IHSA girls basketball: Here are the top 11 teams to watch in the Springfield area

Bill Welt
State Journal-Register

The high school basketball season is here in Illinois.

We've given you the top girls basketball players to watch. Now, here are some of the top girls teams to follow this season in the Springfield area.


Kaylen Reed

The Rockets expect to be in the mix for the Central State Eight Conference title. Rochester returns its entire roster from the shortened 2021 season and will add freshman point guard Taylor Offer to the lineup. Juniors Kaylen Reed and Emma Dixon will be one of the top combos in the area. Reed averaged 13.2 points and 5.2 assists per game while Dixon managed 12.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. 


Sophomore guard Kloe Froebe has raked in 21 NCAA Division I offers following a sensational freshman debut with 26.4 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Her older sister, Kaelyn, previously led Lincoln to its last 3A sectional title in 2016. 


Springfield girls basketball head coach Brad Scheffler looks to the referee for the call as the Senators take on Glenwood in the first half during the Girls CS8 Tournament at Willard Duey Gymnasium in Springfield, Ill., Tuesday, March 9, 2021. [Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register]

Senior forward/center Cheyenne Trotter returns as a four-year starter. That includes the Lions’ fourth-place state finish in 3A in 2020. Senior guard Laney Parker is also back as one of the area’s top 3-point shooters, converting 31 field goals from behind the arc in 14 games and averaging 9.9 points per game. Senior forward Mariah Smylie and senior guard/forward Moriah Crawford also return to the lineup while junior point guard Apiphany Patterson will be a key newcomer. 

Top players:Here are the Springfield area's top 15 high school girls basketball players


Seniors Kaleah Toran, Chloe Byrd and Virtuous Komolafe will be among seven seniors on the SHS roster. Toran averaged 12.9 points and 5.6 rebounds last season after missing her sophomore year due to an injury. That included 26 points in a 51-44 win over Rochester in the regular season. Byrd and Komolafe will provide good size advantage in the interior. 


Nokomis comes into the season with a loaded junior class after capturing the MSM Conference title, led by junior forward Audrey Sabol. Several other juniors averaged at least five points per game: Hailey Engelman (5.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.3 apg), Natalie Engelman (5 ppg, 2.3 rpg), Addison Dangbar (5.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg) and Emma Sneddon (5.2 ppg). 


Sangamon Valley is now the host school for the consistently competitive co-op program. Senior guard/forward Jordan Closs will lead the way. Other returning starters include senior Rebecca Moxley and sophomore Kamryn Sturdy after going 9-6 last season. The Storm, however, will miss junior center Sarah Finley for the season due to an injury after posting 15.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. 

Spring's best:Capital Region High School Sports Awards: 24 honorees for girls basketball


Brent McKinney enters his second season as the Panthers coach and returns most of the offense after going 14-2 in his debut. Jillian Hamilton averaged 16 points and 6.5 rebounds per game but also back is junior Anna Beyers with 12.3 points, six rebounds and two steals per game and senior Rachel Holthaus with 6.1 points and 4.6 assists per game at point guard. 


Another team that tied for second place in the South Central Conference, the Hiltoppers will lean on junior shooter Layne Rupert. Coach Bret Tuetken also expects to be competitive with a number of juniors, including Alex Frailey, Sierra Compton, Meagan White and Kenadie Carlock. Sophomore Sophia Blankenship and seniors Ally Schnarre and Abby Schrieber will also be in the mix. 


Valerie Creviston takes the helm after the Rockets went 8-2 over the shortened season. Addie Dobson, who will play golf at University of Missouri, is back as the leading scorer with 15.6 points per game. Other key returning contributors include Caitlyn Horney (4.5 ppg, 4.1 apg), Audrey Huffman (3.2 ppg) and Jaymee Vollmer (6 ppg, 2.6 rpg).  

Championship:MacArthur goes inside to beat SHG in girls CS8 title game


The Bluejays captured the Sangamo Conference title with an unbeaten 14-0 overall mark, but sophomore guard Jayce Privia is the only returning starter. PORTA coach Eric Kesler believes key returning players Chloe Cox, Zoe Danner and Abby Bell will help give them the potential to continue to compete for the Sangamo title.  


Talented point guard Asya Smith graduated after consecutive small-school player of the year awards from The State Journal-Register. Plains, which went 8-4 last season, may need time to get rolling with several players coming off the volleyball season and one senior (Addy Skeeters), coach T.J. Fraase said. The lineup will include five juniors: Megan Derrick, Teagan Morley, Juli Redmon, Sienna Hadley and Jaycee Smith. 

Contact Bill Welt: bill.welt@sj-r.com, Twitter.com/BillWelt