River Forest Ingots
Last season: 4-17, 2-5 GSSC, lost in Class 2A River Forest Sectional opener to Bowman Academy
Inside the Ingots
Leading returning scorer: Kayla Smith, 8.5 ppg
Leading returning rebounder: Kayla Smith, 4 rpg
Star power: Kayla Smith, Sr., F. This four-year varsity player is the senior captain and the only one with more than one year of significant experience on the Ingots. "This team will obviously look towards her as a leader and expect her to take over a game. She's worked really hard over the summer improving her game," coach Courtney Quigg said.
Newcomer to watch: Abbey Bryant, So., G. Against sectional titan Bowman Academy last year, Bryant led the team in scoring, rebounding and assists, so she will always come to play against the toughest competition. She played more JV last year, but Quigg will look towards Bryant to be a No. 2 option on the perimeter. "I'd like to see her start the season where she left off last year. She's really aggressive and one of our smaller guards, but she certainly doesn't play like it," Quigg said.
Looking for drastic improvement
There are some heightened expectations for the little school in New Chicago. Now that basically the whole roster has a year of varsity game speed and experience under their belt, Quigg expects this team to improve its overal record and conference record. "We're in a pretty tough conference in the GSSC with Wheeler and Whiting, but we want to have a better showing at the end. Our standings should improve because we've worked so hard up to this point," she said. Smith will look to elevate her game to potentially an all-conference campaign by being the go-to player, especially down the stretch for the Ingots. "Kayla led a group of no senior starters into that Bowman game," Quigg said. "We gave Bowman the best game we could last year and we aren't going to be intimidated." One thing that could work into the Ingots' favor is they host the sectional again this year. River Forest must make sure to stay healthy and work together as a cohesive unit if it is going to compete in its own sectional. "We gotta do a better job of staying in games," Quigg said. "This has been on their minds for a long time now." — Paul Honeycutt