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2021-22 Northwest Herald girls basketball preview capsules

Fox Valley Conference

Burlington Central

Coach: Collin Kalamatas (third season)

Last season’s record: 13-2, 7-0 FVC (FVC Tournament champions)

Top returners: Taylor Charles, sr., F, 6-2; Becca Carani, sr., G, 5-8; Rylie DuVal, sr., G, 5-7

Key newcomers: Emma Payton, so., F, 6-0

Worth noting: The Rockets didn’t drop an FVC game last season, going 7-0 in the regular season and 3-0 in the FVC Tournament. Burlington has won its past 20 FVC games overall. … The Rockets won a Class 3A regional title in 2019-20 with a 29-5 record. … Gone is point guard Elana Wells, who was a Northwest Herald All-Area first-team selection after averaging 17.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists and three steals a game. She is now at NCAA Division II Indianapolis, along with McHenry graduate Liz Alsot and Marengo graduate Marissa Knobloch. … Charles committed to D-I Princeton in June and has established herself as one of the FVC’s top players after transferring from Montini last season. She earned All-Area second team honors and averaged 10.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocks. … Burlington also returns solid scoring from Carani, who averaged 8.9 points a game and made 20 3s. Carani was named All-Area honorable mention. … “We’re looking forward to another season of growth and competition,” Kalamatas said. “This team is focused on getting better each day and not looking ahead. It’s going to be a fun group to watch with a lot of athleticism on the court. We are looking forward to competing every night.”

Cary-Grove's Maddie Scharrenberg (left) is fouled as she drives to the hoop against Jacobs on on Feb. 12 in Cary.

Cary-Grove’s Maddie Scharrenberg (left) is fouled as she drives to the hoop against Jacobs on on Feb. 12 in Cary. (Matthew Apgar/)


Coach: Tony Moretti (third season)

Last season’s record: 7-3, 6-2 FVC

Top returners: Emily Lukowski, sr., G-F; Lilliana Kurth, sr., G-F; Avery Nielsen, sr., G; Maddie Scharrenberg, sr., F; Annika Nordin, jr., F

Key newcomers: Emily Larry, so. G-F; Morgan Haslow, so., G; Sam Skerl, fr., G

Worth noting: The Trojans had a six-game winning streak last season but lost two of their final three, including a FVC Tournament quarterfinal loss to Dundee-Crown. C-G ended the season with a win over Hampshire and made a big jump after going 3-15 in the FVC in 2019-20. … Lukowski was an All-Area first-team pick, averaging 15 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.2 blocks a game. The talented senior should reach 1,000 career points this season. … C-G graduated a couple of top players in forward Lauren Passaglia (11.1 ppg, 8 rpg, four double-doubles) and guard Kate Larry, a defensive standout and 2021 Northwest Herald Female Athlete of the Year. … “We will be an athletic and physical team that is really looking to build off of last year’s momentum,” Moretti said. “We have experienced scorers and some tough young players.”

Crystal Lake Central

Coach: Derek Crabill (sixth season)

Last season’s record: 4-1, 3-1 FVC

Top returners: Paige Keller, sr., G; Katie Hamill, so., G

Key newcomers: Katie Barth, jr., G; Katie Svigelj, jr., F; Emily Morris, sr., G

Worth noting: The Tigers played only five games last season because of COVID-19 protocols but returned to win their last game over McHenry in the FVC Tournament. … Keller has led Central in scoring in each of the past two seasons and has a chance at reaching 1,000 career points. Last season, she averaged 14.2 points and five rebounds a game. … Hamill was a strong addition to the starting lineup, averaging 8.5 points and six rebounds a game. … A big loss to graduation was Nora Ryan (9 ppg, 7 rpg), who has been one of the team’s top producers in recent seasons. Ryan is at Clemson on a rowing scholarship. … Barth is returning from an ankle injury that sidelined her last season. … Morris is a transfer from Hoffman Estates. … Svigelj, whose top sport is softball, brings a lot of defensive energy, Crabill said. … “After losing only two seniors last year, we hope to continue where we left off at the end of the COVID-19-shortened season,” Crabill said.

Crystal Lake South

Coach: Mark Mucha (eighth season)

Last season’s record: 4-6, 3-5 FVC

Top returners: Kree Nunnally, jr., G; Anna Wiggs, sr., F; Hanna Massie, jr., F; Jess Norwood, sr., G; Olivia Cabrera, sr., G

Key newcomers: Addison Alexander, jr., G.; Nicole Molgado, jr., F.; Amy Kobeluch, sr., F; Mackenzie Resch, so., G.; Carly Gorman, so. G

Worth noting: The Gators beat Jacobs, 53-42, in the FVC Tournament consolation bracket to end their season. South will look for its first winning record since 2014 and 2015, when it earned back-to-back Class 4A regional titles. … Nunnally was an All-Area honorable mention pick as a sophomore and led the team in scoring at 12.1 points a game, adding 7.1 rebounds, 1.5 steals and two assists a game. … The Gators graduated three starters, including forward Brooke Kuffel (5.5 ppg, 8 rpg, 3.5 apg, 2 spg), who went to Wisconsin for softball, as well as guards Ava Sevcik and Emily Rich. … “We lost some very important seniors, but have a good group of athletes with experience and youth ready to complete in the FVC,” Mucha said.

Huntley's Jessica Ozzauto (left) and Raquel Radermacher (right) battle for the ball with Dundee-Crown's Kate Raby (center) during their game on March 10 at Huntley High School in Huntley.

Huntley’s Jessica Ozzauto (left) and Raquel Radermacher (right) battle for the ball with Dundee-Crown’s Kate Raby (center) during their game on March 10 at Huntley High School in Huntley. (Matthew Apgar/)


Coach: Sarah Teipel (ninth season)

Last season’s record: 6-6, 2-3 FVC

Top returners: Kate Raby, sr., G, 5-8; Marisol Gutierrez, sr., G, 5-6; Kendall Brents, jr., F, 5-9

Key newcomers: Monica Sierzputowski, so., F, 6-0; Erica Batad, sr., G, 4-11; Markasia Harthrone, sr., G-F, 5-3; Marrasia Harthrone, jr., G, 5-6; Anaya Hurdle, jr., G, 4-11; Mikayla Saas, so., F, 5-8; Thea Mercado, so., G, 5-3; Ava Gatenby, jr., G, 5-1; Eliza Olvera, sr., G, 5-0

Worth noting: D-C ended the last season with a win over Prairie Ridge to finish at .500 and take third in the FVC Tournament. … Graduate Alyssa Crenshaw, an All-Area first-team pick, was among only a few of players to average a double-double at 15.6 points and 10.8 rebounds a game. She is now at NAIA St. Xavier University. Gianine Boado also graduated and was an All-Area second team pick. She averaged 14.9 points a game and sank 23 3s. Boado is at Morton College in Cicero. … “Excited for this upcoming season,” Teipel said. “The girls have been working hard, and have been committed to a teamfirst attitude in all that we do. Looking forward to having a competitive year and lots of fun with this team.”


Coach: Eric Samuelson (third season)

Last season’s record: 2-10, 1-7 FVC

Top returners: Katie Heine, sr., F, 5-7; Kaitlyn Milison, jr., F, 5-10; Alex Montez, jr. PG, 5-0; Ceili Ramirez, jr., G-F, 5-3; Lia Saunders, jr., G-F, 5-4; Avery Cartee, so. G-F, 6-1; Ashley Herzing, so. G, 5-7

Key newcomers: Claudia Kuk, so., G, 5-5; Jaden Szymonik, so., G, 5-4; Whitney Thompson, so. G-F, 5-9; Chloe Van Horn, fr., F, 5-0

Worth noting: The Whip-Purs struggled to stay healthy last season and only had forward Kelby Bannerman, now at D-I Davidson, for five full games. She led the team at 14 points and 8.8 rebounds a game. Their other top scorer, Jessie Dumoulin (9.2 ppg), also graduated and is playing at Elgin Community College. … Herzing was second on the team with 10 3s. … Ramirez, who has been on varsity since her freshman year, will be out to start the season with a knee injury. … Samuleson said this is the most balanced team he has had in 11 years of coaching high school basketball. … “We’re incredibly excited to watch this young team grow and come together,” Samuelson said. “They are getting tougher each practice and are extremely coachable. Their passion for the game is evident in the amount of AAU and offseason work they’ve put in. Every single one of them wants to be a great teammate.”


Coach: Steve Raethz (23rd season)

Last season’s record: 10-4, 7-1 FVC (FVC tournament runner-up)

Top returners: Jessie Ozzauto, jr., G, 5-10; Jori Heard, sr. F, 5-11; Sammi Campanelli, jr., G, 5-9; Nicole Flaherty, sr., G, 5-4; Ally Braaten, sr., F, 5-11; Carley Faulkner, jr., G-F, 6-1

Key newcomers: Ashlyn Horton, jr. F, 5-10; Morgan McCaughn, jr., G, 5-7; Mallory Winters, jr. F, 5-10; Alyssa Koop, jr., G, 5-8; Anna Campanelli, fr., G, 5-9

Worth noting: The Red Raiders were conference runner-up in both the regular season and FVC Tournament to Burlington Central. Huntley graduated its top scorer, Kamsi Nwogu (11.4 ppg), an All-Area second-team pick. … Ozzauto can score from all over and was second on Huntley in scoring at 8.4 points a game. Faulkner was third at 8.2 points a game, but is out for the season with a torn ACL. She also suffered a torn ACL (to her other knee) in the summer before her sophomore season. Ozzauto and Faulkner were All-Area honorable mention picks. … The Raiders won their 10th regional title in 2019, their first since 2016. … “I think the opportunity is there for us to be a very competitive team this year and our players are excited for the chance to compete,” Raethz said. “We will continue to focus on intangibles and playing solid defense and doing the little things to put us in a position to win.”

Jacobs' Bridget Grady drives the ball around Crystal Lake South's Ava Sevcik (right) during their game on March 3 at Jacobs High School in Algonquin.

Jacobs’ Bridget Grady drives the ball around Crystal Lake South’s Ava Sevcik (right) during their game on March 3 at Jacobs High School in Algonquin. (Matthew Apgar/)


Coach: Jonathan Reibel (fourth season)

Last season’s record: 1-9, 1-7 FVC

Top returners: Mackenzie Leahy, sr., G, 5-8; Bridget Grady, sr., G, 5-9; Arianna Corrado, jr., G, 5-7; Janae Gillus, jr., G, 5-3; Ella Tamburrino, sr., G, 5-8; Addison Gurney, sr., F, 5-8; Janaya Banks, sr., F, 5-7; Ariba Rasool, sr., F, 5-6; Leslie Argomaniz, sr., F, 5-6

Key newcomers: Ella Anderson jr., F, 5-11; Kylie Marbury-Savage, jr., G, 5-7; Brooke Farr, sr., G, 5-3; Anelise Rodriguez, jr., G, 5-4

Worth noting: The Golden Eagles have a lot of varsity experience back with only four graduated players from last season. … Leahy had her best season yet, averaging 13.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, three steals and two assists a game and earned All-Area second-team honors as a junior. She made 76.9% of her free throws and shot 40% from the field. Leahy and Grady will serve as team captains. … “We have a lot of returning players, which makes this one of the most experienced teams we have had in the last several years,” Reibel said. “We also have more depth than we’ve had in the past, which allows us to play many different lineups. Mackenzie and Bridget have been great in terms of getting this team ready to compete for a conference and regional title.”


Coach: Rob Niemic (eighth season)

Last season’s record: 4-9, 2-6 FVC

Top returners: Alyssa Franklin, sr., F, 5-11; Ana Gerstung, so., G, 5-6; Emerson Gasmann, jr., G, 5-9

Key newcomers: Maddi Friedle, jr., F, 5-11; Lynette Alsot, jr., F, 6-0

Worth noting: McHenry had its first losing season since 2015 after averaging 24 wins over the previous three seasons. … The Warriors graduated their top scorer, Ashley Wachter (Illinois-Springfield), who averaged 12.6 points a game and had an area-high 40 3s. … Franklin was tough inside and averaged 8.8 points and 7.9 rebounds a game and Gerstung had a standout freshman campaign at 7.8 points and 2.9 assists a game. … “This group is tight knit and fun,” Niemic said. “Our depth is a question that could challenge us. The one tangible goal we always have is to never lose two in a row. Our big-picture goal is to be playing our best basketball in February and make a run at a regional championship.”

Prairie Ridge

Coach: Tim Taege (fourth season)

Last season’s record: 5-7, 4-4 FVC

Top returners: Kelly Gende, sr., F; Vanessa Holtz, sr., F; Karsen Karlblom, sr., G; Elani Nanos, sr., G; Breanna Pollack, sr., G

Key newcomers: Brooke Benjamin, jr., G-F; Gianna Bruggeman, jr., G; Makayla Dietz-Paolelli, jr., F; Abby Kay, jr., G-F; Grace Koeppen, jr., G; Amanda Mueller, sr., G; Mackenzie Nelson, sr., G; Izzy Pollastrini, jr., G; Molly Wacaser, sr., G

Worth noting: The Wolves had a losing record overall but made it to the FVC Tournament semifinals and took fourth, falling to Dundee-Crown, 43-41, in a competitive third-place game. … Karlblom led all area players last season at 19.4 points a game. She also had an area-best 88.9% free-throw percentage and was second with 39 3s. Karlblom was an All-Area first-team pick and will play next year at D-III Hope College in Michigan. … Graduate Emma Kay (5 ppg) was the next highest scorer. Prairie Ridge also graduated its top rebounder, Alani Mocchi (7.1 rpg). … Gende was second on the team in rebounds (6.7 rpg) and she also led in assists. … “We’ve never had a more productive summer and our team continues to grow stronger,” Taege said. “Our group is hungry and will be ready to compete.”

Kishwaukee River Conference


Coach: Brad Suhling (first season)

Last season’s record: 0-11, 0-10 KRC (sixth)

Top returners: Anahi Escobar, sr., G; Abigail Tittle, sr., F; Hayley Shafer, so., G

Key newcomers: Brenda Sanchez, so., G; Julia Chupich, sr., G; Nicole Garcia, sr., G

Worth noting: Suhling takes over for Larin Filip, who coached the Hornets for the past three years. … Harvard had a down season, going winless after a 12-18 season in 2019-20. … The Hornets lost their top rebounder, Emma Ackland (8.8 rpg), to graduation, along with four other seniors. … “We’re excited about building and improving our basketball culture,” Suhling said. “We’re anxious for the season to start and enjoy all the experiences that this season has to offer. I am very fortunate to have so many enthusiastic leaders and competitors in our program.”

Johnsburg's Molly Wetzel (left) grabs a rebound against Cary-Grove's Taylor Tomasiewicz during their game in the Lake Zurich Turkey Thriller in Lake Zurich.

Johnsburg’s Molly Wetzel (left) grabs a rebound against Cary-Grove’s Taylor Tomasiewicz during their game in the Lake Zurich Turkey Thriller in Lake Zurich. (Gregory Shaver/)


Coach: Erin Stochl (fourth season)

Last season’s record: 8-6, 7-3 KRC (tied for second)

Top returners: Macy Madsen, sr., G.; Molly Wetzel, sr., F; Payton Toussaint, jr., G; Gracie Notriano, jr., G; Kaylee Fouke, so., G; Mackenzie McQuiston, so., G

Key newcomers: Bella Saxelby, sr., F; Atty Klein, sr., G

Worth noting: The Skyhawks tied Woodstock North for second in the KRC, losing twice to Marengo and once to North. Johnsburg enters the season with back-to-back regional titles and owns a winning record in each of the past seven seasons. … The Skyhawks have two of the conference’s top three returning scorers and should be among the top contenders for a KRC title. … Madsen, an All-Area second-team pick last season, was fourth in the area in scoring at 16.9 points a game, adding 7.7 rebounds and 2.8 steals a game. She has a chance to reach 1,000 career points this season. Wetzel, an All-Area honorable mention pick, nearly averaged a double-double at 9.4 points and 9.4 rebounds a game. … Toussaint started all 14 games and averaged 6 points a game. … Klein is returning from a back injury. … “We’re looking forward to playing a full schedule this season,” Stochl said. “We have a strong senior class that brings great leadership to our program. They have set high goals for themselves and we are excited to get started.”


Coach: Elisa Hanson (first season)

Last season’s record: 10-1, 10-0 KRC (first)

Top returners: Morgan Coffman, sr., F, 5-10; Addie Johnson, jr., G, 5-5

Key newcomers: Courtney Jasinski, sr., G-F, 5-3; Alexandra Botzoc, sr., F, 5-5; Michaela Almeida, jr., F, 5-8; Gianna Almeida, jr., G-F, 5-8; Bella Frohling, so., G-F, 5-7; Elizabeth Dominguez, jr., G-F, 5-5

Worth noting: Hanson takes over for Nick Rode, who coached the Indians for the past 10 years, winning 133 games and averaging 22 wins from 2017-18 to 2019-20. The Indians won 3A regional titles in 2018 and 2019. … Marengo won its third consecutive KRC championship in the spring with a perfect 10-0 record, led by the 2021 Northwest Herald Girls Basketball Player of the Year, Jennifer Heinberg, who averaged 18.2 points, six rebounds, 1.7 assists and 2.9 steals a game. She is now at McHenry County College. … Marengo also graduated forward Alexis Kunde (8.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.5 spg), an All-Area honorable mention pick, and guard Lilly Johnson (8.4 ppg, 3.5 spg). Marengo’s top returning scorers are Addie Johnson (5.2 ppg), Coffman (4.8 ppg)and Michaela Almeida (4.6 ppg) … “We are excited to get the season underway and to build upon the program’s success established under Nick Rode,” Hanson said. “After graduating three All-[KRC] seniors, this group is looking forward to the opportunity and challenge to put their stamp on the program and compete for a KRC title.”


Coach: Stephanie Oslovich (fifth season)

Last season’s record: 3-12, 3-7 KRC (tied for fourth)

Top returners: Madison Havlicek, jr., G; Lyndsay Regnier, jr., G; Zoe Hannemann, sr., F; Makenna Donohoe, sr., G

Key newcomers: Joy Holian, sr., G-F; Itziar Fernandez, jr., F; Brianna Maldonado, so., G-F; Lilly Alberts, sr., G

Worth noting: The Rockets graduated their top two scorers in Rachel Baker (11.8 ppg, 35 3s) and Jesse Klicker (12 3s). …Fernandez is an international student from Madrid, Spain, and is a player to look out for as she learns and adapts to the offense, Oslovich said. … Holian transferred from Marian Central. … “With being low on numbers last year and really young, I think this year will be competitive with our returners from last season and the new additions,” Oslovich said. “I love that we have girls like Lilly and Bri [Maldonando] coming back to the program after taking last season off. It will be great to play an entire season with this group of girls.”


Coach: Jay Fuller (first season)

Last season’s record: 4-9, 3-7 KRC (tied for fourth)

Top returners: Jania Lejman, so., G; Natalie Morrow, so., F; Shea Behrens, jr., F; Maddie Lazzarotto, sr., G

Key newcomers: Val Sardelli, so., G; Anna Crenshaw, so., F; Alisha Virani, jr., G; Madison Kentgen, sr., G; Ella White, so., G; Allison O’Brien, G-F, so.

Worth noting: The Blue Streaks graduated four, including two of their top guards (Theresa Presisto and Celia Tafoya) and will be relatively young, with only two returning seniors and two returning juniors. … Fuller takes over for Rick Peterson, who coached Woodstock the past two seasons. Fuller has coached at all levels throughout his 36-year coaching career, including 30 at Woodstock. He’s also the boys and girls cross country coach and an assistant softball coach at Woodstock North. … “Our goal every year will be to compete for and win the KRC championship,” Fuller said. The girls are practicing hard and getting better at the fundamentals. We are also building the culture and expectations for the team. The girls are having fun and pushing each other to improve.”

Woodstock North's Lacey Schaffter eyes a free-throw attempt.

Woodstock North’s Lacey Schaffter eyes a free-throw attempt. (Daryl Quitalig/)

Woodstock North

Coach: Mike Lewis (13th season)

Last season’s record: 7-3, 7-3 KRC (second)

Top returners: Lacey Schaffter, sr., PG, 5-6; Kalei Jones, sr., SG, 5-4; Avery Crabill, sr., G-F, 5-6; Katelynn Ward, sr., PF, 5-9; Trinity Tillman, sr., F, 5-9; Gracie Zankle jr., PG, 5-4; Sophia Fabian, jr., SG, 5-8; Jadira Carreno, sr., F, 5-6; Rachel Fadahunsi, sr., F, 5-5

Key newcomers: Addison Rishling, so., PG, 5-4; Adelynn Saunders, so., SG, 5-7; Isabella Borta, so., F, 5-10; Ashley Janeczko, so., F, 5-10

Worth noting: The Thunder didn’t play a game outside of conference and tied Johnsburg for second place in the KRC, ending the season with back-to-back losses against KRC champion Marengo. North won the school’s first KRC championship in 2019-20 with a program-record 21 wins and still roster a handful of players from that team, including Schaffter, Jones, Crabill, Ward, Tillman and Zankle. … Schaffter, an All-Area honorable mention pick, averaged 13.2 points to lead the Thunder last season, along with five rebounds, two assists and 3.7 steals a game. She knocked down 16 3s. … “We have a great group of hardworking kids,” Lewis said. “We are looking forward to the opportunities to compete.”

East Suburban Catholic Conference

Marian Central

Coach: Ryan Sasis (first season)

Last season’s record: 3-10, 0-6 ESCC (eighth)

Top returners: Abby Todd, sr., F, 5-9; Jordyn Kratochvil, jr., G-F 5-6; Madison Kenyon, so., F, 5-8

Key newcomers: Kerri Johnson, jr., G, 5-6; Michaela Johnson, so., G, 5-7; Lucy Iden, so., F, 5-11; Ella Notaro, so., G, 5-6; Kiara Kelly, so., G, 5-8; Juliette Huff, fr., G-F, 5-8; Abbey Miner, fr., G, 5-4; Madeline Sasis, fr., G, 5-0; Adriana Wrzos, fr., F, 5-7

Worth noting: The Hurricanes have not won an ESCC game in the past two seasons, going 0-14. … Sasis takes over for Ephraim Lee, who coached Marian for the past three seasons, including a Class 2A regional title in 2019-20. … The Hurricanes lost a trio of senior starters: Morgan Laudick, Jenna Golembiewski and Julia Hogel to graduation, along with guard-forward Joy Holian, who transferred to Richmond-Burton. … Sasis likes the mix of his returners and a big group of underclassmen. … “My coaching staff and I are very excited to be at Marian Central,” Sasis said. “We have a lot of new faces on our roster and they are eager to compete. I believe we will surprise a lot of people this season.”.

Northeastern Athletic Conference


Coach: Marty Hammond (eighth season)

Last season’s record: 3-9, 2-8 NAC

Top returners: Jessica Webber, so., G; Korhyn Geary sr, F; Corrine Elswick, sr., G; Hannah Reiter so, G.; Adriana Valdez, so. C

Key newcomers: Evelyn Heber, so., G; Rachael Freitag jr. C; Rileigh Gaddini fr, G;. Marissa Johnson, fr., G

Worth noting: The Giants graduated their top three scorers from last season, including Karly Strand (12.4 ppg). Abby Wanderer (8.42 ppg) and Kendra Cashmore (6.98 ppg). … Last year was A-H’s first losing year since 2011-12. … Webber was fourth on the team in scoring at 4.5 points a game, while Geary had a team-best 7 rebounds a game. … “We know the rules of the road,” Hammond said. “We know what is in front of us and what is behind us. This year, we have some high expectations and they will not let anything get in the way of their competitive enthusiasm to win. A conference title is within striking range if they stay hungry and humble.”

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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