Bumping cutters has been replaced by a bump in scoring averages.
That's a score in my (score) book.
Regardless of the stricter enforcement of hand-checking by IHSA basketball officials, you have to hand it to those players who have taken advantage at the offensive end. Points aren't free, after all. Not even free throws.
The girls game, in particular, has been long overdue for a boost in Lake County, and we've received it in the first month of the season in the form of offense. Several seniors have raised their game offensively from their junior year, and that doesn't always happen just because a kid is a year older.
Antioch senior guard Paige Gallimore, a third-year varsity player, scored an eye-popping 45 points against mighty Fenwick on Nov. 29. She's averaging 23.9 points for the vastly improved 9-3 Sequoits. Last season, she averaged 12.6 ppg.
And Gallimore isn't the only scorer who deserves a hand, so to speak.
• Sydney Smith (Vernon Hills, 22.3 ppg): The senior signed to play Division I basketball for Vermont, then scored a school record-tying 29 points in the Cougars' season opener against Maine East. Five games later, the 5-foot-10 forward dropped 35 points on Lakes. With the absence of Bowling Green-bound teammate Lauren Webb -- who made her season debut last Friday night, only to reinjure her foot -- Smith has provided the offensive boost and leadership on the floor the Cougars needed. The Cougars took an 8-2 record into Tuesday's game against Wauconda. Smith, a fourth-year varsity starter, averaged a shade under 13 ppg last season.
• Kendall Detweiler (Grayslake North, 19.8 ppg): The 5-5 guard heads into tonight's home game against Crystal Lake Central 18 points shy of 1,000 for her career. A varsity player since her freshman year, the senior has become more than just a 3-point threat. She's a tenacious defender and can score in a variety of ways, despite her lack of height. Against Mundelein earlier this season, she surpassed Lauren Erickson as the Knights' all-time leading scorer. She averaged 10.7 ppg last season.
• Morgan Dahlstrom (Grayslake Central, 19.4 ppg): When colleges kept inquiring about the 6-foot-1 senior during the off-season, Rams coach Steve Ikenn kept telling them that she keeps getting better. Guess so. Dahlstrom scored 77 points in the Rams' first three games, while maintaining her great ability to rebound the basketball at either end. The Southern Indiana recruit scored a career-best 29 points against Libertyville at Buffalo Grove on Nov. 23. She averaged 12.3 ppg last season.
• Kaylie Kanzler (Grant, 18.2 ppg): She has to be one of the most improved players in the area. Grant coaches have always known about her ability, as she made the varsity as a freshman. But she missed the first half of her sophomore campaign with an ACL injury and has never been a dominant scorer. Different story this season. The 5-9 guard had a stretch where she scored 24, 25 and 25 points in consecutive games. She poured in 22 points Monday in the Bulldogs' 64-46 win over Lakes.
• Kathleen Felicelli (Carmel Catholic, 15.6 ppg): The Daily Herald's Lake County female athlete of the year as a junior, she played most of last basketball season with a stress fracture. The three-sport athlete is healthy now, and it's obvious on the court. She had 20-point efforts in two of the Corsairs' first three games, then scored 21 against Mundelein on Nov. 23. Best yet for the guard, she and her teammates are winning (9-1 through Monday). She averaged 10 ppg last season.
• There have been other offensive performances to note, as well: Warren senior guard Kristen O'Brien dropped a career-high 26 points on Phillips, Stevenson junior guards Sophia Way and Taylor Buford scored 24 and 23 points against Wheaton Warrenville South and St. Charles East, respectively, Grayslake Central senior guard Carson Sparkman netted a career-high 22 points against Barrington, Grayslake North senior forward Brittney Thibeaux had 22 points vs. Highland Park, Carmel senior forward Cassidy Kloss collected 21 points against Grant, and just Monday night, Grayslake North junior guard Maggie Fish popped for a career-best 21 points in a double-overtime loss to Prairie Ridge.
'Tis the season -- of scoring.
• Follow Joe on Twitter: @JoeAguilar64
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