GIRLS BASKETBALL: State of the River Valley Conference

January 18, 2019

Last week, I dove into the state of the Interstate Eight on the girls’ side of things, so it seems only right to stay on the girls’ side.

There’s a massive clash in the River Valley Conference today, so let’s dive right into the state of the RVC.

When it comes to the RVC, it has been in Beecher’s grasp firmly for the better part of the decade.

The Bobcats, who are 18-7, have been fortunate to have a ton of great players from Taylor Johnson and Kate Ranger to their current core of players featuring Cierra Welch, Margaret Landis and Kaylie Sippel.

And what’s more terrifying for the rest of the RVC is the future of Beecher’s team: Fearless freshman consisting of leading-scorer Abby Shepard, Talia Messana and Rhiannon Saller already are making their mark.

However, even with all that fire power, the RVC still runs through Gardner-South Wilmington for the time being.

The Panthers are having arguably their best season in school history, sitting at 16-4 and riding an eight-game winning streak.

This roster, namely of juniors, led by leading-scorer Kaitlynn Kavanaugh alongside Kennedy Fair and Paige Patterson, already has made a name for itself. But this is a chance to add to the legacy.

Beecher is in the driver’s seat having already beaten G-SW 44-28 on Dec. 6. Both teams square off today in Gardner with the RVC on the line.

Beecher and G-SW are the only two teams in the conference with winning records. No other team has 10 wins yet.

But Tri-Point is sitting at 9-12 and possesses the conference’s leading scorer in Sierra Hummel at 13.5 points per game.

Her running mate, Abby Kerrins, is right beside her at 12.1 points. The Chargers, much like everyone else in the conference, are out of the running, but they’re the only team that has been able to hang with the Bobcats and Panthers for a complete game.

After Illinois Lutheran, Grant Park is next at 4-14. The season hasn’t exactly turned out how the Dragons envisioned after an 11-13 campaign last season.

However, there’s still a good amount of youth on this Dragons’ team along with some returning veterans such as Hadleigh Loitz and Kaiya Sellers, who are both back next season.

St. Anne, which is playing in the SVC tournament, has endured one growing pain after another in its 4-22 season. The Cardinals lost their leading scorer from last season to injury this season and have a new coach at the helm. Program turnovers take some time, and, with losing the top three scorers after this season, patience is a must.

Rounding out the RVC is Donovan. The Wildcats possess a solid amount of talent for the future.

Wins are tough to come by with a core group of mostly freshman led by Claudia Kilgore and two upperclassmen led by junior Jerzie Waltz.

However, with a new coach at the helm and a year of experience under their belts, next season could be a promising one.

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