Pictured is the 2015-16 Civic Memorial girls’ basketball squad. In front from left to right are: Kaylee Eaton, Monica Baker, Annika Ochs, Alexis Enke, Cassie Hall and Journey Coffman. In back from left to right are: Katelyn Turbyfill, Kalyn Troxell, Tori Pfeifer, Allie Troeckler, Alaira Tyus, Elizabeth Buckley and Hannah Schmidt.
The beat goes on for the Civic Memorial girls’ basketball team. They are drumming up plenty of support for another banner season.
Yet their 2015-16 quest extends beyond conference, regional and sectional championships, All-Stater Allie Troeckler said.
“Our main goal is to make it to state,” said Troeckler, a 5-foot-10 junior forward who has scored 1,139 points in two seasons.
Troeckler's threatening to eclipse Katie Broadway’s school record of 2,039 points before she graduates. Broadway is now an assistant coach at McKendree University in Lebanon.
The Eagles nearly made it to the Final Four at Normal two years ago when they posted a 31-3 record and advanced to the Decatur Super-Sectional at Millikin University. The Elite Eight finish was best in school annals.
Last season, CM went 26-7, won a regional championship and advanced to the Highland Sectional finals. They have compiled a composite 91-18 record the past three years, giving the program an influential status around Southwestern Illinois. With Troeckler leading the way this season, the Eagles could emerge as a Class 3A power.
“We’re strong, we have the talent and we have the desire,” Troeckler said of the Eagles.
That’s why 10th-year head coach Jonathan Denney has tweaked the schedule a bit this season and strengthened it. CM will be playing in the Alton Shootout and the MLK Shootout in St. Louis, among other high-profile games. The Eagles opened their season Thursday in the Salem Tournament.
“It’s the toughest schedule we have had,” said Denney, a former standout player at CM. “But we have talent and depth. If we can stay healthy, we can go with a dozen or so kids. We will find out who can play and who can’t.”
Kaity Kappler, a 5-10 junior and starter on last year’s team, decided not to come out this season. And Katelyn Turbyfill, who underwent knee surgery, won’t be with the Eagles at the start of the season. Turbyfill is a 5-8 senior forward. She averaged 8.7 ppg last season, second to Troeckler, the AdVantage News’ Female Player of the Year.
Troeckler averaged 21 points and 8.7 rebounds a game in 2014-15. College coaches are inquiring about her, with SIUE, Arkansas State and McKendree University high on her list at this point.
“We know that people will focus on Allie, especially knowing what she did last season. She’s strong and explosive, so we want to get her in one-on-one matchups,” Denney said. “But we have a lot of quality players, so other teams will have to guard all five players.
“We will only be as good as our supporting cast.”
Journey Coffman, a 5-8 senior guard and Kalyn Troxell, a 6-3 senior center; join Turbyfill and Troeckler in providing leadership and point production. Coffman can provide long-range shooting and Troxell could be a force around the basket.
Juniors Annika Ochs, a 5-3 guard and Gwen Lewis, a 5-6 guard, also are a big part of the mix. Denney also has eight sophomores that could prove pivotal in CM’s success.
“Our sophomore class is strong. It’s one of the best classes that we’ve had,” he said. “They went 18-1 as freshmen last season.”
Alaira Tyus, a 5-10 guard and Kaylee Easton, a 5-8 guard; both have strong shooting skills, Denney said. Tyus advanced to the IHSA 3-point competition last season.
Cassie Hall, a 5-8 guard; Monica Baker, a 5-5 guard; Hannah Schmidt, a 5-9 guard; Izzy Buckley, a 6-1 center and Tori Pfeifer, a 5-11 forward; round out that promising sophomore class. Hall could emerge as a defensive specialist, a role Kappler maintained last season.
Tyus, Ochs and Baker could share time at point guard. Troeckler is cast as a forward, but can work in as a guard, if needed.
“The key things for us will be if we can stay healthy and have the players accept their roles,” Denney said. “This group is still young – with just three seniors – but they already have had a lot of seasoning.”
CM finished second to Highland in the Mississippi Valley Conference standings last season, then ousted the Bulldogs in the Class 3A Jersey Regional. The Eagles are eyeing an outright Valley title this winter.
“Obviously, we want to win the conference championship,” Denney said. “We also want to win regional and sectional titles. We want to shoot for big goals this season.”
A state shot isn’t out of the question. It’s the big goal, as Troeckler said. However, Denney said it will take plenty of work and some good fortune to play the final weekend of the season.
“It takes a team to go to state,” he stressed.
NAME HT POS
Journey Coffman 5-8 G
Katelyn Turbyfill 5-8 F
Kalyn Troxell 6-3 C
Gwen Lewis 5-6 G
Annika Ochs 5-3 G
Allie Troeckler 5-10 F
Monica Baker 5-5 G
Hannah Schmidt 5-9 G
Alexis Enke 5-5 G
Cassie Hall 5-8 G
Kaylee Eaton 5-8 G
Alaira Tyus 5-10 G
Izzy Buckley 6-1 C
Tori Pfeifer 5-11 F