Westminster Christian Warriors
Last year: 26-5 (8-0 Northeastern Athletic Conference)
Coach: Ken Flickinger (9th season, 73-42 last 4 years)
Top returning players: Seniors McKaila Hays (5-7, G), Claire Speweik (5-11, F-G), Liz Meschewski (5-10, G-F), Kinsley Donahue (5-9, G); sophomore Maddie Versluys (5-10, F)
Outlook: Westminster is coming off a record-breaking 2012-2013 season where it won the NAC regular-season and tournament titles, as well as the first Elgin City Classic championship. The Warriors repeated as regional champions before losing to eventual repeat state-champion Freeport Aquin in the sectional championship. Along the way, the Warriors racked up a program-record 17-game winning streak. And now for the good news this year -- the Warriors return their entire team (8 seniors). Versulys led the team in scoring as a freshman at 12.6 points per game, while Hays averaged 10.3 points. Speweik averaged 8.0 points and Donahue chipped in 4.5 points. Versulys also averaged a team-best 7.7 rebounds, while Speweik was at 6.2 rebounds per game and blocked a team-best 25 shots. Hays was the team leader in assists and steals. The Warriors averaged a staggering 18.6 steals per game last year and outscored the oppositions by a combined 606 points in 31 contests. "We want to win the conference, put the team in a position to earn a high postseason seed and build on last year's success," said Flickinger, who is 9 wins away from 100 for his career at Westminster. As always, Flickinger is stressing defense. "Having been the best defensive team in the Fox Valley the last two years, we want to continue to be strong on the defensive end," he said. Shooting from the outside and the line will be key for the Warriors. "We need to get to the free-throw line more this season and improve our outside shooting, especially from the 3-point line," said Flickinger. Westminster moved up to Class 2A this season and in doing so has ratcheted up the nonconference schedule with games against Schaumburg, Hampshire, St. Francis, Walther Lutheran and Wheaton Academy. "We're preparing for a tougher postseason with a harder schedule," said Flickinger. The coach noted Rockford Christian Life, Luther North and Harvest Christian will be teams to keep an eye on in the NAC.