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HS girls’ basketball: State-ranked Staunton surges to seventh straight win

Ele Feldmann drives to the basket for the Staunton High School girls’ basketball team against Argenta-Oreana in Edinburg Dec. 2. The Bulldogs dominated, 45-9, and improved to 7-0 on the season. Staunton is 20th in this week’s IHSA Class 2A state rankings. Photo contributed by LeAnn Troeckler.

 

Carlinville wins fifth of six, Tiburzi breaks school assists’ record; Gillespie beats Greenville

By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter

Two seasons ago, both of the Staunton and Carlinville girls’ basketball teams were striking a ton of success and overachieving despite their respective rosters being mostly made up of underclassmen.

Now, in 2023-24, those experienced and battle-tested Bulldogs and Cavaliers are back better than ever with every expectation to win on a game-to-game basis. The campaign is still young but they are quickly becoming two frontrunners to beat at this point, especially Corrie Allan’s state-ranked Staunton squad, for both the county and conference titles.

Darrin DeNeve’s Cavaliers aren’t to be taken for granted, as they have already proven in the past. After all, this is a team that played in a sectional with three freshmen and a injured sophomore (playing through pain) in its starting varsity lineup back in 2022. Although the numbers are low in Carlinville again in 2023-24, CHS is once again out to prove how quality can overtake quantity in several cases. The Cavaliers are off to a 5-1 start behind a solid defensive attack as well as a two-way point forward who already broke the school record in career assists as a junior last week.

Staunton, an undefeated powerhouse which currently ranks as the 20th best team in the Illinois High School Association 2A poll, added three more dominant victories to a seven-game winning streak, pummeling Riverton 55-23, Litchfield 70-26 and Argenta-Oreana 45-9.

Carlinville showcased its newly-constructed foundation of veteran leadership in a huge 48-43 home victory over Carrollton Nov. 27, then handled business in its conference opener against Vandalia three nights later. The Cavaliers stomped the Vandals, 42-4, in the first half en route to a 65-22 drubbing. Isabella Tiburzi surpassed former teammate Jill Stayton in career assists and became the school record holder with 236 while posting 13 points. Kaitlyn Reels led all scorers with 15 tallies.

Tiburzi is followed by Stayton (230), Bailey Schmidt (221), Savannah Bates (210) and Marley Schmidt (195) on Carlinville’s list of all-time facilitators. She additionally leads this year’s Carlinville squad in scoring (11.0 ppg), rebounding (7.0 rpg), assists (4.5 apg), blocked shots (9), and free throw percentage (19-21, 90.5).

Gillespie beats Greenville

The Gillespie girls continued to put themselves on notice as well, beating Greenville, 48-39, at Bond County to start 1-0 in the South Central Conference.

The Miners lost an early lead and went into halftime trailing 24-19 after getting outscored 14-6 in the second quarter, but came out of the locker room with fire in their eyes. Delaney Taylor ignited the Miners with three clutch buckets in the third, including two triples, and Gillespie countered with a 14-5 run to re-claim advantage.

Taylor stayed hot with another three in the fourth quarter, but the final eight minutes mostly belonged to Miners’ leading scorer Mia Brawner. Brawner posted seven of her 16 points over that final stretch to help Gillespie seal its sixth victory in nine games. Taylor ended the evening with 14 tallies.

Other action

In other action, North Mac closed out November with two tight victories over Athens (48-47) and Pana (50-46), improving to 6-2 (1-0 SCC).

Southwestern lost 44-26 at Hillsboro and dropped to 3-4 (0-1 SCC).

Bunker Hill encountered a massive mismatch against Nokomis. The Minutemaids were completely overpowered by the Redskins from the opening tip en route to a 59-9 blowout defeat and fell to 1-3 on the year.

Greenfield-Northwestern remains winless after four games. The Tigers’ most recent loss came against Carrollton, 52-22, Dec. 4.