Girls basketball season ends; team already looking to next year


Reid Watkins

Madison Feeney looks downcourt during the Lady Iron’s Regional win over Danville. Feeney, a sophomore, is expected to be an impact player next year on the varsity team.

The Lady Iron basketball team’s 2018-19 campaign ended at the hands of Brea Beal and the Rock Island Rocks one week ago in the semifinal round of the 4A sectional hosted at Normal West.

Beal, ESPN’s 13 ranked player in the nation, controlled the game all night. The South Carolina signee finished with 23 points and 15 rebounds, as the Lady Rocks advanced to their fifth straight sectional final by beating the Iron 52-37.

“You can tell that she’s a Division I athlete,” head coach Mr. Marcus Mann said of Beal.

It was a disappointing finish, but the Lady Iron enjoyed a season filled with milestones including Coach Mann’s 100th program win, Abby Feit’s 1,000 career points, and facing national and international competition.  

The girls were invited to compete in the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix, Arizona over winter break. There the team was winner of the consolation bracket – competing against teams from Arizona, California and Canada.

Closer to home, the Lady Iron also performed well. In the intercity tournament, the varsity team defeated U-High, Bloomington and Central Catholic before losing to West. The 16 point loss cost the Iron total bragging rights, forcing a three-way share of the Intercity Champs title with Central Catholic and  West.

This loss was not one to soon be forgotten, as the Iron went on to win their next three meetings with the Wildcats. Each matchup seemed to carry a different meaning, all coming on special occasions: the annual “Pink Out” game to raise breast cancer awareness, the State Farm Holiday Classic, and the final meeting for the Regional Championship.

Perhaps the teams’ biggest loss came as the final buzzer sounded against Rock Island – the loss of their three seniors. Abby Feit, Cassi Kraft, and Katie Broad will graduate this spring after each spending four years in the program. The trio left big shoes to fill for their younger counterparts.

“They all had a huge role on our team,” junior guard Kylee Schneringer said. “They impacted us a lot.”

Feit and Kraft will go on to play basketball at the University of Evansville and Simpson College respectively, as Broad plans to study business at the University of Missouri.

Despite losing three major pieces, there is a lot to look forward to for the girls basketball program. Schneringer, along with fellow guard Maya Wong, will be back for their senior season, both playing their fourth year on the varsity team.

This year’s team also featured sophomores Mallory Oloffson, Madison Feeney and Maylin Henning who will all be looking to further their contributions as upperclassmen. The 2021 class are “all hard workers; we all fight and give it our all,”  Feeney said.

One of the most exciting players during the ‘18-19 season was freshmen Karleigh Creasey, who worked her way into the rotation as the season went on. As a 9th grader, Creasey averaged 3.1 points per game at the varsity level.

Creasey was the lone freshmen, until fellow guard JoJo Griffin was added to the roster towards the end of the season. Griffin will look to make an impact during her first full season at the varsity level next year.

When it comes to improving for next season, the recipe is nothing special. The girls will be “coming to the gym a lot and working hard,” Feeney said.