Returning letter winners from a 12-14 Casey-Westfield girls' basketball team are Jae Lynn Riggleman, Mackenzie Morgan, Elizabeth Eckerty, Myriah Warner and Sydnie Hall.

CASEY -- The 2017-18 Casey-Westfield girls' basketball season started Tuesday at Oblong. The Lady Warriors have five players returning from a 12-14 team, including three of the seven seniors.

Elizabeth Eckerty, Mackenzie Morgan and Myriah Warner are the three seniors returning along with the two juniors in Sydnie Hall and Jae Lynn Riggleman. Riggleman was named to the honorable mention all-Little Illini Conference team and is the top returning scorer. She averaged 10.6 points per game last year. Warner averaged 7.6 and Morgan was at 6.3, while Eckerty was at three points per contest.

"We are looking for a leader," said Casey coach Jereome Williams, who is in his third year at the helm. "With the seven seniors we are looking for someone that will play consistently no matter what."

Williams said the team is going to be quick, but small. 

"We have three guards  and if we can get them into the flow of the game we should be pretty competitive," said Williams. "We have to play well together."

Mollie Glidewell, Calista Taylor and Kayla Carter, all seniors, have very little experience according to Williams who anticipates having a wining record this year. 

"We have several girls that can step up," said Williams. "We have been working on learning how to play hard."

Three players are injured right now for the Lady Warriors.

Casey averaged 46 points per game last year and allowed 47.6. 

"Reobunding and defense is going to have to be really good for us," said Williams. "Everyone has their role and they are going to fill their obligation big or small. We have one senior that has not played in two years in Lindsey Beasley. She had a few games of over 20 points her freshman year. She knows how to use her body rebounding. She knows how to position herself for rebounding."

A total of 10 players are on the team with one freshman and the rest juniors or seniors. 

"Defensively, it depends on the situation," said Williams. "We will play some full-court man-to-man and mix in some zone and trap. It depends on who we are playing as we will matchup to what they are doing."

As for a strength of the team besides experience Williams said, "I think our strength is our quickness and ability to run the floor. We will play up tempo. Practices have been good and the girls are working hard."

Sara Richardson returns as an assistant coach and last year's member of the JG-TC All-Area team, Chelsea Cox is a volunteer coach. Cox led the Lady Warriors in scoring at 13.1 points per game and is the only player that graduated off of last season's team. She also led in three-point field goals (36) and averaged a team-high 7.2 rebounds per game as well as 2.3 steals. She earned second team all-LIC honors. 

"She practices with them and plays hard," said Williams. "Hopefully that will run off on some of the girls. She wants to be a coach. She is also an assistant with the seventh grade girls' basketball team.  She loves the game and the players respond to her well."

As for the LIC Williams feels Paris is the team to beat, but also said Olney and Newton as well as Marshall will be good. 

"I think we will be competitive," said Williams of the LIC. "I think the talent is there.  Our goals is to try and improve throughout the year."

Casey's home-opener is Monday against Monticello.


Sports writer

Mike Monahan covers area sports for the JG-TC.

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