If you are a casual fan looking for a team to follow this winter, you might want to jump on the St. Charles East girls basketball bandwagon.
Experienced point guard to run an uptempo attack? Check.
Dynamic scorer who can hit 3-pointers from outside or drive to the hoop and draw fouls with equal ability? The Saints have that too.
Athleticism on the inside that can block shots, force turnovers and hold their own on the boards? Yes, yes and yes.
With Amanda Hilton, Paige Jordan and Kyra Washington, respectively, returning, Lori Drumtra's squad has the pieces in place to improve from last year's 15-15 and 8-6 conference records.
"Our goals are to improve on our overall record and to compete for the Upstate Eight River Division title," Drumtra said. "We are a senior-laden team which gives us a lot of experience and leadership. I also hope that that translates into more consistency as well."
While the Saints aren't blessed with a lot of height, Drumtra knows there are other ways to win games.
"We aren't real big but we have several good shooters and speed so I think we can put a lot of pressure on other teams offensively and defensively," Drumtra said. "I think we will be a fun team to watch -- very up-tempo, high energy."
Hilton, a three-year starter at point guard who averaged 10 points a game last year, and Jordan, who led the area in scoring last year at 14.5 points a game (and also had 56 3-pointers and averaged 1.4 steals a game) have been the glue for team the past two years.
Washington is only a sophomore but started as a freshman and led the team in rebounding.
"I expect Paige to continue to be one of the top shooters in the conference," Drumtra said. "I know teams are going to key on her and I know she will use that to set up her teammates. I expect Amanda to increase her scoring and to penetrate the lane more frequently.
"Kyra is a tallest person on the team. Kyra has a lot of tools -- she is a threat inside as well as from the 3-point arc. I expect that she will be a more dominant player both offensively and defensively."
Drumtra needs seniors Carly Pottle, Laney Deckrow, Anna Bartels and Katie Kolker to make an impact.
"Carly is another 3-point threat for us," Drumtra said. "Carly runs the floor very well and puts a lot of pressure on defenses. Laney, it is amazing how many rebounds she gets as small as she is. Also a very strong defensive player.
"Anna also plays inside for us and is strong on the boards. Katie is a very smart player, has a nice midrange shot, and is solid on defense."
Sophomore Katie Claussner will provide depth at point guard.
A trio of juniors -- Hannah Nowling, MacKenzie Meadows and Keyana Williams -- will try to work their way into the rotation.
"(Katie) handles the ball extremely well and is also a threat at the 3-point line," Drumtra said.
"Hannah is a rebounding machine for us. Not real big but very tough inside. MacKenzie is very fast and is going to help us defensively. Keyana gives us some height and strength inside. She is a strong rebounder."
Coach: Lori Drumtra
Last year: 15-15
Key players: Amanda Hilton (jr., G); Paige Jordan (sr., G); Kyra Washington (so., F)
Skinny: Uptempo Saints promise to be one of area's more fun teams to watch