ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Crystal Lake South, jr., forward
Mickow is doing her best to keep the Gators in contention for the Fox Valley Conference Valley Division title. She scored a game-high 14 points, including seven in the final two minutes, during South’s comeback win Friday at Prairie Ridge and added 16 points and 16 rebounds in Wednesday’s win against Prairie Ridge, the Gators’ eighth-straight win. The 5-foot-11 junior also scored 18 points in the South’s win Saturday against Mundelein.
Marengo battles in BNC: The Indians’ boast one of the best all-around players in the Big Northern Conference, senior Jessica Villie, but the lack of a second scoring threat has hurt Marengo.
Marengo picked up a big win at home Tuesday against BNC East Division foe Richmond-Burton, securing a 49-43 win thanks to Villie’s 19 points and the performance of senior guard Sabrina Marsh, who scored 17 points and was given the tough task of guarding Rockets’ go-to scorer Alex Callanan.
“I’d say that’s definitely our biggest win in conference so far this season,” Marengo coach Nick Rode said. “I’m hoping that kind of lights a fire under us and help us believe in ourselves even more just going down the homestretch with a lot of conference games remaining.”
At 3-2 in the BNC East, the Indians will have to catch Burlington Central, which is undefeated in conference play. If Marsh or one of her teammates can become a consistent scoring threat alongside Villie, Marengo can be a dangerous team in the BNC East.
Fenton playing through injury: Prairie Ridge senior guard Bri Fenton suffered a broken nose and broken bone in her face during the Wolves’ loss to Libertyville on Dec. 27. Prairie Ridge coach Rob Baker said Fenton is “very limited” in what she’s able to do, but she has been able to play. Fenton played Friday against South, although Baker held her out of Monday’s blowout win against Marengo.
With Fenton and forward Sarah LeBeau back in the lineup, Baker hopes the Wolves can find consistency.
“We’re working extremely hard,” Baker said. “We’re playing intense, we’re playing physical. We’re playing good basketball, but we’re just making some mental mistakes at the end of games that are costing us.”
Class 4A regional stacked: The IHSA playoff seedings are expected to be announced Jan. 24.
However, the regional assignments already have been announced, and one regional is especially tough.
The Crystal Lake South Regional in Class 4A features five McHenry County teams in the six-team regional: Cary-Grove, Crystal Lake Central, Crystal Lake South, Prairie Ridge and McHenry. Three of the those teams are within two games of Huntley, who currently is atop the Fox Valley Conference Valley Division.
Other notable regionals include the Woodstock Regional in Class 3A, which includes Marengo, Woodstock, Woodstock North, Richmond-Burton and Marian Central and in Class 4A the Streamwood Regional (Jacobs and Dundee-Crown).
THIS WEEK'S TOP GAMES
Cary-Grove at Huntley, 7 p.m. Saturday
Two of the conference’s best teams meet with first place in the FVC Valley on the line. The Trojans sit one-game back of the Red Raiders.
Grayslake North at Woodstock North, 7 p.m. Tuesday
FVC Fox Division leader welcomes the Thunder in the teams’ third meeting of the season. Woodstock North is looking for its first win against the Knights this year.
– Meghan Montemurro, firstname.lastname@example.org