Now that the dust has settled after the holiday tournaments, there is a clearer understanding of how the Aurora and Elgin girls basketball teams stack up.
It’s also a time to discuss the emerging stars and veterans who have solidified their standing as the top players in the area.
In no particular order, here are the storylines to watch at the midway point of the season:
Geneva made a huge statement, avenging an earlier loss by taking out Fremd 50-42 to win the Morton College Christmas Tournament. Behind tournament MVP Cassidy Arni and all-tournament selection Leah Palmer, the Vikings carry a seven-game win streak into the second half of the season. They have emerged as a serious contender in Class 4A.
No rookie in the area has had a bigger impact than Waubonsie Valley’s Danyella Mporokoso. The freshman guard is averaging 18 points so far in her varsity debut. Flanked by returning standout Taylor Curry and Metea Valley transfer Khaliah Reid, who both average a shade under 16 points a game, the Warriors are off to a 13-2 start and just earned third place at the Wheaton North Falcon Classic.
It has been a strong first half of the regular season for Aurora Central Catholic. The Chargers went 3-1 at the Dixon Tournament, improving their record to a robust 14-4. Sophomore guard Sofia Corral also has been stuffing the stat sheet as of late. She went into the break with a pair of triple-doubles, averaging 11 points, 10.5 assists and 10.5 rebounds in those two back-to-back games.
Brooke Carlson became Batavia’s team leader when Tessa Towers graduated after last season and went to Wisconsin. Carlson has emerged as one of the top junior guards in the area. She’s averaging 18.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 3.6 steals for the Bulldogs, who are a rock-solid 10-6.
East Aurora started turning heads in the first half, putting together a 14-game winning streak. The Tomcats, led by Joliet St. Francis recruit Mia Moore, have emerged as a favorite to win their first Upstate Eight Conference title in years. East Aurora saw its winning streak end last week in the Lisle Tournament semifinals, but the future looks bright.
In December, Yorkville became one of the hottest teams in the area, winning nine straight games before losing to the host Titans in the championship game of the Rockford Boylan Holiday Tournament. The Foxes (11-6) were led by all-tournament selections Brooke Spychalski and Alex Stewart.
St. Charles North won five of its last six games heading into the break, taking fifth place at the Komaromy Classic at Dundee-Crown. Alyssa Hughes, who scored 24 points in a 58-36 win over Hampshire in the tourney finale, was named to the all-tournament team along with Reagan Sipla.
A handful of area players crossed over the threshold of 1,000 career points during the first half of the season. St. Charles North’s Hughes did it first. She was followed by West Aurora’s Aspen Weeks, then Batavia’s Carlson — who is only a junior — and Geneva’s Arni, who accomplished the feat as the Vikings won the holiday tournament at Morton College.
Burlington Central went up against a bunch of Class 4A competition in the Komaromy Classic, bouncing back from a first-round loss to Neuqua Valley by winning three straight and taking home the consolation title. Page Erickson and Samantha Origel are coming into their own for the Rockets.
Paul Johnson is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News.