Basketball

High school girls basketball insider: Notes, power rankings and what to watch

McHenry guard Marissa Hanley drives the ball past DeKalb guard Amina Gray during the third quarter of the championship game of the 31st Annual Northern Illinois Holiday Classic Dec. 21 in McHenry.
McHenry guard Marissa Hanley drives the ball past DeKalb guard Amina Gray during the third quarter of the championship game of the 31st Annual Northern Illinois Holiday Classic Dec. 21 in McHenry.

McHenry's Katie Beyer (17.9 ppg), Ava Interrante (13.6) and Ashley Wachter (11.4) have been the main scorers for McHenry during the team's 17-3 start to the season. But, in Friday's Fox Valley Conference victory against Burlington Central, it was another player, junior guard Marissa Hanley, who led McHenry.

All four Warriors scored more than 12 points in the win, with Hanley pacing the pack with 16. Hanley's big game was much needed against Burlington, which entered the game with only one FVC loss.

Coach Rob Niemic wasn't even sure if Hanley was healthy enough to play before the game. She previously jammed a finger but was insistent on playing.

"She was adamant about leaving her alone," Niemic said. "She was going to play. I told her dad after, 'We can break the other finger if she plays like that.' The one thing about her is you're going to get 100 percent on every possession until she's exhausted. You have to take her out to give her a second to gather herself."

Hanley's performance wasn't totally out of nowhere, Niemic said. She had 10 points in a win over Belvidere North in the semifinals of Rockford Boylan's Reindeer Games on Dec. 30.

"To beat a good team like (Burlington), we were going to need a fourth scorer," Niemic said. "And, holy cow, did she rise to the challenge."

Wachter (18) and Interrante (15) and Beyer combined for 47 of McHenry's 49 points in their loss to Central at Boylan. Hanley made 2 of 4 free throws for the Warriors' two other two points.

"The three girls we had on our scouting report were Interrante, Beyer and Wachter," Rockets coach Collin Kalamatas said. "We were focused on those three, and she kind of slipped through the cracks. (Hanley) had a heck of a game, so tip your hat to her."

Almost there: Alden-Hebron's Rachel Pahl is fast closing in a scoring milestone, and soon could write her name into the school's record books. Pahl, a 5-foot-5 senior guard, is 85 points from 1,000 in her career and 111 from the Giants' all-time scoring record.

Through 14 games, Pahl is averaging 18.5 points a game for the Giants (5-9), and has 915 in her career. A-H coach Marty Hammond said that the team's all-time scoring record is 1,026 points, set by 2017 graduate Emily Webber.

Flu bug: Dundee-Crown had a difficult matchup going into Monday's nonconference game against Libertyville, but it was made even tougher with a couple of key players sitting. Already without three-year starter Gianine Boado (ACL), the Chargers were missing Payton Schmidt, averaging seven points a game, and Hannah Koehlert, who were both out with the flu.

D-C, which leads the FVC race at 7-0, entered the year with 11 varsity players and had just eight available Monday.

KRC showdown: Marengo and Woodstock North will play for sole possession of first in the Kishwaukee River Conference when the Indians (12-7) host the Thunder (12-6) at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The Indians won the KRC for the first time last year, sharing the title with Burlington Central. North has never won the conference since it formed in 2016.

Stats watch: Marengo junior guard Jennifer Heinberg (17.2 ppg) leads all area players in 3-pointers made (66) and is shooting an area-best 91.7% (55 of 60) from the free-throw line.

McHenry's Ashley Wachter is second with 48 3s, and Crystal Lake South's Emily Rich and Johnsburg's Mackenzie Straulin are next closest to Heinberg in free-throw percentage (83.3%).

Heinberg has already matched her sophomore total for 3s made (66). Last year's teammate, 2019 Marengo graduate and current NCAA Indianapolis freshman Marissa Knobloch, had 81 3s to lead the area.

Huntley's Carley Faulkner leads all area freshman in scoring at 7.9 points a game. Karsen Karlblom (17 ppg) leads all sophomores and has 40 3s.

NORTHWEST HERALD POWER RANKINGS

1. Dundee-Crown (13-3): D-C added wins over Crystal Lake South and Jacobs to stay unbeaten in the FVC at 7-0. The Chargers suffered a 49-32 loss to Libertyville on Monday. Junior Alyssa Crenshaw leads the Chargers at 14 points and 9.3 rebounds a game.

2. McHenry (17-3): The Warriors beat Cary-Grove behind a big game from senior Ava Interrante, and avenged a Dec. 30 loss to Burlington Central in the championship game of Boylan's Reindeer Games with a 63-58 victory over the Rockets.

3. Hampshire (10-9): The Whip-Purs fell to Burlington and beat C-G, and are one of three teams (McHenry, Burlington Central) with two losses in the FVC.

4. Huntley (9-8): The Red Raiders followed a loss to Burlington with back-to-back victories over Crystal Lake Central and Prairie Ridge. Freshman forward Carley Faulkner led Huntley in both wins, scoring 17 points against Central and 16 against Prairie Ridge.

5. Woodstock North (12-6): The Thunder added wins over Lakes and Woodstock and are 7-2 over their last nine. North has never won the Kishwaukee River Conference championship, but is in the hunt as one of two teams (Marengo) to start 3-0.

WHAT TO WATCH

Woodstock North at Marengo, 7 p.m. Wednesday: The winner will be alone in first place in the KRC.

Hampshire at Dundee-Crown, 6 p.m. Friday: The Whips, last year's FVC champ, ends the first half of their FVC schedule against current leader D-C.

DeKalb's MLK Tournament, Saturday and Monday: D-C, Huntley and Johnsburg are among the teams competing at the 16-team holiday tournament. D-C earned a No. 2 seed and Maine South, which finished runner-up at D-C's Charger Komaromy Classic in December, took the top seed.

Loading more

Digital Access

Digital Access
Access nwherald.com and all Shaw Media Illinois content from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, weekend and Sunday packages.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Stay connected to us wherever you are! Get breaking news updates along with other area information sent to you as a text message to your wireless device.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Plan your weekend and catch up on the news with our newsletters.