After posting a winning record with only one senior last season, the Lebanon girls basketball team aims to do the same thing this year with no seniors.
Lebanon was 16-10 overall, including an 8-2 mark (second place) in the Kaskaskia Division of the Cahokia Conference. The Greyhounds lost 73-70 to Madison in the first round of the Class 1A Bunker Hill Regional.
"We were 17 out of 43 from the free line against Madison and that haunts me, but the kids were young and they played hard," said coach Kerry Allen. "To win 16 games was pretty good for them and I think they grew up a little bit in that last game."
Jenna Wood, who averaged 6.6 points and 5.9 rebounds per game, was the only graduation loss. Courtney Washington, who averaged 9.2 points and 8.3 rebounds as a sophomore, decided to concentrate on softball, where she is a standout pitcher.
"We actually got even younger because we had a sophomore, Madison Dauch, move in and she's going to help us," Allen said. "She came from Michigan and also played volleyball and she gives a lot of strength to the team."
The only juniors are Jaclyn Elmore, who had a team-leading 15.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, and Abby Fritz, who averaged 5.3 points per game.
Sophomore guard Paige Buechele returns, but her twin sister and starting point guard, Claire Buechele, is out until Christmas with a broken toe. Sophomores Aileigh Wilken Taylor Sonsoucie and Kyleigh Johnson and freshmen Ellie Krumsieg, Lauren Nunn and Kiera Wagner (Allen's granddaughter) are also competing for playing time.
Lebanon opens the season Wednesday at the Columbia Thanksgiving Invitational, which continues through Friday.
"It's a round-robin thing that we just started this year," Allen said. "The Dupo Tournament was good, but we were playing New Athens and Marissa three or four times. We didn't like it and I don't think they liked it. We needed to play some different people and that's the main reason we made the change.
"One goal for us is to stay healthy because we have a couple girls out right now (including Nunn with a back injury) and a couple others are limping around. I told them to focus on the conference because (defending champion) Marissa is going to be a challenge, but every team is young and I don't know if anybody is head and shoulders above the rest. "