In a couple of months, Aleetra Roberts, Sarah Matson and Autumn Smith will join forces on Team Telegraph for the SVM All-Star Classic.
It's bound to be surreal, the Polo, AFC and Amboy seniors – respectively – putting aside their differences and teaming up against Rock Falls senior Morgan Mammosser's Gazette team.
Then the four hoopsters, along with 2012 Sterling High School graduate Aleena Hammelman, will all wear the same colors. They've all committed to play basketball at Sauk Valley Community College for Jed Johnson.
"I would've never thought I'd be playing with my competition," said Smith, a 6-foot-3 post. "You grow up not liking the competition. This is gonna be fun, I feel."
The aforementioned trio have bumped into each other several times on the hardwood in their prep careers. Smith can't wait to benefit from the 5-7 Roberts' tenacious defense and the 5-9 Matson's sharpshooting. Matson, in turn, is excited to dump the ball inside to Smith, rather than contend with her.
"She's a very good post player," Matson said. "That helps a lot with rebounds and someone to dump the ball into when you can't do anything yourself."
Sauk won over Smith, who was also thinking about attending Rock Valley C.C. Roberts was eying schools in the Chicago area and actually considering giving up hoops.
"I figured, 'You know? I really do love basketball,' " Roberts said. "It just seems like such a great opportunity."
While all three athletes have seen plenty of each other both on film and in person, Matson first met Mammosser at a recent shootaround.
"I saw her in the paper for all-conference teams and all-area," Matson said, "but that's about it."
It was about a week ago that the fiery Mammosser decided to attend Sauk. She, Matson and Roberts will all be Sauk scholars, their tuition gratis as a reward for finishing in the top 10 percent of their respective class.
Mammosser was considering playing volleyball at Illinois State University, but simply couldn't turn down the chance to play both sports in college. Not to mention her dad, Jay Mammosser, resigned as Rock Falls' football coach to see his daughter play more often.
You'd better believe that was part of the Rock Falls alumnus Johnson's pitch.
"He'd always come to me after basketball games and say, 'You know you wanna come to Sauk,' " Mammosser said. "And Jordan Chappell was always on me too, saying, 'Come to Sauk. You can be with me, and we can go places.' "
"I love the way she plays," Johnson said. "I expect her to be a good leader for us. We're blessed to have her."
Mammosser gets giddy when she thinks about playing with Hammelman, the 2012 SVM girls basketball player of the year.
And vice versa.
"She was so excited," Mammosser said. "She's a great athlete, and I was so excited to hear she's coming back."
"Aleena's a really hard worker, and every time she steps on the floor, she leaves it all out there," Johnson said. "It should be exciting to see her and Morgan out there, and I shouldn't have to be screaming about effort with them."
Senior year per-game averages
Aleena Hammelman, Sterling ('11-12) – 13.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists; 2.7 steals
Morgan Mammosser, Rock Falls – 11.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 3.1 steals
Sarah Matson, AFC – 14.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.2 steals
Aleetra Robers, Polo – 14.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.7 steals
Autumn Smith, Amboy – 8.0 rebounds, 2.4 blocks, 1.0 steals