Photo by Bill Roseberry
CM head girls’ basketball coach Jonathan Denney talks with his Eagles during a timeout during the Class 3A Benton Sectional finals on Feb. 25 against the Highland Bulldogs. CM finished the season at 22-11 and won its fourth consecutive regional championship in ‘15-16.
The season ended too abruptly, as far as the Civic Memorial High girls’ basketball team was concerned.
Yet the Eagles extended their success story, going 22-11 and claiming another Class 3A regional title. It was their fourth in succession and they also captured a sectional title two years ago. CM owns a 103-29 record during that span.
And with top gun Allie Troeckler coming back for next season, the Eagles expect to keep soaring.
“I’m disappointed in the loss,” veteran CM coach Jonathan Denney said after the Eagles bowed to Highland, 49-42, in the Benton Sectional title game. “But I’m really proud of our kids.”
He added, “This team never quit and in the second half of the season they figured it out. We had some big wins and we played everybody tough all season.”
Highland can vouch for that. The Bulldogs defeated the Eagles four times at four sites, though it was just by a total of 18 points. “They are such a good club and defensively, they do a great job,” said Bulldogs’ coach Mike Aburthnot, saluting the Eagles. “When you have a player like Allie Troeckler, you know she can take over a game.”
Troeckler, a 5-foot-10 junior, scored 21 — or half — of the Eagles’ points in their season finale. Overall, last year’s AdVantage News and Alton Exchange Club Player of the Year averaged 22.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Troeckler was a first-team, Class 3A All-State selection last season as a sophomore. The 2015-16 All State group will be announced this weekend during the IHSA Class 3A and 4A state finals in Normal.
She’s on pace to establish the school’s career scoring record. Troeckler has tabulated 1,882 points in three seasons, leaving her 197 shy of Katie Broadway’s 2,079 points. Broadway is now an assistant coach at McKendree University in Lebanon.
“Allie is a special player and a rare breed,” Denney said. “She’s a warrior.”
The Eagles will graduate three seniors: 5-8 Katelyn Turbyfill, 5-8 Journey Coffman and 6-3 Kalyn Troxell. Turbyfill is bound for Lewis and Clark Community College, Coffman’s going to Missouri Baptist in Creve Coeur, Mo., and Troxell is headed to Illinois Central College in East Peoria.
Turbyfill averaged 6.4 points and 7.1 rebounds. Coffman averaged 5.5 points and Troxell averaged 3.8 points and 3.3 rebounds.
“Those three seniors meant a lot to us,” said Denney, sporting a 198-106 record in 10 years at the school. “Maybe all three of them will go on to play college basketball.”
With 10 players coming back, the Eagles can reload rather than rebuild. They’ll center everything around Troeckler, who will be one of two seniors in the mix of things. The other is 5-3 guard Annika Ochs, who played in 23 of CM’s games.
Kaylee Eaton, a 5-8 sophomore guard; and Alaira Tyus, a 5-10 sophomore guard, both started often for the Eagles and played in all 33 games. Eaton averaged 6.2 points and Tyus scored at a 6.4 ppg clip.
Izzy Buckley, a 6-1 sophomore; and Tori Pfeifer, a 5-11 sophomore, intend to provide CM with solid inside play the next two seasons. Buckley averaged 3.4 points and 2.1 rebounds. Pfeifer proved vital as a reserve by scoring 5 points during CM’s 58-42 win over Effingham in a semifinal game of the Salem Regional. The Eagles then knocked off the host Wildcats, 63-54, for the regional championship before beating Benton, 63-48, in the sectional semifinals. CM won five consecutive games and 11 of 13 prior to falling to Highland at Benton.
Cassie Hall, a 5-8 sophomore; Monica Baker, a 5-5 sophomore; Hannah Schmidt, a 5-9 sophomore; and Alexis Enke, a 5-5 sophomore, also return.
“On the whole, it was a good season,” Denney said. “We toughened our schedule, the kids learned a lot and hopefully, our young players will continue to improve.”
Mississippi Valley Conference co-champion Triad — the Knights shared the title with Highland — and Class 1A state champ Calhoun both beat CM twice. So 8 of the Eagles’ 11 losses were to 3 teams. Salem, Teutopolis and Parkway North of St. Louis County also beat them, but their regional win over Salem evened that score.
How good are the Eagles going?
They haven’t experienced a losing season since 2005-06 and their regional title in 2012-13 was the first in school history. The Eagles have become a key player in the Valley and during postseason competition.
They see no reason why the script needs rewriting for 2016-17.
Follow #AdVsports on Twitter