Illini West girls basketball sees bright season ahead
CARTHAGE, Ill. (WGEM) -
Coming off a Sweet 16 appearance just a season ago it seems like the sky is the limit for the Illini West girls basketball team. And with a roster loaded with talent the Chargers feel that way, too.
"Last year being in a sectional championship game, that kind of put us on the map," said head coach Grant Suprenant.
"More importantly, it put us in a position we've never been in before. I think being in that environment and having that experience coming back, hopefully that carries over for this upcoming season."
After a tough loss to an eventual state-bound Central-Southeastern team in the Sweet 16, Illini West is eager to take the next step this year.
"It was rough (losing to CSE). I feel like we had every opportunity to win and we kind of let it go," said junior guard Hannah Wood.
"I feel like this year we're going to redeem ourselves, in a way, and we're going to go far this year, I hope."
Already, the Chargers are (5-1) on the young season and have shown a good deal of promise so far. But to find another one of Illini West's biggest strengths you need only look at the experience on the Chargers' roster. Only two players are gone from last season's team while five starters return, including leading score Baylee Clampitt.
"Having five returning starters means we all know what it feels like," said Clampitt.
"W all know what it felt like to get to the Sweet 16 and it was an awesome feeling and we all know we want to get back there.''
It is through this experience the Chargers hope to shine.
"When you look at our starting lineup, they're all returning starters from last year. So that is a lot of experience," said Suprenant.
"When you put the pieces together I feel like we have a good nucleus and a good chemistry, so far."
So far, the Chargers have only had one home game in their first six but the road doesn't get any easier from here. Thursday night Illini West heads to Monmouth-Roseville before playing a three game stretch against the likes of Central-Southeastern, QND and Clark County.
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