Over the past week we have examined a few potentially dynamic duos that will need to step up and lead their team in the upcoming year. This could be due to graduation, transfer or other circumstances that put a pair of players in a situation where they really need to have a good year to push their team/program to a higher level.
Ellie Brown and Emmy Nyquist of Highland are in a position as guards, experienced players and leaders to help the team climb back up to the top of the MVC. New coach Clint Hamilton wisely split these two up for much of the month of June, forcing them to lead their own group of 5 players on the floor. Both girls are capable ball handlers and point guards and while Brown has more recognition as a scorer, both girls are capable of putting points on the board. Brown led the team in scoring as a sophomore at 12.6 points per game. She shot 53% from the 2 point range and hit an average of 1 three pointer per game. Nyquist averaged 7.6 points per game while shooting 45% from the 3 point line and 80% from the free throw line. Emmy played more of the point guard role which led to her averaging 4 assists per game. Ellie is a willing passer who averaged 3 assists per game. Both girls were also very effective on the defensive end getting over 2 steals per game. The Highland program is at a crossroads with Hamilton stepping in as a new coach and Civic Memorial trending towards taking control of the conference. Under previous Coach Arbuthnot they had some big years and the team and town is certainly not ready to hand over control of the conference to Coach Denney and his CM team.If Emmy and Ellie can step up their game, take the leadership from their summer sessions and embrace the changes in Coach Hamilton’s system they have a chance to fight CM for the conference title.
Anna McKee and Madison Webb are ready to help their Father McGivney team talk the next step. The team is joining the Prairie State conference with the intentions of winning a title. McKee had a stellar Freshman campaign and averaged 18.4 points per game.McKee did most of her damage from the outside as 59 of her 79 field goals came from behind the three point line. She was also a good free throw shooter converting 52 free throws at a 66% clip. By developing her range to be able to shoot comfortably a step outside the line McKee is able to get her shots even when pressured. At 5’8 McKee is long and athletic. She has been able to use this frame to be a force on the defensive end too by averaging 5.4 steals per game. Madison is a classic power forward that has the ability to not only hurt you inside but is also getting better and better with the ball in her hands away from the basket. Webb averaged 11.8 points per game and 8.1 rebounds in her sophomore season. She was also effective in the passing lanes as she averaged 3.3 steals per game. Madison shot 40% from the field and 54% from the free throw line so if she can take that next step bu increasing her efficiency and cash in on more foul shots she can take her game to another level. Father McGivney was very young last year and returns most of the roster for Coach Jeff Oller. As a newer school/program that is stepping into a conference for the first time these two girls have an opportunity over the next two years to really form a lasting impression the program and its’ future. If they can continue to work and develop their talents the 1A school may be a tough out come tourney time.