The first half of the Lebanon Greyhounds’ 2017 season has been much like the previous two years.
Led by twin sisters Krista and Kendra Bass, the Greyhounds have been dominant and head into Friday’s final pre-holiday game against New Athens ranked third in the Class 1A state poll with an 11-0 record.
With a 40-0 record in games played before Christmas in the past three years, Lebanon features constant pressure on defense and a fast-paced offense that turns opponents’ mistakes into easy transition baskets.
But there is still work to do on the offensive end of the floor, according to coach Chad Cruthis.
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“On the defensive end of the floor, I would say that we’re probably a little ahead of where we were last year at this time. A lot of the time, our best offense comes from our defense,” Cruthis said Tuesday. “On offense we still have some work to do, primarily in the half-court offense.
“We run a lot of offensive sets, and there is a difference between knowing where you are supposed to be and executing in game situations. Overall, I’m pleased at where we are. The object is to be playing your best basketball come February.”
Led by Krista Bass (7.2 ppg), Kendra Bass (15.6 ppg) and Emily Reinneck (13.8 ppg), the Greyhounds have been nearly unstoppable in the early going. But what has made Lebanon perhaps a better team has been the emergence of senior Madison Schoenfeld as an offensive threat and Abigail Reinneck as a defensive stopper.
A gifted all-around athlete, the 6-foot-1 Schoenfeld is averaging 10.2 points and shooting better than 70 percent from the floor.
“I had a talk with Madison and told her that she needed to become more of a presence in the post. For her to do that, she needed to gain the confidence of her teammates so that when they threw the ball into her, that she could do something with it,” Cruthis said. “She has worked with a personal trainer and gotten a lot stronger.”
Fans of girls basketball will have their fill in the days following Christmas with the Mascoutah Holiday Tournament and Lebanon Christmas Tournament.
At Lebanon, the host Greyhounds (11-0) will begin defense of their title Dec. 26 when they take on 16-seeded Sparta at 8 p.m. in the finale of the first round. The Greyhounds are currently ranked third in the Class 1A state poll.
Freeburg (5-1), which suffered its first loss of the season against Lebanon this week, is the second seed, while Centralia Christ our Rock is seeded third and Greenville is the fourth seed.
The Mascoutah Holiday Tournament begins Dec. 27 and continues through Dec. 29.
Defending champion Highland (8-1) is the top seed and will take on Centralia in the opening game at 8:30 a.m. Undefeated O’Fallon (9-0) is seeded second, while Okawville (9-1) and Central (7-1) round out the top four seeds.
Civic Memorial ranked first, Edwardsville second in AP polls
Despite graduating three time all-state selection Allie Troeckler, the Civic Memorial Eagles were the top choice of pollsters in the initial Class 3A girls basketball rankings released late last week.
Currently 10-0, the Eagles received two first-place votes and 62 points, just ahead of Morton (56 points) and Peoria Richwoods (55). Highland (8-1) is ranked eighth in the Class 3A poll.
Edwardsville (8-0) is ranked second behind Geneva (7-0) in the Class 4A poll. The Tigers lost the Class 4A state championship a year ago to Geneva in a 41-40 game.
Lebanon (11-0) is ranked third in the Class 1A poll, while Okawville, which suffered its first loss of the season Tuesday to Mater Dei, is 9-1 and ranked fourth in the Class 1A poll.
Receiving votes but not ranked in the top 10 are Belleville East (4A) and Mater Dei (2A).
Rankings for metro-east teams; voting by area coaches and News-Democrat staff. First-place votes are in parentheses.
Large school rankings (Class 3A-4A)
Also receiving votes: Belleville East (4-5), East St. Louis (3-1), Freeburg (5-1), Jerseyville (6-3), Columbia (4-5), Triad (5-3), Cahokia (4-1)
Small school rankings (Class 1A-2A)
Also receiving votes: Red Bud (9-3). New Athens (5-4), Carlyle (6-5), Steeleville (7-3), Gibault (7-4),father McGiney (5-5).
▪ Nashville senior Karly Stanowski scored 18 points and had eight rebounds against Herrin in a win Tuesday, and had 22 points and 8 rebounds in a win against Benton on Saturday. Nashville is now 7-3 for the season.
▪ Althoff junior Tiffani Siekmann scored 26 points in a pair of wins this past week. Siekmann totaled 16 points in the Crusaders’ 52-29 win over Mascoutah, then helped the Crusaders (5-6) get past rival Belleville West 40-32.
▪ Marquette junior Peyton Kline scored 20 points as the Explorers (9-1) ran their winning streak to nine with a 74-20 win over Valmeyer on Monday.
▪ Belleville East junior B’Aunce Carter continues to blend in nicely in her first season with the Lancers. A transfer from Belleville West, Carter had 17 points in a 64-51 win over East St. Louis. She then scored 25 points in the Lancers’ 63-39 win over Belleville West on Tuesday.
▪ Destiny Robinson scored 16 points and pulled down eight rebounds as Cahokia (4-1) stretched its winning streak to four with a 56-40 win over conference rival Centralia.
▪ Carlyle guard Brooklyn Smith broke loose for 23 points as the Indians (6-5) remained above the .500 mark with a 53-45 win over Pinckneyville.
▪ Kaylee Eaton and Alaira Tyus kept the Eagles (10-0) undefeated with a pair of top efforts last week. Eaton scored 23 points as the Eagles defeated Quincy Notre Dame 68-46, while Tyus scored a combined 30 points in wins over Notre Dame and Collinsville.
▪ East St. Louis junior Mya Glanton scored 21 points and pulled down 15 rebounds in a 60-48 Flyerettes win over Hazelwood Central. East St. Louis is now 5-1 for the season.
▪ Edwardsville seniors Kate Martin and Rachel Pranger combined for 40 points as the Tigers (8-0) devastated Belleville West 71-17 in a Southwestern Conference game Thursday.
▪ Highland guards Rece Portell and Ellie Brown kept the Bulldogs rolling with wins over Waterloo and Centralia. Portell scored 18 points in a 74-23 win over Mississippi Conference rival Waterloo, while Brown had 17 in a 66-35 triumph over the Orphans.
▪ Seniors Kendra Bass and Madison Schoenfeld scored 16 each as Lebanon, ranked third in the Class 1A state poll, defeated Freeburg 44-27 on Monday. The Greyhounds are now 11-0 for the season.
▪ Kenzie Kern and Hailey Krause combined for 32 points as Marissa (4-4) walloped Valmeyer 63-22 in a Cahokia Conference game.
▪ O’Fallon junior Ashley Schloer scored 27 points in a 70-41 win over Collinsville, while senior Sydney Thurwalker scored 20 points in a 75-19 victory over Granite City.