Girls basketball: Scouting the Fox Valley Conference
Coach: Collin Kalamatas (fourth season)
Last season's record: 23-10, 15-3 FVC (second)
Top returners: Page Erickson, sr., G; Samantha Origel, sr., G; Emma Payton, jr., F
Key newcomers: Kenzie Andersen, jr., G; Emersyn Fry, jr., G; Jordyn Charles, fr., G
Worth noting: The Rockets beat Boylan 57-37 to win the Class 3A Boylan regional final in a game that was close until the fourth quarter. It was the second straight regional title for Burlington. ... Taylor Charles graduated and is playing at Princeton. She averaged 13.5 points and 11.7 rebounds a game. ... The Rockets return two starters and three off the bench. Their top three scorers all graduated. ... Erickson, Origel and Payton all averaged over 4 points a game. Origel had 24 3-pointers and Payton had 21. ... "This is a really close group of kids, many of whom are tight off the court and I think that will help contribute to positive things we see on the floor," Kalamatas said. "We graduated about 70% of our scoring from a year ago, so the beginning of the season is going to be huge for these girls to establish themselves in some new roles."
Coach: Anthony Moretti (fourth season)
Last season's record: 19-11, 11-7 (tied for fourth)
Top returners: Annika Nordin, sr., F; Emily Larry, jr., F; Morgan Haslow, jr., G; Maggie Groos, sr., F; Payton Seibert, sr., F; Samantha Skerl, so., G
Key newcomers: Ellie Mjaanes, so., F; Kennedy Manning, fr., G; Malaina Kurth, fr., G
Worth noting: The Trojans lost a heartbreaker to Prairie Ridge, 32-30, in the Class 3A Grayslake Central Regional final . ... Their top player and leading scorer, Emily Lukowski, became the 10th player in team history to score 1,000 points. Lukowski and C-G's second-leading scorer, Maddie Scharreburg, both graduated. ... Nordin was among the area's best at 7.5 rebounds a game. ... C-G's 19 wins were its most since 2018. ... "We're a balanced athletic team and we're looking to build on last season," Moretti said. "Our strength is that we will be bigger than we have been in the past."
Crystal Lake Central
Coach: Derek Crabill (seventh season)
Last season's record: 20-13, 11-7 (tied for fourth)
Top returner: Katie Hamill, jr., G
Key newcomer: Leah Spychala, so., F-C
Worth noting: The Tigers won 20 games for the first time since 1995 after winning only five games two seasons ago. ... Hamill, a three-year starter, averaged 12.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.5 steals a game. She has a chance at joining the school's 1,000-point club as a junior ... Central graduated six players.
Crystal Lake South
Coach: Mark Mucha (ninth season)
Last season's record: 6-24, 3-15 FVC (ninth)
Top returners: Hanna Massie, sr., F; Addison Alexander, sr., G; Carly Gorman, jr., G; Gabby Toussaint, sr., G
Key newcomers: Laken LePage, fr., G; Madyson Law, jr., F; Ellie Reall, so., G
Worth noting: The Gators had a down year after winning 16 games in 2020-21. ... Kree Nunnally, who averaged 17.1 points a game, is playing her senior year at Example Academy, an all-girls national prep school. ... Massie averaged 6.5 rebounds a game. ... "Our girls are excited to get the season started," Mucha said. "They have put in a lot of hard work in the offseason and are eager to compete. We lack experience, but will hopefully make up for that in hard work and competitiveness."
Coach: John Gonnella (first season)
Last season's record: 3-25, 1-17 FVC (10th)
Top returners: Kendall Brents, sr., F; Carissa Cerniglia, sr., G; Monica Sierzputowski, jr., F
Key newcomers: Charlotte Stewart, so., G; Sara Farrell, so., G; Lorna Niemiec, so., G-F
Worth noting: Gonnella takes over for Sarah Teipel, who led the Chargers to a 141-124 record, four regional titles and a sectional championship in nine seasons. Teipel left to coach at Mundelein, her alma mater. ... D-C beat McHenry in the last game of the regular season for its only conference win. ... Brents returns with the most varsity experience. Cerniglia is coming back from injury, and Sierzputowski is currently out with an injury. Gonnella is hopeful she can return some time in December. ... "We have a great group of young ladies who are ready to compete with anyone," Gonnella said. "What we lack in numbers and experience, we make up for with a group who is focused and dedicated to working hard."
Coach: Eric Samuelson (fourth season)
Last season's record: 12-20, 6-12 FVC (seventh)
Top returners: Kaitlyn Milison, sr., F; Alex Montez, sr., G; Ceili Ramirez, sr., G; Lia Saunders, sr., G; Avery Cartee, jr., G-F; Ashley Herzing, jr., G; Whitney Thompson, jr., G; Jaden Szymonik, jr., G; Chloe Van Horn, so., G-F
Key newcomers: Sophie Oleferchik, jr., F; Ella Perrone, jr., G-F; Mikala Amegasse, fr., G
Worth noting: The Whip-Purs will really challenge themselves this season, with games scheduled against many state powers, such as Fremd and Stevenson. ... Hampshire is hosting the inaugural Doreen Zierer Thanksgiving Tournament this week. Zierer was the first Division I women's basketball player from Hampshire (NIU). ... Herzing led the team in scoring at 10.7 points a game, along with 56 3s. Cartee, an All-FVC choice, averaged 7.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2 blocks a game. ... "This group has been through the valley together the past two years and started climbing the hill nicely toward the end of last season and this summer," Samuelson said. "They get along incredibly well, and they all seem to have bought into their roles to help our team be successful."
Coach: Steve Raethz (24th season)
Last season's record: 23-7, 17-1 FVC (first)
Top returners: Jessie Ozzauto, sr., G; Sammi Campanelli, sr., G; Anna Campanelli, so., G; Morgan McCaughn, sr., G; Ashlyn Horton, sr., F; Mallory Winters, sr., F; Alyssa Koop, sr., G; Bella Bitzer, sr., F
Key newcomers: Ali Monis, sr., G; Cassidy Serpe, jr., G; Yasmine Morsy, jr., F; Ava McFadden, so., G; Isabella Boskey, so., G
Worth noting: The Red Raiders beat Guilford, 50-36, to win the Class 4A Jefferson regional final, the 11th regional title in program history and second in a row. They lost to Barrington in the sectional semis. ... Huntley's 23 wins were its most since finishing 30-4 in 2015-16. ... Huntley is poised to make a repeat run at the FVC title after graduating only one starter. ... Ozzauto led the Raiders at 11.9 points a game with 56 3s and is committed to Division I Lehigh. Sammi Campanelli was a lock-down defender and averaged 8 points, 2.3 assists and 1.5 steals a game with 29 3s. She recently committed to Lewis University (DII). McCaughn averaged 6 points and 2.5 assists a game. Anna Campanelli averaged 4.2 points and almost 2 assists a game, and Winters scored 4 points a game. ... Huntley's biggest lost to graduation was Jori Heard, the team's top rebounder (8.3 rpg) and second-leading scorer (9.1 ppg).
Coach: Jonathan Reibel (fifth season)
Last season's record: 15-18, 8-10 FVC (sixth)
Top returners: Ari Corrado, sr., G-F; Janae Gillus, sr., G; Anelise Rodriguez, sr., G; Ella Anderson, sr., C; Kylie Marbury-Savage, sr., G-F
Key newcomers: Bella Mickey, jr., G; Cam Cook, jr., F; Baylle Fee, jr., F; Ashley Jedlowski, jr., G; Emma Lutz, jr., G; Hailey Franczkowski, jr., G-F; Mikayla Weel, so., G
Worth noting: The Golden Eagles will miss the leadership and scoring of Mackenzie Leahy, who did a bit of everything in averaging 15.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 assists a game. Leahy, now at Brown University, set the team's single-game record with 37 points against Larkin. ... Reibel likes his team's size and expects them to excel in transition. ... "We have a lot of players who will be able to contribute this year, which allows us to use a variety of different lineups," Reibel said. "Our strengths will be in our transition game. We have a lot of guards who can rebound and push the ball."
Coach: John Lunkenheimer (first season)
Last season's record: 12-21, 4-14 (eighth)
Top returners: Peyton Stinger, sr., G; Maddi Friedle, sr., F; Emerson Gasmann, sr., G; Reese Kominoski, sr., G; Bethany Snyder, sr., G; Abby Geis, sr., G; Lynette Alsot, sr., C
Key newcomers: Angelina Bakewell, sr., F; Ali Ahrens, jr., F
Worth noting: Lunkenheimer replaces Rob Niemic, who was 126-104 in eight years, including a program-best 28-3 record in 2017-18. ... Alyssa Franklin graduated and was McHenry's top player, nearly averaging a double-double (9.8 points, 10.5 rebounds a game). ... The Warriors do return their other two top scorers in Friedle (7.9 ppg) and Gasmann (7 ppg). Alsot averaged 6.2 rebounds a game. ... Friedle, who is committed to Ripon College (Wis.), made 44 3s; Gasmann had 27; and Kominoski knocked in 16. ... McHenry has nine seniors. "We are looking forward to ending their careers on a high note," Lunkenheimer said.
Coach: Tim Taege (fifth season)
Last season's record: 27-6, 14-4 FVC (third)
Top returners: Gianna Bruggeman, sr., G; Makayla Dietz-Paolelli, sr., F; Abby Kay, sr., G; Grace Koeppen, sr., G; Kate Pactol, sr., G; Izzy Pollastrini, sr., G
Key newcomers: Addi Gertz, jr., F; Alyssa Gorton, jr., G; Ellie King, sr., G; Olivia McPherson, jr., G; Addie Meyer, jr., F; Paige Newport, sr., F; Ali Storz, jr., G; Addison Taege, jr., G; Grace Wolf, jr., F
Worth noting: The Wolves held off Cary-Grove, 32-30, to win the Class 4A Grayslake Central regional title, their first postseason title since 2013-14. Prairie Ridge won the Northern Illinois Holiday Classic for the first time and was the only FVC team to beat Huntley. ... The Wolves will look very different after graduating eight, including big impact players in Karsen Karlblom, Elani Nanos and Kelly Gende. "Making up Karsen's scoring will be tough, but we hope our defense keeps us in games regardless of our offensive output," Taege said.