The Geneseo girls' basketball team won't be flying under the radar this season.
The Geneseo girls’ basketball team won’t be flying under the radar this season.
They will be flying up and down the hardwood instead.
The Lady Leafs will be racing up the floor with an up-tempo, transition attack they know well and works well for them.
“I think you will see another gear this year,” Geneseo Coach Scott Hardison said. “We are quick one through 11 and even our taller post players are quick and will be able to get out and move as a unit. As a coach, you have to adapt to the personnel, and I think we will be more up tempo then we were last year.”
After finishing last season with a 16-14 record, Geneseo returns a pair of athletic and physical players with Heather Dietrich and Anna McAvoy.
Both should mesh well with the incoming junior class to make everyone a viable weapon in any given game.
“I think the fluidity and the interchanging parts will make the senior class compliment the junior class and vice versa,” Hardison said.
Missing most of the basketball season with a knee injury last year, Geneseo’s Jane Thomas has been able to rebound and is becoming comfortable wearing a knee brace this year.
“I think she’s as close to 100 percent as she can be, considering she didn’t have the ACL surgery to repair it,” Hardison said.
The Geneseo juniors use their athleticism to create off the dribble and fly to the basket in transition.
Hannah Himmelman has the size and speed to dominate in the lane and on the board which is why the coaches plan to challenge her to take over games.
“Even if she doesn’t score on every possession,” Hardison said, “She’s going to dictate and change the way the other team adjusts to us.”
Kaitlyn Webster has the toughness and quickness to be a force in the post off the bench, and Adia Raya is a guard who is unafraid to drive and dish in traffic.
Josie Brown missed time with an injury last season, but she is playing as confident and aggressive as ever.
A sophomore, the Lady Leafs’ Keeli Frerichs has all the right tools to fit right in with the group giving Geneseo another guard who can instantly push the ball up the floor and get the team out and running.
Mariah Smith and Breanna Smith transferred to join the Lady Leafs this season.
The duo transferred from Iowa’s Ankeny Centennial which won the state championship in 2016.
Mariah can stretch teams with her jump shot, and Breanna is 6’1” with a great reach for rebounds or fade away shots from inside.
Coming off a foot injury, Geneseo’s Tori Verbeck will be another player who checks all the boxes in the Lady Leafs’ offense once she is able to return to the court.
Aspirations are high for the upcoming season, and the race for the Northern Illinois Big 12 West is wide open this year.
Ottawa returns nearly everyone from a team that was the conference champions last season.
LaSalle-Peru will be another central figure in the race, while Sterling and Rochelle have both improved.
“I don’t know that there is a clear-cut favorite,” Hardison said. “I think it’s a wide-open race that will be fun to watch the whole way through.”
Lady Leafs’ varsity roster
3 Adia Raya 11 G 5’1”
12 Heather Dietrich 12 G 5’9”
14 Josie Brown 11 G 5’7”
20 Keeli Frerichs 10 G 5’7”
22 Breanna Smith 11 F 6’1”
23 Mariah Smith 12 G 5’8”
24 Kaitlyn Webster 11 F 5’5”
30 Jane Thomas 12 G/F 5’8”
32 Anna McAvoy 12 F 6’0”
34 Tori Verbeck 11 G/F 5’7”
44 Hannah Himmelman 11 F 6’0”
Coach: Scott Hardison. Assistant coaches: Ryan Kelly, Claire Wiese and Steve Eckert. Manager: Avery Spranger. Technical Director: Jesse Dobbles.
Lady Leafs’ varsity schedule
Nov. 13 Geneseo Classic vs. St. Bede GHS Main Gym 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 15 Geneseo Classic vs. Sherrard GHS Main Gym 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 17 Geneseo Classic vs. Alleman GHS Main Gym 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 18 Geneseo Classic vs. LaSalle-Peru GHS Main Gym 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 21 Geneseo Classic vs. Annawan GHS Main Gym 5 p.m.
Dec. 8 Rochelle at Geneseo GHS Main Gym 7 p.m.
Dec. 12 Sterling at Geneseo GHS Main Gym 7 p.m.
Dec. 14 Yorkville at Geneseo GHS Main Gym 7 p.m.
Dec. 19 Geneseo at LaSalle-Peru LaSalle-Peru High School 7 p.m.
Dec. 27 Geneseo at State Farm Holiday Classic TBA TBA
Dec. 28 Geneseo at State Farm Holiday Classic TBA TBA
Dec. 29 Geneseo at State Farm Holiday Classic TBA TBA
Dec. 30 Geneseo at State Farm Holiday Classic TBA TBA
Jan. 4 Geneseo at Sycamore Sycamore High School 7 p.m.
Jan. 6 Geneseo at Illinois/Iowa Shootout Augustana College 3 p.m.
Jan. 9 Geneseo at Ottawa Ottawa High School 7 p.m.
Jan. 11 Geneseo at Sterling Sterling High School 7 p.m.
Jan. 12 Geneseo at Kewanee Tournament Kewanee High School TBA
Jan. 13 Geneseo at Kewanee Tournament Kewanee High School TBA
Jan. 15 Geneseo at Kewanee Tournament Kewanee High School TBA
Jan. 20 Geneseo at DeKalb DeKalb High School 2:30 p.m.
Jan. 23 Geneseo at Rochelle Rochelle High School 7 p.m.
Jan. 25 LaSalle-Peru at Geneseo GHS Main Gym 7 p.m.
Jan. 27 Geneseo at Stark County Wyoming Gym 2:30 p.m.
Jan. 30 Alleman at Geneseo GHS Main Gym 7 p.m.
Feb. 2 Ottawa at Geneseo GHS Main Gym 7 p.m.
Feb. 8 Geneseo at Kaneland Kaneland High School 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 9 Morris at Geneseo GHS Main Gym 7 p.m.