Everyone knows the Rock Island girls' basketball team has two all-state caliber stars. What showed up Thursday night was the fact there is plenty more to go around the duo of Brea Beal and Chrislyn Carr.
In a 68-27 win that clinched Rock Island's seventh consecutive Western Big 6 Conference crown, the depth of the Rocks (20-7, 9-0 Big 6) came to the forefront on a night when five varsity players were left at home with the flu and only eight girls played.
"When they told me they have five girls home sick, I said that's great," Alleman coach Megan McCracken joked after her team finished the regular season 9-18, 0-10. "Then they said all five starters were here. They really do have a well-balanced team. When you get to practice and play with Beal and Carr every day, it makes the rest of the team better."
Sophomore Hannah Simmer scored a career-high nine points and added six steals and five rebounds; senior Jameshia Walls scored a season-best six points and grabbed six rebounds; and sophomore Anne Awour had four points, eight rebounds and a couple of blocks.
"More than anything, we have been going through a crazy time," RI coach Thad Hoover said. "We have the flu stuff, then we had (Carr) have her uncle pass away (Thursday) morning. It's a tribute to the eight kids we used for how hard they played.
"A lot of times fans don't know what is going on behind the scenes, and this was a tough day. The downside of this season is all the tough games in the middle part kept some of our kids from playing a lot and having freedom to get some shots. This was a chance for them to show what they can do."
Walls is a veteran player who brings the idea of team basketball to the table.
"I always stay positive because I know it is not about me, it is about the team," Walls said. "When we found out everyone was sick, those of us who played just knew we had to play more minutes and play harder."
The "others" did have a big night, but Beal and Carr were still big factors. Beal finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks. Carr had 18 points and three steals.
Still, on this night Hoover wanted to talk more about those depth players.
"Hannah has just continued to get better and better," he said. "We knew in the summer that she was going to help the varsity this season. She works so hard. Anne started the season real active, then she hurt her ankle and became real passive. What I saw here, if she plays that way, she is really going to help us the rest of the way.
"All of our girls can play and do a lot of things. When you have Brea, Chrislyn and Lauren (Hall) on the court so much, their chances are limited. Jameshia has a great attitude, and that doesn't change whether she is playing or sitting. She cares about the team and is a great representative of Rock Island."