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SouthtownStar 2013-14 Girls Basketball Preseason Top 10

Updated: December 19, 2013 6:07AM



1. Marian Catholic

Last season: 33-1 overall, 9-0 East Suburban Catholic

Coach: Dan Murray

Top returnees: Ashton Millender (Sr. G), Dajhae Mullins (Sr. G), Kauai Bradley (Jr. F), Teniya Page (Jr. G).

Outlook: The Spartans will miss “big sister” Megan Walsh, but there are plenty of big performers to help defend the Class 4A state title, won on Bradley’s buzzer-beater. Millender is back as the leading scorer, while Page is an excellent floor leader.

2. Homewood-Flossmoor

Last season: 18-10 overall, 11-3 SouthWest Suburban Blue

Coach: Anthony Smith

Top returnees: Jaiveonna Norris (Sr. G/F), Ashley Johnson (Jr. G).

Outlook: Add transfers Amarah Coleman, Kristen Moore and Destiny Harris from Bolingbrook, Bria Stallworth from Marist and Faith Suggs from Plainfield East, it’s a formidable team with which Smith will make his debut. Coleman, Suggs, Moore and Norris are all 5-foot-11 or taller. And 6-2 H-F volleyball starter Kandace Tate also came out for the team.

3. Hillcrest

Last season: 21-6 overall, 13-0 South Suburban Blue

Coach: John Maniatis

Top returnees: Tanzania Sherrill (Jr. G), Tierra Sanders (Sr. F), Shayla Joyner (Sr. C), Aliah Acker (Jr. G).

Outlook: Sherrill is the lone double-figure returning scorer for the Hawks, but that doesn’t mean they won’t contend. Sanders and Joyner are both three-year varsity players, and Acker a three-point and passing threat.

4. Marist

Last season: 24-10 overall, 6-3 East Suburban Catholic

Coach: Mary Pat Connolly

Top returnees: Brooke Wyderski (Sr. F), Claire Finn (Sr. C), Dajae Black (So. G).

Outlook: JeTaun Rouse and Leah Bolton were among seven seniors who graduated from last season’s sectional finalist. It’ll be a tough rebuild, but tough is Wyderski’s middle name. The 6-3 Finn should nicely fill in the post, while Black is one of six sophomores.

5. Crete-Monee

Last season: 24-5 overall, 6-4 Southland

Coach: Christina Cobbins

Top returnees: Alexia DeBose (Sr. G), Ashley Henry (Sr. F), Marsha Howard (Jr. F), Lindzy Cox (So. G), Sarah Humphrey (So. F).

Outlook: The Warriors are looking to build off last season’s surprising success. All five starters are back, including the Eastern Michigan-bound forward Henry and Alabama A&M-bound guard DeBose.

6. Lincoln-Way East

Last season: 20-9 overall, 11-3 SouthWest Suburban Blue

Coach: Jim Martin

Top returnees: Kara Krolicki (Sr. G), Dana O’Grady (Sr. G), Claire McMahon (So. F).

Outlook: The Griffins will be launching plenty of long-distance shots this season, led by one of the area’s best at shooting threes (63), Krolicki. The 6-foot McMahon was productive as a freshman. O’Grady was a member of the 200-meter relay state champion team.

7. Mother McAuley

Last season: 22-7 overall, 6-1 Girls Catholic Athletic Conference

Coach: Ashley Luke Clanton

Top returnees: Elizabeth Nye (Sr. G), Lauren Carlson (Sr. F), Jasma Williams (Sr. C), Raven Willis (Sr. G), Molly McGinty (Sr. G).

Outlook: Floor leader Alyssa Siwek has graduated, but the Mighty Macs return double-figure scorers in Carlson and Nye. Williams and Willis are staunch defenders, while McGinty can shoot the three.

8. Rich South

Last season: 22-6 overall, 8-2 Southland

Coach: Brian Mays

Top returnees: Tierra Webb (Jr. G), Dasia Evans (So. F), Tierney Lockett (Jr. G), Sierra Ellis (Sr. F).

Outlook: The Garrett twins are gone, but the Stars should be fine. Webb was a state three-point finalist, while Evans had five double-doubles. Lockett is an excellent passer who was key in helping the Stars eliminate Hillcrest last season.

9. Bloom

Last season: 22-6 overall, 10-0 Southland

Coach: Ron Newquist

Top returnees: Danielle King (Jr. G), Jailyn Lumpkin (So. G), Anika Johnson (So. G/F).

Outlook: Aside from Player of the Year Bria Gaines graduating, the Blazing Trojans received bad news with Katherine Strong out for the season (ACL). King, however, brings them scoring and passing excitement, setting the tone for what figures to be a small, but fast team.

10. Lincoln-Way North

Last season: 23-6 overall, 11-3 SouthWest Suburban Red

Coach: Jim Nair

Top returnees: Sam Pietruszynski (Sr. G), Ellen Graham (Sr. F), Valen Manns (Jr. F), Kayla Kieklak (Jr. G).

Outlook: The Phoenix is deeper than many, with height in 6-2 Graham and 5-11 Manns, and a clutch shooter in Pietruszynski. If Kieklak can replace Leigh LaRocco at the point, North will contend.



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