Photo by Bill Roseberry
Pictured are the 2014-15 Civic Memorial girls' basketball team, (front row, from left) Kaylee Eaton, Gwen Lewis, Alexis Enke, Annika Ochs, Monica Baker, Cassie Hall, Morgan Wilson and Hannah Schmidt; (back row, from left) Catlyn Turbyfill, Journey Coffman, Allie Troeckler, Kalyn Troxell, Izzy Buckley, Alaira Tyus, Kaity Kappler and Tori Pfeifer.
The memories of last year’s banner campaign are still stirring for the Civic Memorial Eagles. Their goal is to build on the most successful girls’ basketball season in school history.
And the Eagles started that objective this week in the Salem Tournament. It’s basically a new group from the troop that compiled a 31-3 record in 2013-14 and snared the first sectional championship in CM annals.
“First and foremost, the success of last year’s team was due to work the players did during the off-season,” ninth-year head coach Jonathan Denney said. “They did everything I asked them to do and they meshed.”
Denney bid farewell to seven seniors, including Megan Trost, the two-time Alton Exchange Club Player of the Year. Only 5-foot-10 sophomore Allie Troeckler returns from the main contingent of players that fueled last year’s thriving ways.
“I wouldn’t call it a rebuilding season. It’s more of a transition one,” said Denney, owner of a 150-88 record at the school. “Last year’s team set the standards high for the program and we want to try and emulate that.
“But if we are going to be successful, we’ll have to keep working at it.”
The success factor could focus around Troeckler. She averaged a team-best 13.1 points per game, even though she usually was the first player off the bench. Yet Troeckler learned a lot as a freshman.
“Playing with all of the seniors last year meant everything,” Troeckler said. “It was really a team effort.”
Addie Ballard, Lindsey Fencel, Hannah Niemeier, Brittany Zipprich, Taylor Wieneke and Jennifer Guetersloh also figured prominently in CM’s success. However, like Trost, they have graduated.
Troeckler sees more of that team play developing this season.
“We have returning players that knew what it was all about last year,” she said. “So we have a lot going for us and we can do it.”
It all could start with Troeckler, Denney said.
He added, “The sky’s the limit for Allie. She grew up a lot last year and became one of the best players in the area. This year, we want to put the ball in her hands as much and look for her to score. We’re also looking to her for leadership.
“Allie might be more of perimeter player this year. She will handle the ball and take some shots from 3-point range.”
Katelyn Turbyfill, a 5-8 junior; Journey Coffman, a 5-9 junior; Kalyn Troxell, a 6-2 junior; and Kaitlyn Kappler, a 5-11 sophomore; could team with Troeckler in the starting lineup.
“Journey is a 3-point shooter and Katelyn is more of a post player with a nice shot,” Denney said. “Kalyn is a post player. If we can get her to become more physical, she will be a big factor for us. Kaitlyn is an inside-outside player.”
An ample amount of sophomores and freshmen are part of the picture, Denney said. Annika Ochs, a 5-3 guard; and Gwen Lewis, a 5-6 guard, are the sophomores.
The freshmen include: 5-11 Alaira Tyus, 5-8 Kaylee Eaton, 6-1 Elizabeth Buckley, 5-4 Monica Baker, 5-11 Tori Pfeifer, 5-6 Cassie Hall and 5-7 Hannah Schmidt.
“Annika and Gwen will help us at guards, and we have some good size in our freshman class,” Denney said. “That will give us more versatility with our offense.”
He’s aware it may take some time for the Eagles to progress. So Denney is preaching patience.
“It’s a different group from last year,” he said. “We have to tweak some things offensively and defensively. Our personnel will dictate what we do. The biggest thing we will need to do is have consistency.”
CM shared the Mississippi Valley Conference championship with Highland last season, but defeated the Bulldogs to win the Class 3A Triad Regional. The Eagles then beat Carbondale for their sectional championship before bowing to Quincy Notre Dame in the Decatur Super-Sectional at Millikin University.
CM EAGLES GIRLS BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
Nov. 20, 22, 29 – Salem Tournament, TBA
Dec. 4 – vs. Waterloo*, 7:30
Dec. 8 – at Triad*, 7:30
Dec. 11 – vs. Mater Dei, 7:30
Dec. 13 – vs. Taylorville, 6:30
Dec. 18 – at Highland*, 7:30
Dec. 20 – at Marquette, 12:30
Dec. 26-27, 29 – at Jersey Tournament, TBA
Jan. 5 – vs. Roxana, 7:30
Jan. 8 – at Mascoutah*, 7:30
Jan. 15 – vs. Highland*, 7:30
Jan. 17 – at Centralia, 12:30
Jan. 19 – at Freeburg, 7:30
Jan. 22 – vs. Columbia, 7:30
Jan. 24, 27, 30-31 – at Carrollton Tournament, TBA
Feb. 2 – at Waterloo*, 7:30
Feb. 5 – vs. Triad*, 7:30
Feb. 9 – vs. Mascoutah*, 7:30
Feb. 12 – vs. Jersey*, 7:30
*Denotes conference games
CM EAGLES GIRLS BASKETBALL ROSTER
Coach: Jonathan Denney
Record last season: 31-3
Career record at school: 150-88 (eight seasons)
Katelyn Turbyfill, 5-8 G-F
Journey Coffman, 5-8 G
Kalyn Troxell, 6-2 C
Allie Troeckler, 5-10 G-F
Kaitlyn Kappler, 5-11 F
Annika Ochs, 5-3 G
Gwen Lewis, 5-6 G
Alaira Tyus, 5-11 F
Kaylee Eaton, 5-8 G
Elizabeth Buckley, 6-1 C
Monica Baker, 5-4 G
Tori Pfeifer, 5-11 C
Cassie Hall, 5-6 G
Hannah Schmidt, 5-7 G