2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 11/21/2013 9:26 AM

Girls basketball: Scouting Warren

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  • Warren guard Sammi Jo Nixon passes the ball around Palatine forward Erin Mayer last season. Nixon is one of the Blue Devils' top returning players.

      Warren guard Sammi Jo Nixon passes the ball around Palatine forward Erin Mayer last season. Nixon is one of the Blue Devils' top returning players.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer



Coach: John Stanczykiewicz (15th season)

Last season: 15-13, 7-5 in NSC Lake, lost to Hersey in Class 4A Mundelein regional semifinals

Key losses: F Alyssa Phillips

Returning players: So. G Kylie Nedelka, Sr. G Hailey Leinart, Sr. F Atiana Bey-Wrey, Sr. G Sarah Nelson, Sr. G Kristen O'Brien, Sr. F Danielle Cassidy, Jr. G Sammi Jo Nixon, Sr. F Kristin Jacobs

Newcomers: Fr. G Rebekah Foley, Jr. F Jessica Turner, Jr. F Paige Prokof, Jr. F Breanna Booth, Jr. F Keely Knobbe

Outlook: There's Breanna Booth (5-8 junior newcomer), but there's no Sarah Boothe. There's no Alyssa Phillips. In short, so to speak, there's no height on the Blue Devils roster. That's shocking. "The thing we don't have for the first in maybe as long as I've coached here is no true big girl," said coach John Stanczykiewicz, who graduated the 6-foot Phillips, who averaged 11 points and 8 rebounds in an all-area campaign last season. "Our tallest player is 5-11, 6 foot. And that's probably stretching. We don't have that anchor inside. It's new for me. And kind of scary." The Blue Devils do have senior guard Kristen O'Brien, who could be in line for a breakout season. O'Brien, who was a late-season call-up as a freshman, opened the season by scoring 16 points in the Blue Devils' 40-32 loss to Loyola on Tuesday. Stanczykiewicz promoted freshman Rebekah Foley, a 5-10 point guard. She's tall, but thin. "You can probably put your hands around her waist," Stanczykiewicz joked. "She's a nice player. She's learning the game. She's a nice kid. She's got good tools. She's a good ballhandler, a smart basketball player and has a good shot. What she'll need to do is adjust to the speed and strength of the varsity game and learn how to play with her body size." Last year, it was another talented freshman, Kylie Nedelka, who Stanczykiewicz brought up to the varsity at the beginning of the season. Nedelka, however, is expected to miss the first few weeks of the season with a leg injury. Another guard, junior Sammi Jo Nixon, also contributed on the varsity last winter, while senior guard Hailey Leinart missed the first half of last season recovering from an ACL. "The strength of our team is definitely on the perimeter," Stanczykiewicz said. Junior Keely Knobbe (5-9) went downstate last May in the discus. "The girl bench-presses 175 pounds and squats 370," Stanczykiewicz said. "She is really strong." Kristin Jacobs, who's listed at 6 feet, grabbed 10 rebounds against Loyola on Tuesday. Junior Paige Prokof is 5-10. "With our conference being a tough, physical conference, we really need to get some of these other players to play bigger than they are," Stanczykiewicz said. "They're good kids. They're very coachable, they really want to do the right thing, they seem to get along and like each other. And if we learn from some of these tough games early in the season, we can be a really competitive team by the end of the year."

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