Kankakee Valley Kougars
Last year: 12-10, 2-4 Northwest Crossroads Conference, lost in Class 3A Kankakee Valley Sectional semifinal to Hanover Central.
Inside the Kougars
Leading returning scorer: Bethany Jansma, 11 ppg
Leading returning rebounder: Danielle Ruesken, 4.3 rpg
Star power: Lauren Stokes, Jr., PG: Stokes led the team in assists and steals and was a first team all-NCC selection.
Newcomer to watch: Ashley Norberg, Jr., F: Norberg should have a breakout season in the front court after averaging nearly 4.0 ppg last year.
Kougars look for productive season
The Kougars are looking for a very productive season behind a solid junior class of seven players that has enjoyed success at each level coming up through the ranks. The talented backcourt duo of Jansma and Stokes is part of the reason for the optimism. “I think our speed and our quickness this year are going to be a key for us,” coach Ryan Myers said. “We feel like with Bethany Jansma and Lauren Stokes, they’re definitely going to get us out in transition and running, spread the floor and be able to penetrate and help us out. We’re kind of excited for those two.” The Kougars also have a solid frontcourt with Norberg and Ruesken and depth off the bench. Norberg has spent a lot of time in the gym to improve her inside game, while Ruesken was a key contributor last year in both scoring and rebounding. The Kougars are also high on freshman Breanna Toppen, who has played with the core varsity group in the offseason for a few years.“It’s just a good group of girls,” Myers said. “A lot of these girls play three sports and they’re just good athletes. We’re excited.” — Christopher Breach