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Rolling Meadows' Alexis Glasgow (left) drives against Marian Catholic's Kauai Bradley (right) during their Class 4A championship gamel. | Sun-Times Media Library
Phil Brozynski’s Girls Basketball Super 25
With last year’s record, final ranking
1. Marian Catholic 33-1 (1)
Annie Byrne stepped down after leading last year’s team to a state championship, and former Lisle and Immaculate Conception coach Don Murray takes over. Three starters return, including Ashton Millender, Kauai Bradley and Teniya Page. Dajhae Mullins returns from a knee injury.
2. Rolling Meadows 30-4 (2)
Five starters are back from the team that was three seconds and a rebound away from winning the state championship last year, including 5-6 point guard Allie Kemph, 5-11 Northwestern recruit Alexis Glasgow and 6-2 forward Jenny Vliet.
3. Young 29-5 (3)
The Dolphins graduated All-American Linnae Harper and steady Sydney Snower, but welcome back 6-5 Khaalia Hillsman, 5-11 Taylor Brame, guard Tanita Allen and a healthy 5-8 sophomore Kiara Lewis, who was injured all of last year.
4. Montini 35-2 (5)
Four starters return from the team that was upset by Vernon Hills in last year’s 3A semifinal – Kelsey Bogdan, 6-1 Kateri Stone, 6-2 Kelly Karlis and Sara Ross. Junior Lea Kerstein (65 3’s last year), Claire Jakaitis and Paulina Castro add depth.
5. Trinity 23-5 (15)
The Blazers return seven of their top nine from last year including 5-8 DePaul recruit Lauren Prochaska, 5-10 junior Patricia Stritzel and 5-4 sophomore Annie McKenna. Six-foot sophomore Amber Reese is healthy after missing all of last year.
6. Homewood-Flossmoor 17-9 (NR)
Tony Smith was a nice hire, but the big news is the addition of 6-2 junior Faith Suggs (transfer from Plainfleld East) and 5-11 Amarah Coleman (transfer from Bolingbrook). Holdovers include Ashley Johnson, Jaiveonna Norris and 6-3 Kandace Tate.
7. Wheaton Warrenville South 29-4 (8)
DePaul-bound Meghan Waldron is back for her senior year after averaging 19 points and eight rebounds a game as a junior. Maggie Dansdill (ACL last December) returns, as do senior Melinda Franke and junior Olivia Linebarger.
8. Joliet Catholic 24-5 (13)
Michigan State recruit Jasmine Lumpkin averaged 19 points and 12 rebounds last year. Sophomore guard Nicole Ekhomu added 16 points and three steals per outing. They will be supported by some talented freshmen and challenged by a rugged schedule.
9. Neuqua Valley 27-4 (17)
Will Bolingbrook still be a roadblock? Five-foot-1 1 senior forward Najee Smith and 5-7 guard Malia Smith lead the Wildcats, who return nearly intact from a year ago. Also back are 6-2 post Bryce Menendez and sophomores Myia Starks and Kai Moon.
10. Fremd 26-8 (18)
The Vikings are big. Big as in 6-2 Barrington transfer Bryana Hopkins, 6-foot junior lead guard Haley Gorecki, 6-2 freshman Grace Tworek, 6-2 sophomore Julia Wacker, and 5-11 senior Hannah LaBarge. Gorecki has offers from most of the Big Ten.
11. Huntley 26-8 (6)
The Andrews sisters – 6-0 senior Sam and 6-2 sophomore Ali – return from last season’s surprise final four entry. Both averaged better than 15 points per game. Five-foot-9 senior guard Bethany Zornow and 5-2 sophomore Kayla Barretto also return.
12. Evanston 27-4 (10)
The Wildkits will count on four-year varsity starters Dashae Shumate and Sierra and Seara Clayborn to fight off New Trier in the CSL South. A pair of talented freshmen – 5-10 Leighah Wool and 5-11 Krystal Forrester – should provide help.
13. Vernon Hills 31-3 (4)
The Cougars lost a big presence in the middle with the graduation of 6-2 Meri Bennett-Swanson, but not much else. Five-foot-10 Sydney Smith (13.1 ppg) and 6-0 Lauren Webb (12.6 ppg) return for a team that graduated only three players.
14. Crete-Monee 24-5 (NR)
Five starters are back including double-double machines Marsha Howard, a 6-1 junior who averaged 12 points and 12 rebounds, and 6-0 Eastern Michigan recruit Ashley Henry, who went off at 12 points and 11 boards per game. Five-foot-6 Alexia DuBose runs the show.
15. Geneva 19-11 (NR)
Sidney Santos, Morgan Seberger and Michaela Loebel headline a tall and athletic team that likes to push the pace and can still bang with the best of them. Support comes from Abby Novak, Madeline Dunn and junior Janie McCloughan.
16. Rich South 23-6 (22)
The big three are back – all-area selection Tierra Webb, Tierney Lockett and Dasia Evans – which won a regional before losing to Morgan Park. Toss in senior Sierra Ellis (sister of Michigan State’s Alvin Ellis) and you have a contender.
17. Bolingbrook 24-6 (7)
Not everybody jumped ship. New coach Chris Smith can still call on 5-9 Pitt recruit Aysia Bugg, who averaged 17 points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists last season. The Raiders also picked up 6-2 Ryaen Johnson from Waubonsie Valley.
18. Burlington Central 27-5 (24)
Three starters and eight of top 10 return from last year’s Elite Eight team, including leading scorer 5-9 sophomore Shelby Holt, 5-7 sophomore Kayla Ross and 6-0 junior Alison Colby. Also back are 6-0 sophomores Sam Pryor and Becca Gerke
19. Fenwick 23-7 (20)
Things didn’t exactly get off to a good start for the Friars when last year’s second-leading scorer, Deja Cage, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the fall. That will put more pressure on veterans Jade Owens (19 ppg) and Maya Garland.
20, Bishop McNamara 18-12 (NR)
The Irish finished just 3-6 in the rugged East Suburban Catholic, but reached the Class 3A supers before losing to Morton. Back are 5-7 junior Khadaizia Sanders, 5-10 senior Kyleigh Payne, 6-0 Kyisha Hunt and 5-10 junior Corinne O’Connor.
21. Hillcrest 21-6 (NR)
Although only two starters return from last year’s 21-6 team, you can be certain that coach John Maniatis’ team will always compete. Junior guard Tanzania Sherrill (12 ppg) and three-year veteran Tierra Sanders lead a versatile group.
22. Hinsdale Central 16-11 (NR)
Gabrielle Rush is back after averaging more than 21 points per game as a sophomore. She’ll get help from 5-10 four-year starter Maddie Roglich, 6-2 post Jenna Broz, 5-8 guard Abby Gurka and 5-6 junior Payton Katich.
23. Batavia 18-10 (NR)
Missouri State recruit Liza Fruendt and Boston University-bound 6-2 forward Erin Bayram lead the otherwise young Bulldogs, who will count on 6-1 sophomore Hannah Frazier and 5-8 sophomore Bethany Orman to help replace four departed seniors.
24. Morgan Park 23-6 (14)
Chicago politics are apparently not limited to the city council. The perplexing dismissal of Thomas “T.J.” Johnson notwithstanding, the Mustangs should be in the city title hunt behind 5-7 senior guard Shami Goodman and 5-6 guard Bh’rea Griffin.
25. Loyola (21-8) (NR)
The graduation of Anna Schueler (Michigan lacrosse) won’t change the commitment to defense. The offense starts with 5-9 senior Maggie Mick and 6-2 junior Sarah Elston, with help from 5-5 junior Tyra Mills and 5-9 Mary Kate Herion.