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Galena’s Claire Martensen takes a shot during a game at East Dubuque last season. Martensen returns to a Pirates team that went 11-2 last year.

Here is a capsule look at area girls basketball teams competing in the Northwest Upstate Illini Conference:

EAST DUBUQUE

Coach — Deann Petitgout (second year, 11-13)

Last season — 11-13, 5-5 NUIC

Returning starter — Anna Berryman (Sr., G)

Key returning players — Emily Gockel (Jr., F); Mia Wilwert (Soph., G)

Promising newcomers — Erika Dolan (Soph., G); Megan Anger (Jr., F); Cam Strauser (Jr., G)

Outlook — The Warriors lost four out of five starters from last year’s squad, with first-team all-conference guard Berryman the lone returner. She will be relied upon heavily to lead a young team, but one that brings a wealth of basketball experience to the court. East Dubuque ended last season’s COVID-altered schedule winning four of its last five games and hopes to carry that momentum into this season.

GALENA

Coach — Jamie Watson (12th year, 197-95)

Last season — 11-2, 8-2 NUIC

Returning starters — Maggie Furlong (Sr., G); Taylor Burcham (Soph., G); Addie Hefel (Soph., G); Claire Martensen (Sr., F)

Key returning players — Avery Engle (Sr., G); Sydney Einsweiler (Sr., G); Gwen Hesselbacher (Jr., G/F)

Promising newcomers — Gracie Furlong (Fr., G); Hannah Lacey (Sr., F); Sam Callahan (Jr., G)

Outlook — As is typically the case, Galena is expected to compete for a conference title again this season. Burcham (first team) and Hefel (second team) returns to the starting lineup as all-conference performers last year. Maggie Furlong — who was a second-team all-conference selection in 2019 — will be another central piece after missing last season with a torn ACL. This team will play an up-tempo style, and with experience and depth coming off the bench, the Pirates will be a hard team to defend.

RIVER RIDGE/SCALES MOUND

Coach — Dave Wiegel (10th year, 115-127)

Last season — 4-11, 4-6 NUIC

Returning starters — Mickayala Bass (Jr., G); Sydney Driscoll (Jr., C); Sadie Fry (Jr., F)

Key returning players — Kari Conklin (Sr., F); Josie Korte (Sr., G); Olivia Leonard (Sr., G); Samantha Haring (Sr., G); Avri Miller (Sr., C)

Promising newcomers — Jaidyn Strang (Sr., G); Addison Albrecht (Soph., F); Annie Werner (Soph., C/F); Gwen Miller (Soph., C)

Outlook — River Ridge/Scales Mound returns second-team all-conference performers Bass and Driscoll to a team hoping to climb the ladder in the NUIC. This will be an experienced group that features plenty of depth and size that will be difficult for the opposition to guard. Increased scoring production and a commitment to strong defense will be key for RR/SM to take that next step and be a competitor in the conference chase.

STOCKTON

Coach — Robyn Schulz (second year, 16-1)

Last season — 16-1, 10-0 NUIC

Returning starters — Kenze Haas (Sr., F); Brynn Haas (Sr., F); Kassadie Sullivan (Sr., G)

Key returning players — Alexa Haas (Sr., F); Whittney Sullivan (Jr., F); Morgan Blair (Jr., F)

Outlook — The Blackhawks marched through NUIC play last season with an undefeated record and hope to compete near the top once again. They did, however, graduate Tiana Timpe, one of the best players in program history, now playing at Central Michigan. First-team all-NUIC performer Brynn Haas leads an experienced group with size and length that should still be able to make some noise in the conference this year.

WARREN

Coach — Fred Linker (first season)

Last season — 2-11, 0-8 NUIC

Returning starters — Elaina Martin (Jr.); Adalynn Bohnsack (Soph.); Katie Lozada (Jr.)

Promising newcomers — Janel Radaszewski; Ava Heidenrich; Lauren Williams

Outlook — Martin (second team) and Bohnsack (honorable mention) return as all-conference selections from last season. They will be looked on to lead a Warriors team hoping for a resurgent year. This group will possess plenty of speed, but depth will be a main area of concern.

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