2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 12/6/2017 6:33 PM

Batavia’s Golden, Rosary’s McCue coming up big

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  • After Bartlett's Kayla Hare and Katie Sowa from Cary-Grove reached 1,000 career points last month, Geneva's Stephanie Hart is one of the local players who has a shot at the milestone later this season.

      After Bartlett's Kayla Hare and Katie Sowa from Cary-Grove reached 1,000 career points last month, Geneva's Stephanie Hart is one of the local players who has a shot at the milestone later this season.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer


Rosary's Riley McCue is listed at 5-feet-8. Batavia guard Erin Golden stands 5-7.

They both look up to many players on the basketball court, especially when they get into the lane.

Giving up several inches hasn't stopped either of them from being a terror on the glass. Golden pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds last week in a win over St. Charles North, and two nights later McCue led the Royals with 11 boards to rally her team past Aurora Christian in overtime.

"Riley is our best rebounder," Rosary coach Phil VanBogaert said. "She's not real tall but she's doing a great job."

Batavia coach Kevin Jensen is equally impressed with Golden, just a sophomore.

Golden has a nose for the ball and making the right play, not just knowing where to be for a rebound but passing to an open teammate or deflecting a ball on defense. On any given night, she could lead Batavia in points, assists, steals or rebounds. 

"Erin is a big-time playmaker for us," Jensen said. "She's off to a really nice start to her season. She's not incredibly tall, but her length, her reach, she's one of our best offensive rebounders. It's hard to find her. She comes in there and swoops in there and gets her hands on the ball. It's amazing. She's got an outstanding basketball instinct."

Close connection: First-year St. Charles East coach Aubree Schuett experienced her first cross-town game against St. Charles North last Friday, a contest with many mixed emotions in part because of her counterpart at North, Mike Tomczak.

"These are my colleagues so it's difficult at times to be angry," Schuett said of the 43-36 loss. "I give Mike all the credit in the world. Mike is a very dear friend of mine, I hired him. They did a great job and did what they needed to do to win. And we didn't."

Tomczak, who teaches special education at St. Charles East, got his first taste of the rivalry the previous year. After two losses last season, he certainly was glad to come out on the winning side.

The North Stars did that by overcoming a 6-point deficit to start the fourth quarter, forcing 9 turnovers in that final 8 minutes to completely take the Saints out of their offense.

"I'm not going to sit here and say it's just another game because it's not," Tomczak said. "The bench was alive, the crowd was alive, and the amount of ball pressure we were able to put on really did turn things."

The North Stars waited until late in the third quarter to come out of their zone.

"Playing with that level of intensity, the end of the third, beginning of the fourth, you can't sustain that for a full basketball game," Tomczak said. "We would have been gassed by halftime."

Tomczak said he'll always have mixed emotions coaching in the Saints/North Stars games because of teaching at St. Charles East.

"I love it at East," Tomczak said. "Two games a year are hard because I really do want East to win every game, except two. I've gotten close with so many of the basketball players and coaches (at East) it makes the games bittersweet. But coaching at North has been great too, so I can't complain. I consider myself a pretty lucky guy to get to be part of both."

1,000-point club: The calendar didn't even hit December before two area players reached 1,000 career points.

Bartlett senior Kayla Hare got there first. The Missouri-St. Louis recruit did it in a 77-55 win over Rockford Auburn at Naperville Central's season-opening Tipoff Tournament.

The senior guard also broke the school record for career 3-pointers at the tourney, now with 144. Hare averaged 20.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 5 steals at the tournament including games of 22, 34 and 28 points.

Cary-Grove senior Katie Sowa joined the club last week when she scored 24 points against Crystal Lake Central. She became the ninth Trojan in girls basketball history to reach 1,000.

"Katie joins an elite group," said Cary-Grove coach Rod Saffert. "She has gotten better every year and has improved in some area every year. She is really tough to defend because she can use her left hand so well. Her post moves are so good. She can score inside or outside. We have a lot of season left. She has a chance to score a lot more points."

Who's next? Stephanie Hart, who hit the last second-shot to give Geneva last year's Class 4A state championship, has 710 points and needs to average 13.8 points over the Vikings' final 21 regular season games -- or 10.4 points a game if the Vikings make another trip to the state tournament.

St. Charles North senior Anna Davern, who played very little as a freshman or sophomore, can reach 1,000 by averaging 15 points a game -- or quicker with more games like her 32 points last month against Proviso West.

Aurora Christian's Tori Henning should reach 1,000 "sometime in January," according to coach Burney Wilkie. Kaneland sharpshooter Jenni Weber will get there even sooner, said Knights coach Ernie Colombe.

And don't count out Burlington Central sophomore Kathryn Schmidt, who scored 488 points her freshman season and now stands at 612 points. She's averaged just over 20 ppg in the Rockets' first six games and would need to score at roughly a 17.6 clip the remainder of the season to become a rare sophomore to reach 1,000 in her second varsity season.

Tip-ins: Rosary coach Phil VanBogaert on his daughter Maura VanBogaert, an outstanding softball player, also playing for his basketball team. "She is a softball player but she patronizes her dad by coming out for basketball," the coach joked.

Burlington Central coach Mark Smith on the impact freshman Elana Wells point guard has for the undefeated Rockets: "She knows how to get into people and use her body to draw fouls and is crafty. She's got quick hands."

Aurora Christian coach Burney Wilkie on Friday's matchup against defending Northeastern Athletic Conference champion Harvest Christian: "That is a big one for us. It will definitely be a test for us but we're looking forward to it."

After watching his team make 8 of 26 free throws in a 1-point loss to Prairie Ridge, Hampshire coach Mike Featherly was searching for ways to improve. "We have tried different techniques at practice, run before we shoot. At the end of the day it's a free throw, you have to knock it down."

John Radtke contributed to this report.

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