Women's Basketball Team Outlook
The 2013-2014 women’s basketball team is looking to bounce back after a disappointing season last year. The Skyhawks ended up one game below five hundred and lost a close game to end their season in the Region IV Division 1 postseason tournament. They are ready to take control of the Region this year with a very young but talented group. The Freshmen class is going to have to step up right away with only 3 sophomores returning and only one in which was a starter. “We are very young but we are not going to use this as an excuse early on in the season. We need to have are freshman step up right away and compete” Johnson stated.
The three returners for the Skyhawks are Rebecca Hendley from Dixon, Paige Calow from Freeport, and Sheldeen Joseph from St. Vincent (Virgin Islands). Rebecca did a nice job last year coming off the bench and giving the Skyhawks a spark. “Becca has a lot of energy and plays very hard. She is an excellent defense of player and very athletic” Johnson said. Paige Calow also came off the bench and played very well at times. “Paige has come a long way and continues to improve. We hope that the work that she has put in pays off this year” Johnson stated. Shledeen Joseph the only returning starter finished last year on a very high note. “Sheldeen has come a long way and we hope that she continues to do so. She can be the best player on the floor when she is on her game. We hope that all the extra time that we have spent with Sheldeen helps her to be more consistent day to day”.
The Skyhawks also have a transfer sophomore that has the potential to really help the them get to the next level. Krystal James, a Rockford native, transferred in from Olivet Nazarene University. “Krystal is one of those players that can just light it up at any time. She does not have much to say on or off the floor but she just loves to play the game, she is a true gym rat” Johnson said.
It is going to be vital for the freshman on this young Skyhawks team to play at a very high level right away. The Skyhawks have some very good local talent this year with three players from Rock Falls (Jordan Giddings, Morgan Mammosser, Aubree Johnson) and one from Sterling (Aleena Hammelman), Amboy ( Autumn Smith), Ashton Franklin Center(Sarah Matson), Newman (Jaimie Hurd) and St. Bede Academy (Morgan Dean). “We have worked hard to recruit local talent into our program and this year we have done a great job” Johnson stated. Jordan Giddings, Morgan Mammosser and Aubree Johnson are the three Rock Falls Rockets that are joining up again for another season of basketball. “We are looking forward to the inside out game that Jordan has and having the ability to stretch the floor with her abilities” Johnson said. Mammosser who was also one of the top players in the area is looking to make an immediate impact at the point guard position. “Morgan always gives effort and has a solid mindset for the game. She will be a leader on the court for us this year as a freshman” said Johnson. Aubree Johnson is one of the intensity girls on this team and plays tough in your face defense. “Aubree not only plays harder than anyone else, but the amazing thing about her is she does it every day. She never takes a break and will go until she passes out. She just doesn’t stop” Johnson said.
A player that Coach Johnson is very excited to have back on his roster is Sterling All-Star Aleena Hammelman. “It is great to have Aleena back on the roster, she is a vital part of this team and will be a large leader on the court. Her intensity and ability to rebound and finish will play a large part in our success” said Johnson. AFC Sarah Matson will be looking to make a large jump from her single A high school to the college level. “Sarah continues to put in work in order to catch up to speed. She can shoot the ball very well and is going to help us be successful this year” Johnson said. Newman’s Jaimie Hurd is ready to add her hard work and steady defense to the Skyhawk’ program. “Jaimie is a great teammate and leader on and off the floor. She can run the floor and really hook it up on the defensive end” said Johnson.
The final two freshman that are going to cause some problems for the competition inside the paint are Amboy’s Autumn Smith and St. Bede’s Morgan Dean. “Autumn has great size and can shoot from 15 ft. very well. If she puts in the work to achieve being in elite shape she will be a very nice player for us” Johnson Said. Morgan Dean has the opportunity to be an unbelievable post player. “With her size and skill Mo is a great threat for us inside. She has great hands, steady footwork and is a beast in the paint” said Johnson.
As this season starts Coach Johnson is excited about his group of young talent and believes that this could be there best year yet. “It is a group that already has great chemistry and is full of wonderful leaders on and off the court. It should be a lot of fun for us this year” Johnson said.