Fox Valley Conference
Coach: Collin Kalamatas (first season)
Last season's record: 22-8, 11-1 Kishwaukee River Conference, tied for first
Top returners: Kathryn Schmidt, sr., G-F, 6-0; Elana Wells, jr., G, 5-7; Reili Gardner, sr., F, 5-8; Zoey Kollhoff, sr., F, 5-9; Alex Lichner, sr., F, 6-0; Maddie Menke, sr., G, 5-6; Lily Moretti, sr., G, 5-7; Avery Andersen, jr., G, 5-8
Key newcomers: Rylie Duval, so., G, 5-7; Lauren Knief, so., F, 5-9
Worth noting: The Rockets tied Marengo for first in the Kishwaukee River Conference last season but make the switch to the 10-team FVC. ... Kalamatas coached at Woodstock last year. ... Wells can score inside and outside and averaged 13.6 points, four assists and 3.6 steals a game. ... Schmidt (14.6 ppg, 6 rpg) battled injuries but still finished with 36 3s in 17 games. She's a Division II Lewis commit. ... The Rockets are versatile. Kollhoff is committed to Illinois for soccer, and Gardner is committed to Illinois State for softball. ... Moretti is a deep threat and led the Rockets with 65 3s. ... "The FVC is really tough, and we feel like that is a huge advantage in preparing us for the Class 3A postseason," Kalamatas said. "We want to come out and earn the respect of every opponent and play with an edge."
Coach: Tony Moretti (first season)
Last season's record: 12-17 overall, 9-7 FVC (fourth)
Top returners: Lauren Passaglia, jr., F-C; Emily Lukowski, so., G-F; Lilliana Kurth, so., G
Key newcomers: Kate Larry, jr., G; Grace Clarke, sr., G-F; Frankie Cruz, sr., F-C; Lauren Getner, sr., F; Paige Hoscheit, jr., F
Worth noting: The Trojans had a losing record for only the fourth time in Rod Saffert's tenure as head coach. Saffert, who went 248-135 in 13 years, stepped down after the season. ... C-G will miss the contributions of All-FVC forward Maddie Jannusch, who led the Trojans in scoring (9.8 ppg) and rebounding, and Bailey Steinkamp (6.7 ppg, team-high 26 3-pointers), who both graduated. ... Lukowski made a huge impact as a freshman, averaging 7.3 points a game and shooting 46.6% from the field. ... Passaglia, a three-sport athlete (volleyball and soccer), played in all 29 games as a sophomore. She had 15 points in a season-opening victory over Wauconda on Monday. Kurth scored 16.
Crystal Lake Central
Coach: Derek Crabill (fourth season)
Last season's record: 17-12 overall, 7-9 FVC (tied for fifth)
Top returners: Nora Ryan, jr., F, 6-0; Hailey Geske, sr., F, 5-10; Lily Penza, sr., G, 5-10
Key newcomers: Paige Keller, so., G-F, 5-9
Worth noting: The Tigers upset No. 1-seeded Dundee-Crown, 48-39, in the Class 4A Cary-Grove Regional final last season for the team's first regional championship since 2009 and first in 4A. ... The Tigers graduated their top two guards in Cori Hamill (10.2 ppg, 2.1 apg) and four-year starter Maddie Haslow (9.8 ppg, 49 3s), both Northwest Herald All-Area honorable mentions and All-FVC members. ... Central also lost its third- and fourth-leading scorers, Emma Fleming (7.2 ppg) and Megan Wozniak (6.5 ppg), to graduation. ... Ryan (5.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg) is Central's top returning scorer. ... The Tigers' 17 wins were their most since 2010 (18-11).
Crystal Lake South
Coach: Mark Mucha (sixth season)
Last season's record: 7-22 overall, 4-12 FVC (tied for seventh)
Top returners: Emily Rich, jr., G; Kyra Swartz, sr., G; Brooke Kuffel, jr., G; Allie Schoen, sr., F; Ava Sevcik, jr., G; Maddie Scharrenberg, so., G; Gaby Trier, sr., F
Key newcomers: Kree Nunnally, fr., G
Worth noting: The Gators finished with seven wins for the second straight season. ... Kuffel, who recently committed to Wisconsin for softball, was the team's only All-FVC selection last season, leading the Gators at 7.4 points and 5.7 rebounds a game. ... Scharrenberg added 5.7 points a game, and Sevcik made a team-high 23 3s. ... "We have lots of experience back," Mucha said. "Looking to continue seeing us take the next step forward."
Coach: Sarah Miller (seventh season)
Last season's record: 23-9 overall, 14-2 FVC (second)
Top returners: Payton Schmidt, sr., G, 5-6; Katelyn Skibinski, sr., G, 5-8; Cassidy Randl, sr., G, 5-10; Makayla Gotter, sr., F, 5-9; Alyssa Crenshaw, jr., F, 5-10; Gianine Boado, jr., G, 5-9
Key newcomers: Emily Oldham, sr., G, 5-3
Worth noting: The Chargers were second in the FVC for the second straight season and are looking to win their first regional championship since winning three straight from 2015 to 2017. ... Crenshaw, Schmidt and Skibinski were All-FVC selections. Crenshaw was a Northwest Herald All-Area second-team pick and averaged a team-high 10.2 points and 8.9 rebounds a game. Schmidt, a Northwest Herald All-Area honorable mention, averaged 10 points a game and sank 100 free throws. Skibinski averaged 9.5 points and two steals a game. ... Boado averaged nine points and three assists a game with a team-high 52 3s. ... Randl missed her entire junior season with a torn ACL. She recently committed to D-III Loras. ... "We have a one-play, one-game mentality, and we focused on a competitive and strong season," Miller said.
Coach: Eric Samuelson (first season)
Last season's record: 27-6 overall, 15-1 FVC (first)
Top returners: Kelby Bannerman, jr., F, 6-1; Alyssa Cork, sr., F, 5-8; Katie Del Re, sr., G, 5-6; Veronica Walker, sr., F, 5-8; Jessie Dumoulin, jr., G, 5-4; Jacey Lambert, so., F, 5-10
Key newcomers: Layla Tiongco, jr., G, 5-4; Jenae Rossetti, so., G, 5-5; Alexis Woltman, so., F, 5-10; Ceili Ramirez, fr., G, 5-3
Worth noting: The Whip-Purs won their third FVC title since 2015 and finished with an area-best 27 wins. ... Samuelson takes over for Mike Featherly, who coached the girls team for six seasons and was named the boys head coach last spring. Samuelson was Featherly’s assistant on the girls team for three seasons. He previously coached five years as an assistant at Belvidere. ... Bannerman has multiple D-I offers and is one of the area's premiere post players. She was a Northwest Herald All-Area first-team selection, averaging 12.3 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists a game. ... Hampshire graduated five seniors, including guard Ally Cermak (10.4 ppg, 56 3s), an All-Area second-team pick. ... Dumoulin is sidelined with a torn ACL. ... "This year's team wants to be known as relentless, tough and accountable to each other," Samuelson said. "They have really embraced the idea of becoming a family."
Coach: Steve Raethz (21st season)
Last season's record: 12-19 overall, 7-9 FVC (tied for fifth)
Top returners: Kamsi Nwogu, jr., F-C, 5-11; Anna Seng, sr., G, 5-4; Sydney Novak, sr., F, 5-11; Ashley Guazzo, jr., G, 5-4; Ali Galante, sr., F, 5-10; Raquel Radermacher, jr., G-F, 5-9; Madison Wash, jr., F, 5-8;
Key newcomers: Jessie Ozzauto, fr., G, 5-10; Carley Faulkner, fr., G-F, 5-10; Nicole Flaherty, so., G, 5-4; Sara Rysavy, jr., G, 5-4; Francesca Romano, jr., F, 5-9; Kendall Krich, jr., G-F, 5-6; Riyana Walker, jr., G, 5-6; Hadley Giovacchini, sr., F, 5-11
Worth noting: Nwogu was second in the area in scoring last season, averaging 15.7 points and 4.5 rebounds a game. The Northwest Herald All-Area second-team selection had two of the highest scoring games in the area last year of 32 and 31 points. ... Seng averaged 4.5 points and 2.6 steals a game and made 18 3s. ... Radermacher and Wash are both returning from ACL injuries that wiped out their entire sophomore seasons. Radermacher was an All-FVC pick as a freshman. ... Huntley lost to Boylan, 53-27, in its second game last season but almost upset the No.1-seeded Titans in the postseason, losing, 62-56, in the Class 4A regional semifinals. ... "I think the opportunity is there to turn the corner and be a very competitive team this season," Raethz said. "Our success lies in how we defend and rebound as a team."
Coach: Jonny Reibel (second season)
Last season's record: 4-25, 1-15 FVC (ninth)
Top returners: Maya Acevedo, sr., G, 5-6; Cora Slavich, sr., G, 5-4; Liz Schwartz, sr., G, 5-6; Courtney Durben, sr., G, 5-5; Sydney Calcagno, sr., G, 5-5; Roslyn Leitner, sr., F, 5-10; Courtney Pahl, sr., G, 5-4; Melissa Fessler, sr., F, 5-8; Elena Sloan, sr., F, 5-9
Key newcomers: Haley Schaffer, jr., F, 5-7; Brooklyn Krahl, jr., F, 5-7; Breanna Torres, jr., G, 5-2; Mackenzie Leahy, so., G, 5-7
Worth noting: The Golden Eagles had a down season but have plenty of experience coming back with nine senior returners. Jacobs had a winning record over the summer, and Reibel hopes that translates to more wins. ... Schwartz was Jacobs' only All-FVC pick last season and enters her fourth season on varsity ... Leahy will be a player to watch for the next three years, Reibel said. ... "We're not the tallest team, but we have a group that is athletic and has great endurance. We'll be able to extend the floor and use many different lineups," Reibel said.
Coach: Rob Niemic (sixth season)
Last season's record: 21-11 overall, 11-5 FVC (third)
Top returners: Ava Interrante, sr., G, 5-9; Katie Beyer, jr., F, 6-1; Ashley Wachter, jr., G, 5-8; Holly Maye, sr., F, 6-0; Bre Hoye, sr., G, 5-4
Key newcomers: Marissa Hanley, jr., G, 5-8; Gracie Gasmann, jr., G, 5-7
Worth noting: The Warriors won 20 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2003 and 2004. ... Interrante (Valparaiso) was a Northwest Herald All-Area first-team pick, averaging 14.1 points, 4.5 assists, and 2.6 steals a game. She made 37 3s in 20 games and is 297 points from 1,000 in her career... McHenry will have to replace the scoring of Izzy Gscheidle (14.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg), who finished her career with 1,292 points. ... Beyer was a Northwest Herald All-Area honorable mention, averaging 13 points and 8.1 rebounds a game. Wachter is a three-year varsity player and averaged 9.7 points and 2.9 assists a game with 50 3s. ... "This team has the best attitude and grit I have seen as a coach," Niemic said. "We have really great athletes and still want to score into the 60s. Our depth is a question that will challenge us."
Coach: Tim Taege (second season)
Last season's record: 12-17 overall, 4-12 FVC (tied for seventh)
Top returners: Victoria Fisher, sr., F, 5-9; Sam Gablenz, jr., G; 5-9; Emma Kay, jr., G-F, 5-9; Karsen Karlblom, so., G, 5-11; Alana Mocchi, jr., F, 5-9
Key newcomers: Autumn Brown, jr., C, 6-1; Cora Collins, jr., G, 5-8; Kelly Gende, so., F, 5-11; Elani Nanos, so., PG, 5-5; Madi O'Brien, jr., G-F, 5-9; Calista Pollack, jr., F, 5-9
Worth noting: The Wolves will have to replace the leadership and production of Karly Statter (11.4 ppg, 27 3-pointers) and Maddy Ljunngren (6.3 ppg, 48 3s), both four-year starters. ... Karlblom, a Northwest Herald All-Area honorable mention as a freshman, led Prairie Ridge at 12.2 points a game and is already one of the area's top shooters. She was second in the area with 71 3-pointers and shot 46 of 58 (78%) from the free-throw line. ... Gablenz was among the team leaders at 6.7 points and 5.2 rebounds a game. ... "We have pretty good size and length, and we're deep," Taege said. "There is some real potential for us defensively."
Kishwaukee River Conference
Coach: Larin Filip (second season)
Last season's record: 3-23 overall, 0-12 KRC (seventh)
Top returners: Lauren Shafer, sr., G; Haily Hill, sr., PG; Cassandra Bailey, sr., F; Dinah Harter, sr., C
Key newcomers: Julia Chupich, so., G; Alexia Torres, jr., G
Worth noting: The Hornets won't be short on experience this season with 11 upperclassmen, including seven seniors. Last season's team had one senior. ... Shafer scored almost 25% of Harvard's points last season, averaging 6.9 points a game. Bailey was the team's top rebounder. ... The Hornets have not won a conference game in four seasons, but their three victories were the most for Harvard since 2015. ... "This team has been playing together since the sixth grade," Filip said. "We have a senior group of true leaders and teachers."
Coach: Erin Thomas (second season)
Last season's record: 19-12 overall, 8-4 KRC (third)
Top returners: Mackenzie Straulin, sr., F, 5-8; Kaitlyn Owen, sr., G, 5-2; Lauren Hendrixson, sr., G, 5-4; Sarah Metze, sr., G, 5-4; Molly Wetzel, so., F, 5-9; Macy Madsen, so., G, 5-8
Key newcomers: Shannon Flynn, sr., G, 5-10; Saida Blount, jr., P, 5-8; Atty Klein, so., G, 5-7
Worth noting: The Skyhawks won their third regional title in four years. ... Four-year varsity players Morgan Madsen and Megan Madsen both graduated, leaving a large void in scoring. Morgan Madsen (14.4 ppg, 10 rpg) earned Northwest Herald All-Area first-team honors and was the only local player to average a double-double. She set the Skyhawks' single-season record with 310 rebounds and eclipsed 1,000 career points, as did Megan Madsen (11.5 ppg, 61 3s), an All-Area honorable mention. The team's third-leading scorer, Kaitlyn Davis (7.6 ppg), also graduated. ... Straulin is the team's top returning scorer at 6.5 points a game. ... "We have a very athletic group that likes to play aggressively and fast," Thomas said. "We also have a strong senior class that has a lot of talent and a very high basketball IQ."
Coach: Nick Rode (ninth season)
Last season's record: 24-7 overall, 11-1 KRC (tied for first)
Top returners: Jordan Parker, sr., F, 5-6; Jennifer Heinberg, jr., G, 5-7
Key newcomers: Lilly Johnson, jr., G, 5-6; Alexis Kunde, jr., G, 5-7
Worth noting: The Indians won their second straight regional title and first conference title since 2012 last season, sharing the KRC championship with Burlington Central. ... Marengo last won back-to-back regional titles in 1996 and 1997. ... The Indians graduated two of the area's biggest play makers, including 2019 Northwest Herald Girls Basketball Player of the Year Marissa Knobloch, now a freshman at D-II Indianapolis. She led all local players at 19.8 points a game, making an area-high 81 3s. Hannah Ritter, an All-Area second-team pick and the 2019 Northwest Herald Female Athlete of the Year, also graduated. Ritter averaged 6.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 2.7 blocks a game. ... Heinberg averaged 10.8 points a game and hit 64 3s (third most in the area). Parker averaged 10.4 points and 5.7 rebounds a game. Both earned All-KRC honors and were Northwest Herald All-Area honorable mentions. ... "Our biggest weakness will be that many players do not have much varsity experience," Rode said. "Our goal is to develop championship habits."
Coach: Stephanie Oslovich (third season)
Last season's record: 13-15 overall, 6-6 KRC (fourth)
Top returners: Peyton Bannon, sr., G; Rachel Baker, jr., G
Key newcomers: Carys De Lucia, jr., F; Hailey Cawley, jr., G-F
Worth noting: The Rockets graduated four and lost another player who moved out of the district. ... Bannon, who recently signed to play softball at Wisconsin, is the team's top returning scorer. She was a Northwest Herald All-Area honorable mention in basketball and led the team in scoring (13 ppg) and 3-pointers (45). ... Graduate Kasey Miller (11.1 ppg) was second on the team with 44 3s. ... "We'll have a deep bench, so we will be able to use eight to 10 players," Oslovich said. "This will allow us to put pressure on the ball and push at our speed. We should have good guard play and improved post play this season."
Coach: Rick Peterson (first season)
Last season's record: 6-25 overall, 2-10 KRC (sixth)
Top returners: Emma Brand, sr., F, 6-1; Erin Lockwood, sr., C, 6-2; Juel Mecklenburg, sr., F, 5-7; Lucia Alcazar, sr., G, 5-2
Key newcomers: Maddy Lazzarotto, so., G; 5-2; Marren Dougherty, so., F, 5-7; Theresa Presisto, jr., G, 5-3; Celia Tafoya, jr., G, 5-5
Worth noting: Peterson takes over for Collin Kalamatas. Peterson, an employee at Shaw Media, coached the McHenry County College women's basketball team from 1987 to 1989 and went 41-10. ... Woodstock is 26-62 over the past three seasons and has not won more than 10 games since 2015. The Streaks graduated five but return their top two scorers in Brand (10 ppg, 6 rpg, 2 apg) and Lockwood (8 ppg, 6 ppg). Brand earned All-KRC honors last season and was an All-KRC member in volleyball. She has an offer from D-II Lewis for basketball. ... "Our goals are to get better every day," Peterson said. "Our attitude and effort are sky high."
Coach: Mike Lewis (11th season)
Last season's record: 11-16 overall, 4-8 KRC (fifth)
Top returners: Kaitlyn Ford, sr., G, 5-6; Abby Hartmann, sr., G, 5-6; Kelsie Goetz, sr., F, 5-7; Debbie Quist, sr., G, 5-3; Kirsten Morey, sr., F, 5-7; Madison Czischki, jr., G, 5-4; Colette Jones, jr., G, 5-7; Allison Goers, jr., F, 5-9; Katelynn Ward, so., F, 5-9; Lacey Schaffter, so., G, 5-3; Trinity Tillman, so., F, 5-9; Avery Crabill, so., G-F, 5-7
Key newcomers: Kalei Jones, so., G, 5-4; Mackenzie Rogers, so., G, 5-3; Gracie Zankle, fr., G, 5-3.
Worth noting: Hartmann led the Thunder at 11.6 points and five rebounds a game. Ford sank a team-best 42 3-pointers and averaged 6.6 points a game. Czischki made 20 3s. ... The Thunder graduated point guard Taylor Prerost (9.8 ppg), last season's only All-KRC selection for North. Prerost finished her career as the program's all-time leader in free-throw attempts and led the Thunder last year in steals and assists. ... "I think we have a great group of girls that will work hard for each other," Lewis said. "I really like our depth right now."
East Suburban Catholic Conference
Coach: Ephraim Lee (second season)
Last season's record: 12-17 overall, 2-5 ESCC (tied for sixth)
Top returners: Janelle Allen, sr., C, 6-1; Morgan Laudick, jr., G, 6-0; Lindsey Bahl, sr., F, 5-9; Nicole Santopadre, jr., G, 5-11
Key newcomers: Julia Hogel, jr., G, 5-3; Jenna Golembiewski, jr., G, 5-8
Worth noting: The Hurricanes won last season's Northern Illinois Holiday Classic, beating Marengo in the final. ... Allen was a Northwest Herald All-Area first-team pick and averaged 14 points, six rebounds and two blocks a game. She signed with D-I Holy Cross this month and earned All-ESCC honors for the first time as a junior. ... Lee, who is Allen's brother, took over coaching duties in the middle of last season. Lee is a former standout at running back for Marian's football team and graduated in 2014. He also coaches football in the fall. ... The Hurricanes return three of five starters, which will go a long way in competing in the always challenging ESCC. "We will always try to play for each other and have a purpose," Lee said. "We made it to a regional final last year; this year, we'll be looking to win it."
Northeastern Athletic Conference
Coach: Marty Hammond (sixth season)
Last season's record: 19-6 overall, 6-1 NAC (first)
Top returners: Rachel Pahl, sr., G, 5-5; Kendra Cashmore, jr., F, 5-9; Abby Wanderer, jr., C, 5-9; Karly Strand, jr., G, 5-6
Key newcomers: Anna Webber, sr., G, 5-6; Korhyn Geary, so., F, 5-7; Corrine Elswick, so., G, 5-6
Worth noting: The Giants tied a program record for wins in a season with 19 and won a conference title for the first time in 12 years. ... A-H will have a lot of production to replace after losing three starters to graduation: Eden Wanderer, Kylee Winter and Taylor Horton. Winter was second on the team in scoring (10.4 ppg) and led the Giants in rebounds, assists and steals. ... Pahl led the team at 12.1 points a game in her first year as a varsity starter. She enters her senior year 350 points from 1,000 in her career. ... "Participation during the summer gave our team some much needed experience, but this will be a very different team compared to last year," Hammond said. "Eden Wanderer, Kylee Winter and Taylor Horton were instrumental in our program going 19-6."