Chart toppers: Fantastic freshman basketball players, courtesy Fred Kroner
Not all freshmen get the chance to play varsity during their first year in high school. Here are five who’ve had the chance and have excelled during the first half of the girls’ basketball season:
St. Thomas More
The 6-foot-4 forward is averaging a double-double (13.8 points and 10.8 rebounds) for an 18-1 state-ranked team. She’s far from a polished player, but one thing is certain. She IS a player and could develop into one of the area’s all-time best.
The niece of former Danville High and Danville Area Community College standout Ronny Bell Jr. is a left-hander (like her uncle) who is adept at getting to the basket. Want spin moves and potential? The 5-9 Bell possesses both.
The 5-11 guard has burst onto the scene, hitting more than two-thirds of her free throws while averaging 10.4 points per game against a challenging schedule. She scored 17 points in her prep debut and earned all-tournament honors one week into the season.
The 5-8 forward scored in double figures in her second varsity game, a two-point win by the Maroons, and has had at least 10 points in six of her first 17 games. Her best game, to date, is 16 points. When Laura Litchfield graduates, Smith’s impact will increase.
The 5-7 guard is settling in as a contributing player as her playing time increases. She has reached double figures in her last four games, totaling 65 points. Included was her first 20-point outing against a state-ranked Galesburg squad.
Among those close to warranting a spot on the five-player list are Cissna Park’s Addison Stoller, who had a double-double in her last two games, and Westville’s Morgan Gallion, who had a 10-point third quarter in a tournament game against Salt Fork at Bismarck.