Kiarra Kilgore returns with nucleus of experienced players for Streaks girls basketball

Mike Trueblood
Special to The Register-Mail

GALESBURG — Sustained excellence.

When a high school basketball program prepares to celebrate the 1,000 victory in its history, that's one way to describe it.

With 995 all-time wins, it's nearly a sure thing the Galesburg Silver Streaks girls will reach that milestone early this season which starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday with Limestone at Thiel Gym.

It's a big deal, but then again it's not.

"The players are aware of it," says Galesburg coach Evan Massey, starting his 45th year with 966 of those victories on his resume.

"But it's not something that's become a focus."

More:Galesburg basketball teams 2nd in Illinois in victories: Streaks teams ramp up

Positive feedback

"One positive is it's been kind of overwhelming to see the number of players and alumni who have reached out and sent a note or text," he added.

"It's kind of a neat thing the sense of connection between all the different players."

It's safe to expect more of that sustained success this season with the Streaks coming off a 23-11 season that included a regional championship, the 25th in their history.

Projecting strength

Led by first team All-Western Big Six player Kiarra Kilgore, the Streaks return a nucleus of experienced players schooled in the program's traditional schemes.

"I would like to think our strength would be our athleticism," said Massey.

"We've got a number of kids who are pretty athletic perimeter and post players. 

He added, "Year-to-year we know basically what we want to do which is play man-to-man defense and if the ability allows, we'll do some pressing. 

"We'd like to run but it may be the sets we run, we may run them differently."

Kilgore averaged 19.0 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists last year as a sophomore.

"She has a skill set where we want to get the ball to her in a variety of spots," Massey said.

Also back this season are co-captains with Kilgore, Capre Ferguson and Alexis Edgerson along with Lilly Clark, Julie Robinson, Kayla Pendergrass, Andy McLaughlin, Antonia Kisler, Syriah Boyd, Juniper Schwartzman and Addie Peck.

Newcomers to the varsity will include sophomores Annabelle Giles, Ryleigh Clark, Josslyn Peck and Cora Johnson.

Providing the opposition

Galesburg hopes to be in the thick of the WB6 race, but it's never easy.

“Every year, the WB6 coaches talk about how balanced the WB6 will be. It turns out this year may be one of those years," said Massey. 

"Geneseo and Rock Island have been dominant the last few years. Quincy and UTHS have most of their key players coming back. It will be a tough year in the WB6.

"Since they have joined the WB6, Geneseo and Sterling have had strong teams and great players. They make girls basketball in the WB6 even tougher. 

And non-conference competition may not be easier.

"Everyone talks about how tough their schedule will be. We feel it is true in our case. In WB6, we may have three to four state ranked teams," said Massey. "In our non-conference schedule, we anticipate Morton, Peoria, Mahomet, Washington and Canton will be state ranked teams.

"We would like to think our schedule will help make us a better team.

Season schedule

Following Tuesday's game which opens the Galesburg Thanksgiving Shootout, the Streaks will host Freeport at 7 p.m. Friday, then Chatham Glenwood at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and Washington at 7:30 p.m.

On Saturday, Nov. 26, the Streaks will play Manual at 11 a.m. and Champaign Centennial at 6 p.m.

The remaining schedule is as follows:

Nov. 22 - At Moline, 7 p.m.

Dec. 1 - Geneseo, 7 p.m.

Dec. 3 - United Township, 1:30 p.m.

Dec. 8 - At Quincy, 7 p.m.

Dec. 10 - At Rock Island, 1:30 p.m.

Dec. 15 - At Alleman, 7 p.m.

Dec 17 - Silver Streaks Invitational

Dec. 20 - At Pekin, 7 p.m.

Dec. 27-29 - Mattoon Holiday Tournament

Jan. 5 - Sterling, 7 p.m.

Jan. 7 - Manual, 1 p.m.

Jan. 12 - Moline, 7 p.m.

Jan. 19 - At Geneseo, 7 p.m,.

Jan. 21 - Morton, 1 p.m.

Jan. 23 - Canton, 7 p.m.

Jan. 26 - Quincy, 7 p.m.

Jan. 28 - At United Township, 1:30 p.m.

Feb. 2 - Rock Island, 7 p.m.

Feb. 4 - Alleman, 1:30 p.m.

Feb. 8 - At Sterling, 7 p.m.

Feb. 11-17 - IHSA regionals

Feb. 22-24 - IHSA sectionals

Feb. 27 - IHSA super-sectionals

March 3 - IHSA state tournament