Karlee Doege and Delaney Wilhelm will get a couple of more chances to be teammates on the basketball court.
After years of playing basketball, volleyball and softball together, they will head in their separate directions next year, with Doege going to Highland to play softball and Wilhelm playing basketball at Edgewood. But before that, they will be teammates on the basketball court again on Saturday when they play in the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association All-Star game in Pontiac.
Wilhelm was very excited to be picked to play in the game.
“I was really happy, and then for my teammate to get selected for it too, just made it all that much better,” she said.
Doege is hoping the game will bring back some good memories, as she takes the basketball court for the first time since the Clippers’ regional loss to Annawan.
“I was really excited that I get to play with [Wilhelm] again,” Doege said. “I think it’s going to be fun. After the loss to Annawan, it was kind of upsetting because you could never play with each other again. Now, we get to play with each other and with different girls that we don’t know. It’s going to be awesome.
“Also, when we play at the Sauk Valley All-Star Classic, it’s going to be fun because we’re going to have [Amboy teammates] Emma [Lindenmeyer] and Katelynn [Pankhurst] playing with us.”
Getting used to a team full of new teammates will be something they have not had to do much. Wilhelm and Doege have been teammates in various sports since they were growing up, starting with softball when they were 8 years old and taking that friendship to the basketball court in fifth grade. They were part of a group of eight seniors on the Amboy roster last season.
But now, they have an entire roster full of new teammates to get used to for the night.
“I think we’ll be good,” Doege said. “We’ll get along, hopefully.”
Wilhelm will be reunited with another former teammate.
Byron’s Lexi DeVries, on her way to the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, played with Wilhelm last summer with the Rockford Wildcats.
“I’m excited to see how she does and how it will be to play with her again down there,” Wilhelm said.
For the two former Clippers, some former opponents will now be on their side. Amboy opened this past season against former Three Rivers Conference rival Hall, featuring Hunter Galassi, one of the other members of the North team.
“She’s always a very good competitor,” Wilhelm said. “It will be nice to play with her rather than against her.”
“It’s going to be a little weird because we’re used to facing them because they’re the opponent, but now we’re going to be playing with them,” she said. “We’ve just got to be friends, I guess.”
Doege is not as familiar with the rest of the roster, players like Danielle Starks from West Central and the Athens duo of Micah Tapscott and Madi Epperson.
Coaching the team is Julie Schroeder – from another of Amboy’s former conference rivals, Erie.
She had to game-plan for Wilhelm and Doege for conference battles in the past, as well as a December 5 nonconference game this past season where the Clippers beat the Cardinals in Amboy.
“Delaney is one of the best athletes, basketball players we’ve played against because she just had such a sense for the game,” Schroeder said. “It’s going to be fun to let them play. And with Karlee, we game-planned to not let her shoot, and she had four 3s against us. She’ll be a lot of fun to watch.”
Schroeder was contacted by Amboy coach Mike McCracken to see if she would be interested in coaching in the game, and she jumped at the opportunity.
“I’m super-excited, because they’re good kids and great players,” Schroeder said. “I think that will be fun just to coach players with that athleticism.”
For both, the IBCA game and the upcoming Sauk Valley All-Star Classic will mean a return to basketball for Wilhelm and Doege after a couple of months of playing softball.
“It’s different, but we’ve been in the gym a lot the past few weeks, and even during the softball season,” Wilhelm said. “It is difficult going from a softball mentality to basketball mentality, because they are very different games, but it’s interesting to see the transition between the two.”
“For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been going to basketball open gyms and I’ve been working out at the high school,” Doege said. “It was kind of rough for a week or two, but I got over that.”
They make the return to the basketball court at noon on Saturday at Pontiac Township High School, representing the best 1A and 2A players in the northern part of the state against the top players from the south.
“It’d be nice to go out with a win, but I’m just hoping to have some fun and get some playing time with girls that are moving on with their basketball careers,” Doege said.