Expect more wins from Knoxville girls basketball this season

Mike Trueblood
Special to The Register-Mail

KNOXVILLE — Starting their 10th season under coach Dean Axcell, Knoxville girls basketball has compiled eight seasons of 20 wins or more — not counting the COVID spring season of 2021 — and six of those exceeded the 25 win mark.

The Bullets are 214-62 in that stretch (.775 percentage) with five regional titles and were 20-11 last year.

It's safe to expect more of the same this season.

"It's the players," said Axcell of his team's run. "It's not me for sure.

"It's their talent and the kids buy into it."

Knoxville, which was scheduled to play in the Brimfield Thanksgiving Tournament on Tuesday against Brimfield, has started this season 3-1 with a third place finish at last weekend's Geneseo Tournament.

That performance included an overtime victory against Western Big Six Conference team Sterling and wins over IVC and Annawan. The team's lone loss came to Sherrard.

 It was Knoxville's first appearance in the tourney.

"We were trying to see a little bit different and better competition," said Axcell.

At Brimfield, the Bullets are scheduled to play Tremont at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday and Kewanee Wethesfield at 2 p.m. Friday in pool play before finishing with a championship round on Saturday.

"To go up to Geneseo and go 3-1, I'm really proud of our team," said Axcell. 

"We have six seniors and a junior who didn't play much last year, we're kind of young really.

"But they're really into what they're doing, the know the plays and are really working well together."

Knoxville has been led by senior Ciara Shreeves, who earned all-tourney honors at Geneseo by averaging 17.5 points per game.

Also plalying big roles were sophomore Madison Hilgenberg and senior Makaiha Moore, who missed much of last season with a knee injury. 

Also expected to provide leadership this season is senior Jax Hershkowitz, who is one of the team's captains.

Varsity roster

Seniors: Ciarra Shreeves, Ava Hebard, Elliott Lewis, Makaiha Moore, Danielle Hilgenberg. Juniors: Rylie Jason.Sophomores: Ella Hebard, Addi Orr, Lexi Harshbarger, Emara Way, Madison Hilgenberg. Freshmen" Natalie Harshbarger 

Knoxville girls schedule

Nov. 14-19 - Geneseo Thanksgiving Tournament

Nov. 22 - Brimfield Tournament vs. Brimfield

Nov. 23 - Brimfield Tournament vs. Tremont, 12:30 p.m.

Nov. 25 - Brimfield Tournament vs. Wethersfield, 2 p.m.

Nov. 26 - Brimfield Tournament TBA

Nov. 30 - West Central, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 1 - At Bushnell-PC, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 5 - At United, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 7 - Stark County, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 13 - Dixon, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 17-22 - Ottawa Holiday Tournament

Jan. 2 - At Princeville, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 4 - At Mercer County, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 9 - Annawan, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 11-16 - Lincoln Trail Tournament

Jan. 24 - At Peoria Heights, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 25 - At Wethersfield, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 30 - ROWVA/Williamsfield, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 1 - Ridgewood, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 6 - Abingdon-Avon, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 8 - Galva, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 9 - Elmwood, 7:30 p.m.