The St. Joseph-Ogden High School girls’ basketball team has lofty expectations each winter.
This winter is no different for the Spartans, who are fresh off a Sweet 16 appearance in Class 2A last season under first-year coach Drew Arteaga.
Arteaga is back for his second season in charge of the Spartans, and SJO opens its season at 7:30 p.m. Monday against Tri-County. It is the second game of the evening at the second Toyota of Danville Turkey Tournament hosted by SJO.
Centennial and Mahomet-Seymour open the tournament at 6 p.m. Monday. Once Monday’s games conclude, action resumes on Tuesday night and concludes Thursday.
The Spartans host Centennial at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday before ending the tournament at 7:30 p.m. Thursday against Mahomet-Seymour. Tri-County plays Mahomet-Seymour at 6 p.m. Tuesday and Tri-County meets Centennial at 6 p.m. Thursday.
The Spartans graduated seven seniors off last season’s team that went 24-8, won a regional championship and made it to a sectional title game.
This year’s roster features four seniors in guards Olivia Baltzell, Kaytylyn Baker, Taylor Hug and Peyton Jones. Juniors on the roster include guards Addison Frick and Addison Seggebruch and forwards Addy Martinie and Ellie Ward. Guard Samantha Uden and forward Sara Kearney comprise the two sophomores on the varsity roster, while a trio of freshmen in guard Katie Ericksen and forwards Addison Brooks and Kayla Osterbur will also gain valuable experience this season.
After the Toyota of Danville Turkey Tournament ends on Thursday night, SJO isn’t home again until December. Two nonconferece road games — Nov. 22 at Paris and Nov. 28 at Tuscola — end November for the Spartans before they return home to host Danville on Dec. 1 and Maroa-Forsyth on Dec. 5.
The other nonconference games for SJO on the schedule include road dates at Teutopolis (Dec. 8), at Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin (Dec. 15), at Pleasant Plains (Dec. 17) and at Oakwood (Dec. 22). Other home nonconference games include visits from Peoria Richwoods (Dec. 12), Cissna Park (Dec. 19), Mattoon (Jan. 23) and Peotone (Feb. 8). The Spartans are set to play in the State Farm Holiday Classic from Dec. 27-30 in Bloomington-Normal and will take part in the Illini Prairie Conference/Sangamon Conference Challenge on Jan. 28 in Monticello.
Illini Prairie play begins Jan. 5 at home against Pontiac, with other league home games against Chillicothe IVC (Jan. 12), St. Thomas More (Jan. 16) and Rantoul (Jan. 30). Road Illini Prairie games are against Prairie Central (Jan. 9), Monticello (Jan. 19), Bloomington Central Catholic (Jan. 27), Unity (Feb. 2) and Paxton-Buckley-Loda (Feb. 6).