How excited are the folks at Glenbard South that the girls basketball team will play in March for the first time?
So excited that it was announced over the school PA system Tuesday. Not just once but between each and every class period.
The excitement was mounting even before the Raiders defeated Carmel 48-33 in Monday's Class 3A supersectional to book their trip to Normal's Redbird Arena for Friday's state semifinals.
"The thing about a school like Glenbard South is we are a small school," Raiders coach Morgan Kasperek said after Monday's game. "But this is a community. I mean, everybody from my department is here. It's amazing.
"I walked through the hallways today at school and everybody was like, Good luck, Coach. Kids I don't even know. So to see all these kids get excited about girls basketball and what we're doing, it's pretty special. And it's special for these (players)."
Kasperek also has some special players who have bought into and thrived in the system she and assistant coach Steve Gross installed.
"I can't say enough about my senior class," said Kasperek, who is 70-19 in her three seasons coaching the Raiders. "Not only are they great basketball players, they are outstanding people. And when you have that perfect combination, I mean, good things happen."
The Raiders are led by All-Area players Maggie Bair and Mady Carli and honorable mention pick Sarah Cohen, the team's defensive stopper and assist leader. Forward Ally Daca has stepped up her game during the playoffs, giving the Raiders another low-post option in addition to Bair, a junior who leads the team in scoring and rebounding and is committed to Drake University.
The Raiders' slow-paced, defensive-minded system already is proven. It helped Hinsdale Central win a state title in 2002, when Kasperek starred at center on a Gross-coached team.
Once they arrive at Redbird Arena in Normal, the Raiders will find downstate power Peoria Richwoods between them and a spot in the state championship game Saturday. The Knights aren't 33-1 for nothing.
Richwoods features captain Kourtney Crane averaging 15.4 points a game. Camryn Taylor averages 11.5 points, and Jaida McCloud scores 11.3 points a game. Both Taylor and McCloud are big-time rebounders also.
The Knights play a faster pace than the Raiders, averaging 60.5 points a game this season and reaching 81 points against Peoria Notre Dame. Only one team has come as close as 20 points to the Knights in the playoffs.
LaGrange-based Nazareth and downstate Breese Central will meet in the other Class 3A semifinal.