Most seasons, the Lady Leafs' basketball preview features a lot of new names and faces looking to establish themselves at the varsity level. However, this isn't like any other Geneseo season.
Most seasons, the Lady Leafs’ basketball preview features a lot of new names and faces looking to establish themselves at the varsity level.
However, this isn’t like any other Geneseo season.
The Lady Leafs return a solid core of senior players with varsity experience, and they expect to win.
“They have won at every level coming through,” Geneseo Coach Scott Hardison said. “They won as freshmen, they won as sophomores and they won the NIB 12 Conference last season. They just bring a sense of confidence and the ability to win every time out which is the mentality we have been trying to develop.”
Up front, Geneseo’s Hannah Himmelman returns after earning a spot on the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) All-State Special Mention list, and Josie Brown was a NIB 12 West All-conference honorable mention last season.
A junior, Keeli Frerichs earned an all-conference honorable mention last season, and she’s worked hard in the offseason to improve her outside shooting.
Adia Raya provides a spark off the bench from her guard spot.
A pair of forwards who supply Geneseo with interior grit will be Kaitlyn Webster and Tori Verbeck.
Verbeck came back from injury last season and helped Geneseo secure the NIB 12 Conference title, and Webster was a lockdown defender in the second half of the season.
Geneseo’s Anna Pierce, Eden McAvoy and Lauren Pardoe will step up to the varsity level after leading a sophomore team to a 27-1 record last year.
The Lady Leafs’ underclassmen might be what gives Geneseo an edge in every game this season.
Maddi Barickman and Abbi Barickman both have great size and have developed their skills beyond the arc to keep opponents from crashing the lane against Geneseo’s size and speed inside.
“We have great size, but this is going to be a tall and quick team,” Hardison said. “It’s a team that is very athletic and they have the length to be a problem when we press and when we are on defense. They alter shots, tip passes, get in passing lanes and cause a lot of havoc.”
Incoming freshman, Kammie Ludwig is a player everyone is excited to see.
“She’s a talented basketball player,” Hardison said. “She works a ton in the offseason and she plays AAU up in Chicago. She brings some knowledge and some experience at a higher level of basketball than we are used to seeing for an incoming freshman.”
Ludwig has the handle to play guard and the physical frame to drive to the hoop and post up in the low block.
Along with the Barickman twins, Ludwig will be another player who can stretch defenses with her range.
Ludwig ability to run the floor and push the ball in transition will give Geneseo’s speedy offense a whole new gear.
The Lady Leafs will open the season at home hosting the Geneseo Tournament against St. Bede on Monday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m.
Lady Leafs’ varsity roster
3 Adia Raya 12 G
10 Anna Pierce 11 G
14 Josie Brown 12 G
20 Keeli Frerichs 11 G
22 Maddi Barickman 10 G/F
23 Abbi Barickman 10 G/F
24 Kaitlyn Webster 12 F
30 Kammie Ludwig 9 G
32 Lauren Pardoe 11 G
34 Tori Verbeck 12 G/F
44 Hannah Himmelman 12 F
54 Eden McAvoy 11 F
Coach: Scott Hardison. Assistant coaches: Ryan Kelly, John Wagner and Steve Eckert. Manager: Avery Spranger. Technical Director: Jesse Dobbles.
Lady Leafs’ basketball schedule
Nov. 12 St. Bede at Geneseo Geneseo High School 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 14 Sherrard at Geneseo Geneseo High School 6 p.m.
Nov. 16 Alleman at Geneseo Geneseo High School 6 p.m.
Nov. 17 Peoria Christian at Geneseo Geneseo High School 6 p.m.
Nov. 20 Annawan at Geneseo Geneseo High School 5 p.m.
Nov. 27 Geneseo at Alleman Alleman High School 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 30 Geneseo at Ottawa Ottawa High School 5:30p.m.
Dec. 4 Geneseo at Moline Wharton Field House 6:30 p.m.
Dec. 7 DeKalb at Geneseo Geneseo High School 7 p.m.
Dec. 11 LaSalle-Peru at Geneseo Geneseo High School 7 p.m.
Dec. 12 Stark County at Geneseo Geneseo High School 7 p.m.
Dec. 18 Geneseo at Yorkville Yorkville High School 7 p.m.
Dec. 21 Monmouth-Roseville at Geneseo Geneseo High School 7 p.m.
Dec. 26-29 State Farm Holiday Classic TBA TBA
Jan. 3 Geneseo at Sterling Sterling High School 7 p.m.
Jan. 5 Iowa/Illinois Shootout Augustana College TBA
Jan. 8 Sycamore at Geneseo Geneseo High School 7 p.m.
Jan. 10 Rochelle at Geneseo Geneseo High School 7 p.m.
Jan.12 Geneseo at Morris Morris High School 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 15 Ottawa at Geneseo Geneseo High School 7 p.m.
Jan. 18-21 MLK Varsity/Soph Tournament Kewanee High School TBA
Jan. 24 Geneseo at LaSalle-Peru LaSalle-Peru 7 p.m.
Jan. 26 Kaneland at Geneseo Geneseo High School TBA
Jan. 29 Geneseo at Rochelle Rochelle High School 7 p.m.
Feb. 7 Sterling at Geneseo Geneseo High School 7 p.m.