Heading into the season there were questions that each of the area’s three girls basketball teams needed to answer.
The Northeast girls basketball team was going to find out what the season would be like with a new head coach in Johnny Driscoll.
The Central DeWitt girls basketball team was going to see how it would respond to higher expectations and two new members in its starting lineup.
The Calamus-Wheatland girls basketball team brought back four of its five starters, but needed to find out where the offense was going to come from to replace its leading scorer.
Fortunately, all three squads found the answers they needed.
The Rebels surged under their new leadership, doubling their victories from the year before and embracing an aggressive playing style that led them to attempt nearly 400 (382) more shots and come up with 138 more steals than the year before.
After breaking out for 16 wins a season ago, the Sabers skillfully handled the extra attention that came with that success, bringing home 18 more victories this winter.
The Warriors did not quite make up all of the points they lost when Grace Elvert graduated — they averaged 44.3 points this year, 45.0 the year before — but they made up for it by locking up teams on the defensive end.
Cal-Wheat held its 24 foes to just 40.1 points per game, an eight-point improvement from the year before.
As a result, the Warriors had their most successful 5-on-5 season to date. Their 13 victories were a program record, their 13-11 mark overall was their first winning campaign since 2007-08 and the seven games they won against Tri-Rivers East foes were the team’s most conference victories since 2003-04.
Just as in any season, questions will loom again next year.
The Warriors graduate over half of this year’s scoring with the departure of do-everything starters Addison Luepker, Hannah Tack and Karragan Whitman.
Northeast might not be losing the scoring punch that Cal-Wheat is — it returns three of the four players who scored over 100 points this season — but it will need to fill holes inside (all-region pick Claire Abbott), outside (guard Bree Mangelsen) and everywhere in between (forward Jaden Smith) with the graduation of its three seniors.
Eight Central DeWitt players saw action in the Sabers’ 4A regional final with Center Point-Urbana, all but one of them is set to return.
The Sabers, though, will need to deal with the void left by seniors Lauren Cooper — who started that regional final — Carleigh Jefford, Kyleen Irwin, Kaity Frick and Samantha Zeimet.
And there is that little thing of an entirely new conference slate, as Central DeWitt makes its debut in the MAC.
There will be a lot to sort out next winter, but after what they accomplished this time around, you can bet all three girls basketball teams will be ready to provide some answers.