Winter Girls Basketball Preview 2022

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Let’s tip off the show with basketball as Patrick Codo and I give you a glimpse of what’s to come on the hardwood. This preview is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank.

Benet Academy

The Benet Academy Redwings once again established themselves as one of the best girls basketball teams in the state last season going undefeated in the ESCC at 7-0 and posting an overall record of 30-5. The success during the regular season propelled them to a conference and regional title, knocking off Naperville North basketball in the sectional final, then winning a supersectional, and reaching the 4A state semifinals against Stevenson. Unfortunately, they came up short, but still managed to bring home the program’s fourth state trophy in six seasons. The Redwings will have to replace key players in Margaret Temple, Olympia Kokkines, who committed to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and Navy commit Morgan Demos. They do return Maggie and Emilia Sularski, Sam Trimberger, and most importantly, one of the top players in the country in Lenee Beaumont who is committed to Indiana. The senior has already accomplished so much under head coach Joe Kilbride, but there’s always room for improvement. 

Joe Kilbride: “We’re trying to get her to learn how to walk that line of being unselfish and team-first, but at the same time to be dominant when you need to do it and know how to flip that switch to go from nice facilitator to complete dog.”

Lenee Beaumont: “Well I really want to win state. I know that’s long ways away, but obviously, we had a chance to win it last year and that was a really cool experience so I want to just go back down to Redbird Arena and get it done this time.”

She hopes to elevate her game to even greater heights this season and help Benet and coach Kilbride make another run at a state championship trophy.

Naperville North

Another team that had a memorable season was Naperville North basketball. The Huskies were also undefeated in their conference with a record of 10-0 in the DVC while going 30-4 overall. North didn’t lose its first game until a month into the season and had winning streaks of 12 and 15 during the course of the 2021-22 campaign. They were, of course, DVC champions as well as regional champions. As mentioned in the Benet preview, North did fall in the sectional final to the Redwings after a historic season. The team will have big shoes to fill with Hope Aniceto heading to the State University of New York at Canton, Sarah Crossett committing to Tufts University, and 2,000 career point scorer Mackenzie Hare going to Marquette. Head coach Erin Colletti will have key returnees Peyton Fenner, Abby Drendel, Layla Henderson, and Abby Homan all back for their senior years. The Huskies look to ride their veteran leadership to another DVC title and possibly an even deeper run in the playoffs this winter.

Waubonsie Valley

The regular season was up and down for the Waubonsie Valley Warriors. The team was competitive in the DVC at 5-5 with a 16-14 mark overall. The green and gold alternated wins and losses all season, but managed to finish strong with an impressive regional title victory over 22-win Plainfield North. Just like Naperville North, Waubonise basketball was stopped by the powerful Benet Academy team in the sectional semifinal, but a championship run in the regionals could give the Warriors momentum heading into this season. Seven seniors graduated from the program including Amari Banks, Meredith Martens, Devin Lynch, and Lauren Threat. The dynamic duo of Taylor Curry and Hannah Laub is back. However, Laub injured her knee this past spring during softball season, so the Warriors hope to have her back on the court at some point this winter. WV does get a big addition to the team in Khaliah Reid who transferred from Metea Valley after the District 204 boundary change. Waubonsie Valley hopes to get healthy and take a big leap this season.

Naperville Central

The Naperville Central Redhawks, led by legendary coach Andy Nussbaum, were another team that dealt with some inconsistencies last season. They finished just a game above .500 at 14-13. However, they were strong during DVC play with a 7-3 record and ended up in second place behind their crosstown rivals Naperville North. The Redhawks were unable to carry that level of play into the postseason as they dropped a regional semifinal matchup to Oswego East. Now they’ll have to replace the departures of Haley Hayes, Aditi Prasad, and Trinity Strang. Central will return Ella Burke, Kendall Lenz, Megan Norkett, and Callie Tumilty. With eight seniors on this year’s squad, the Redhawks look to use experience to their advantage in trying to take another step forward in the DVC race.

Neuqua Valley

Just like several of our teams in this preview, the Neuqua Valley Wildcats struggled to find consistency. They did have a winning record overall at 15-13, but slipped a bit in the DVC, going 4-6. Their best stretch of the season was a four-game winning streak in the month of January. However, in the playoffs the Cats were eliminated in the regional semifinal as they were knocked out by Plainfield East. The team also loses multiple seniors in Shannon Gillespie, Alison Hoffmann, Elizabeth George, and Maia Clifford. The good news is that the Wildcats keep the same key core with Zoe Navarro, Kylee Norkus, Tia Poulakidas, and Caitlin Washington all back playing their third-straight season together. We’ll see if this experienced group can propel Neuqua to the top of the conference standings in girls basketball.

Metea Valley

The Metea Valley Mustangs were consistent a season ago, unfortunately that consistency came in the loss column of the standings. MV was just 3-24 and had a winless DVC record at 0-10. Despite the trying season, they did have some bright spots including Khaliah Reid who led the Mustangs in scoring. However, the aforementioned Reid is now a member of Waubonsie Valley, but she is the only key player who will not return. Lucy Burk, Caitlin Clish, Jamie Nosek, and Raina Penttila look to fill the void left by Reid as they continue their careers with the black and gold. Penttila and company hope to motivate the team to its first winning season since 2015.

Check out the other previews here!