns for her senior season and Makayla Best looks ready for a breakout year. Best should take on some of the scoring load left from the 2018 class. Kayla Gordon is another good player in the back court that provides leadership and ball handling at the point guard position.
- Third, I believe will be East St. Louis. Coach Mattox and his girls really came together at the end of the season and had a strong post season run. With the inside force of Mya Glanton returning along with Darriel Hicks, Lamad’j Milton and Shawnta Johnson, East St. Louis has a very good core group. There are holes to replace but Coach Mattox will work his incoming talent to find the right mix. If he can find that mind set they had at the end of the year and get a big season out of Glanton then they can play with anybody.
- I recently published an article choosing an All Conference team and an MVP for the season. While I had heard some rumblings nothing had been confirmed at the time. Now, it is unfortunately confirmed that my MVP pick, Kaylah Rainey will be forced to miss her senior season with a heart ailment. That loss lands Belleville East in the 4th spot. They do return B’Aunce Carter and Bryce Dowell for their senior seasons. Hannah Mitchell is also back for her junior year after sitting out most of her sophomore season due to an ACL tear. Hannah averaged 4 points per game as a freshman after earning a varsity spot during the year. There is still talent on the team, but losing your point guard and one of the best players in the area in Rainey is too big of a blow in my opinion.
- In the 5th spot will be Collinsville. Faith Liljgren returns after being named to the All Conference team as a sophomore. Kristyn Mitchell also had a strong sophomore season and Bria King returns for her senior season. Collinsville has been working to return to the top of the conference and has the distinction of being the last team in the conference to beat Edwardsville.
- In the 6th spot I believe Alton will keep themselves out of the cellar. The Alton team will have a nice mixture of talent on the roster. Returning after strong sophomore season is Ivoree Lacy and Rayn Tally. The Redbirds should be very athletic and rebound well.
- Someone has to finish last and to me that looks to be Belleville West. Shania Nunn should have a good junior season. I believe that West is lacking in enough overall talent to win the games against other conference opponents. The other two top scorers for last year are gone and I am not sure they will be replaced by anyone that can pick up that load.
I am sure there is no shortage of opinions in southern Illinois as to how this conference race will finish. There are 4 legitimate contenders that could win it all. I am sure that many fans outside of Edwardsville would love to see them go down. They have been dominant to say the least. I am not sure I can see them going undefeated but I do believe they will win the conference again.