Posted Online: Jan. 02, 2013, 7:36 pm

WB6 girls ready to start the new year

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By Dan Tomlin, dtomlin@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Paul Colletti
United Township's Jamie VanWatermeulen faces the defense put up by Rock Island junior Carlee Hoover in Rock Island on Thursday, November 29, 2012.
While the calendar has changed, the storyline in the chase for the Western Big 6 girls' basketball crown has not.

Rock Island showed off its new system at the State Farm Classic and came up a bit short in its bid to take third and unseat state-ranked Springfield, but the Rocks did pick up a big win over Morton.

Alleman won the consolation championship at State Farm Classic in Normal, and that might have just been the pick-me-up the Pioneers needed after starting the WB6 season in the league's basement.

Quincy may have been the biggest mover over the holiday season, advancing to the championship game of the State Farm Holiday Hoops Invitational in Jefferson City, Mo. It appears at 9-6 as though the Blue Devils have righted the ship and may be on the way to a winning record.

Galesburg lost in the title tilt at the Charleston Holiday Tournament, while United Township was tripped up by Oregon at the Dixon Holiday Tournament, where they went 2-2.

Today marks the halfway point in Big 6 play. The Rocks are a game up on UT and two ahead of Galesburg and Moline, while Quincy and Alleman will be playing the role of spoiler.

Quincy (9-6, 1-3 WB6) at Rock Island (16-2, 4-0 WB6):Speaking of the spoilers, the Blue Devils come in with a lot of confidence after getting to the championship game in Jefferson City, while the Rocks lost back-to-back games after starting the season 16-0... In its losses, Rocky didn't shoot the 3-pointer very well, and when it wasn't going down, the offense stopped. If the Rocks can continue to push to the basket and keep firing up 3s, good things will come... The Blue Devils got their first WB6 win in 29 tries a couple weeks ago against Alleman, and have a formidable pair of stars in Arai'ya Dade and Jordan Fletcher. Measha Ferguson-Smith was named to the tournament's All-Academic team as well... Rocky's star, Shavonne Brewer, needs to keep shining brightly for the red and gold to keep winning. A 5-0 start to the Big 6 season would send quite the message...

Moline (7-13, 2-2 WB6) at United Township (9-7, 3-1 WB6): The infusion of freshman Lexie Gerard when the Maroons were at Manual seemed to pick things up for Moline, which has struggled to find wins in a very difficult schedule. Gerard's 8 points per game, coupled with sister Morgan's 10 ppg. give Moline more balanced scoring. ... The Panthers are going to try and make it difficult for them with the VanWatermuelen sisters, Jamie and Jen, and Katie Daggett hounding the Gerard sisters. ... UTHS didn't have a great holiday tournament but it is the reigning Big 6 co-champ and doesn't want Rocky to get all of the headlines this year. It's a home game for the Panthers and they don't want to lose pace with the Rocks...

Alleman (9-7, 0-4 WB6) at Galesburg (7-4, 2-2 WB6):It's always a chess game when two of the top coaches in Illinois girls' basketball -- Alleman's Jay Hatch and Galesburg's Evan Massey -- get together, and tonight will be no different. The Pioneers grew a great deal during their games at State Farm -- from a team that couldn't hold on to a lead to a team that had to make multiple comebacks to get the win, Alleman is shaping up to be a solid team toward the end of the season... The same can be said about the Streaks, who continue to get consistent scoring from Jessica Lieber and Sharron Diggins, both averaging more the 10 points a game... Look for Alleman's Anna Wetherell to have a big game tonight as her quick hands could spell a lot of steals for the girls in green. ... Whether or not the Pioneers will be able to score enough to get the win is the bigger question.

Upcoming:This weekend is the Dearrel Bates Memorial Mississippi River Shootout pitting Illinois teams against Iowa teams. Check out tomorrow's edition of The Dispatch and Rock Island Argus for a preview. ... There will be a new state poll released Tuesday, and the Galesburg MLK Tournament revs up a week from Saturday as well.



Six WB6 Holiday All-Tournament Honors

Shavonne Brewer, Rock Island, State Farm Holiday Classic
Jessica Lieber, Galesburg, Charleston Holiday Tournament
Sharron Diggins, Galesburg, Chaleston Holiday Tournament
Arai'ya Dade, Quincy, State Farm Holiday Hoops Invitational (MO)
Jordan Fletcher, Quincy, State Farm Holiday Hoops Invitational (MO)
Angel Bradford, Quincy, State Farm Holiday Hoops Invitational (MO)