Maddy Greeling, left, and Megan Trost
They served as leaders for their triumphant teams and both made indelible imprints for them the past season. They were the catalysts.
So it’s natural that senior Megan Trost of Civic Memorial and sophomore Maddy Greeling of Southwestern are Advantage News’ Prep Girls Basketball Players of the year.
The Eagles went 31-3, shared a conference championship and snared Class 3A regional and sectional titles. The 26-3 Piasa Birds won conference and 2A regional titles before sustaining a heartbreaking sectional defeat.
Trost, a 6-foot senior and two-time Alton Exchange Club winner, did it with scoring (12.1 ppg), rebounding (5.7) and blocks (2.48). She’s going to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville to pursue a degree in mathematics, but Trost will look back fondly on her prep basketball career.
“It was just a phenomenal season,” she said of the Eagles’ success. “I don’t think it still has sunk in yet. But it was an incredible way to end my high school career.”
CM coach Jonathan Denney said Trost’s work ethic spurred her improvement and she always encouraged the Eagles to be at the top of their game.
“The best thing about Megan is that she will tell you about the team’s success and achievements, and how much they meant to her,” Denney said. “When you combine that with having great teammates, it’s more rewarding than anything.”
Denney added, “Megan ran the floor better than any player – boy or girl – that I have coached. She was a great combination of length, speed and athletic ability that you always don’t see in post players.”
Greeling, a point guard who can score, averaged a team-best 18 points for the Piasa Birds. When they needed something done, coach Steve Wooley usually turned to Greeling.
“Maddy brings a complete package to the game,” Wooley said. “She has earned all-tourney recognition in every tournament she has played in the last two years, as well as AP and IBCA accolades.”
Wooley added, “She has averaged more than 16 ppg the last two years and is leading us in every other statistical category. She has the ability to make everyone around her better with her playmaking ability and basketball IQ.”
Greeling liked what the Piasa Birds achieved the past season and saw progress in her own play.
“I felt like we accomplished a lot in winning the conference and a regional,” she said. “I was more relaxed with my play during the season and I had confidence with the basketball. Coach trusted me with it.”
There will be more of that trust the next two years.
“My goal for Maddy over the next couple of years would be to improve her physical strength, which will allow her to prepare for playing at the next level,” Wooley said. “Along with that is a dedication to improve on her current ball-handling and shooting skills that are already above average.”
Greeling, also a volleyball and soccer player, is already looking forward to the 2014-15 basketball season.
“I feel like I have gotten a lot stronger since my freshman season and I want to continue getting stronger,” Greeling said. “I also want to work on taking the ball to the basket.”
Southwestern’s past season ended in a 54-53 sectional semifinal loss to Riverton. The controversial ending, which included the Hawks’ winning on a buzzer-beater, stung the Piasa Birds.
However, it hasn’t discouraged them.
“We have a few goals as a team for next season and one of them is to get to state,” Greeling said.