By THE HERALD-WHIG STAFF
Each week, The Herald-Whig sports staff will debate a pertinent topic. Here is this week's question:
"Which storyline on the spring prep sports scene is the most intriguing?"
Matt Schuckman, Sports Editor
The Quincy Notre Dame girls basketball team three-peated as state champions, so why can't the QND girls soccer team repeat as the Class 1A state champion?
With as much firepower and experience as the Lady Raiders return this spring, there is no reason they can't.
Getting quality play from the keeper position and revamping parts of the defense will dictate just how far QND makes it in the state tournament series, but the pieces are in place to continue a dynasty of its own.
The Lady Raiders have won two of the last three state championships, went 28-0 last season and are the favorites again.
They handle that role well.
Blake Toppmeyer, Sports Writer
The West Hancock softball team proved it was a team worth watching last season, when the Titans went 21-8 and lost 4-1 to Quincy Notre Dame in a Class 2A regional championship.
QND is in 3A this season, and with the Titans returning five all-area players, there's no reason to believe they can't achieve a 25-plus win season and a deep postseason run.
Among West Hancock's returners are junior pitchers Shelby Koehler and Allison Dewald. They're not major strikeout artists, but they keep their team in the game. And West Hancock has one of the best offenses in the area.
Koehler leads the hitting attack, but she has plenty of support, including junior Haleigh Hammel, who rivals QND's Kassidy Gengenbacher as the Illinois area's best all-around shortstop.
Josh Rizzo, Sports Writer
The Canton baseball team will seek to get over the hump and make its first state appearance since 1988.
During the last two seasons the Tigers have run into buzzsaws in the postseason. Canton had its last two seasons ended by La Plata and Santa Fe, which both went on two win the Class 1 state title.
With the Canton moving up to Class 2 as Missouri expands to five classes, it will interesting to see how the Tigers handle the move.
The Tigers already have shown the ability to have success in the postseason. They made the quartefinals in boys soccer and basketball, and many of the same kids also play baseball.
Austin Hoewing, Tyler Niemann and Brandon Berhorst will all be counted on to contribute.