BETHALTO – Illinois Central College's women's basketball program, based out of the school in East Peoria, has been one of the more successful programs in the nation on the junior-college level.

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The Cougars, in fact, finished the 2015-16 season with a 32-5 record and reached the NJCAA Division II national championship game, where they fell to Kansas City Kansas college at the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, Kan.

Since the NJCAA established the women's Division II level for the 1991-92 season, the Cougars have reached the final eight times, winning five titles; their last championship came in 2006.

Civic Memorial's Kalyn Troxell now has an opportunity to add to the Cougars' legacy, signing a letter of intent in a Monday afternoon ceremony at the school to enroll at Illinois Central this fall to play basketball. Troxell averaged 3.8 points per game for the Eagles this season as they reached their fourth straight IHSA Class 3A sectional final before falling to Highland; Troxell, a 6-3 forward, also had 3.3 rebounds a game this season.

“I'm really excited to play there,” Troxell said. “It's pretty awesome.”

Troxell will be playing for Cougar coach Karrie Redeker, who will be going into her fourth season as ICC's coach. “The coach (Redeker) is super-awesome,” Troxell said, “and their team is legit. It's going to be my team for two years.

“I just want to become a better basketball player; I know I have more in me that I'm willing to give. After I go to Illinois Central, I want to go somewhere in Florida, so I know the school can get me there.”

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“We're super excited to have Kalyn in our program,” Redeker said. “She obviously adds a dimension with her 6-3 frame that we always look for and we think she runs the floor relatively well; she can alter some shots defensively as well. Those are things we're going to look for early and she's going to work to develop her skills.

“She'll be the first to tell you she's got a lot of work to do, but we like her potential.”

Troxell's experience playing with Allie Troeckler in the CM program is bound to pay dividends as well. “She's used to playing with kids who are fast,” Redeker said. “Allie had a great season this year; Kalyn will be playing with some players who will remind a lot of Allie. We know Kalyn's just going to come in and work and be ready to roll.”

That Troxell was able to sign with a successful program like Illinois Central is proof positive of the value of working hard at the high school level, Eagle coach Jonathan Denney said. “It shows the hard work the girls put in for four years and even before that,” Denney said, “in order to earn a scholarship to play basketball.”

Another CM senior, Journey Coffman, will be playing basketball at Missouri Baptist next season, while a third senior, Katelyn Turbyfill, opted to play softball in college; that Denney's three seniors on this year's team will be going on to play in college, though, is a testament to what the Eagle program hopes to achieve, Denney believes.

“It's kind of unique that we had three seniors,” Denney said, “but all three of them are going to be playing college sports, two of them are going to be playing college basketball. That's important to the program, and hopefully they do a great job of representing the program.”

Troxell is planning on majoring in sports marketing and management with a minor in mass communications; Troxell will miss the team-bonding trips she experienced in the Eagle program, yet she looks forward to the new challenges that await being a part of the ICC program.

“The trips we had over the summer and the team bond over the years is something I'm going to miss,” Troxell said. “But definitely I'm going to start this with the team I'm going to be on next year.”

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