The Washington girls basketball team is looking for scoring from any source it has available.



With the departure of their top-three scorers in a five-player senior class, who combined for 66 percent of the offense in 2009-10, the Lady Panthers will need contributions from everyone.



“Things are coming together pretty well so far,” WCHS head coach Randy Marchand said. “We’re definitely a new team this year. We have to find our own identity.”


The Washington girls basketball team is looking for scoring from any source it has available.

With the departure of their top-three scorers in a five-player senior class, who combined for 66 percent of the offense in 2009-10, the Lady Panthers will need contributions from everyone.

“Things are coming together pretty well so far,” WCHS head coach Randy Marchand said. “We’re definitely a new team this year. We have to find our own identity.”

Washington is coming off a splendid season in which it offset its lack of height with a pressure-oriented attack.

The team finished 17-11 overall and tied Limestone for second place in the Mid-Illini Conference with a 9-5 record.

This year, senior guard Jennica Hipes is the lone returning player who tallied more than four points per game.

Kiley Ruder, a senior guard/forward is the only athlete back who provided more than three rebounds per contest.

“We have to find ways to score. Hopefully our defense can keep us in the games,” said Marchand.

Having the quick Hipes back in the mix after missing the final nine games a year ago with an anterior-cruciate ligament injury will help.

“She was a big part of our pressure last year,” Marchand said of Hipes. “She was good at creating problems for other teams.”

The starting line-up could be altered from game-to-game depending on who is playing well. The roster is pretty equal across the board.

Ruder, mainly a defensive specialist as a junior, will be counted on for additional things this year, like making shots.

Paige Marchini is a senior guard who can be a sharpshooter at times from the arc, where she hit at a 40-percent clip last season.

Taylor Kuykendall, a senior forward, is a player all programs like to possess. She scraps, goes after rebounds and dives to the floor for loose balls.

Marchand said a lot is possible out of the juniors.

Guard Brooke Bambrick appeared in 25 varsity games as a sophomore.

Katie Megyesi, a guard, hopes to provide consistent scoring after sinking 46 percent of her limited opportunities from the field in ’09-10.

Forward Emily Heuermann, one of three Washington players taller than 5-foot-7, is another girl from which a lot is expected.

With the Lady Panthers being small again, the arrival of junior post Lauren Dwyer from the girls swimming team will be a lift.

Junior forward Kati McDermott and guard Chloe Benson, the lone sophomore, also are part of the roster.

Three Washington players awarded conference honors graduated.

Lexi Grayer was a two-time first-team all-M-I pick, while Lindsey Boyer and Moriah Peterson were named to the league’s second team.

Grayer averaged 15.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game and added 81 steals, all team-high totals.

Boyer led the Lady Panthers with 4.1 assists per game, while Peterson chipped in 71 steals and 74 percent free-throw accuracy. Boyer and Peterson combined for 18.9 ppg.

Morton and Limestone are the two teams Marchand identified as Mid-Illini favorites.

The Potters return nearly everyone from a team that made it to a Class 3A sectional final. The Rockets lost Felicia Johnson, who transferred to Manual, but Natecia Augusta is back for a fourth year.

Metamora and Canton, who also were first-division conference finishers, joined Washington in being decimated by graduation.

The Lady Panthers began the year Tuesday at the Pontiac Thanksgiving Tournament with a 43-37 victory over LaSalle-Peru. Play continues Thursday through Saturday.

Perennial power Richwoods replaced woefully-overmatched Kankakee this year, strengthening the field.

Washington’s third tournament game is against Chicago Morgan Park. Marchand said the Lady Mustangs last season were “one of the best teams we faced all year.”

Galesburg (Dec. 21) is on the non-conference schedule in ’10-11, replacing Central.

Another change was Wendy Rogers joining the coaching staff, taking the place of assistant Danielle VanMeenen.
Marchand said Rogers is very knowledgeable and helpful.