Freshmen Bergstrom, Ahram flourishing at St. Viator
Just a year ago while in eighth grade, Joy Bergstrom was wearing jersey No. 22 for the St. Emily girls basketball team in Mt. Prospect and Nora Ahram sported No. 1 for St. Hubert in Hoffman Estates.
Their numbers have not changed this winter.
Except now they are on similar jerseys -- those of St. Viator.
And the freshmen have helped lead the Lions to a 7-2 record, serving as two of the top scorers on the team.
"They're two explosive offensive players," said Lions coach Jason Raymond. "They're very dynamic. They can shoot the 3s and get to the rim. They are matchup problems all over the floor."
They've been matched up since fifth grade, whether it was at their private schools or AAU basketball.
Bergstrom's sister Julia played for Raymond and is now studying at DePaul.
"I always went to her games," Joy said. "I watched all the varsity players and it's always been a dream that I'd be able to do that."
It didn't take long for her to make her mark on the varsity. She scored 17 and 28 points in the Lions' first two games against Palatine and South Elgin.
Ahram tossed in 13 and 20 points in the second and third game (67-21 win over Jacobs).
"Everyone on the team has really helped us adjust to everything," said Ahram who scored a career-high 23 points in a 66-48 win over Marengo. "They don't treat us like freshmen. They've been very welcoming."
Marengo coach Nick Rode sure didn't think they played like freshman, either.
"You can see her ballhandling skills," he said of Ahram. "A lot of kids, when they are young, are not real good at changing speeds. But you can see when she had the ball she has a little change of speed to her game. She also has that midrange game, hitting some of the floaters and stuff like that usually doesn't come until later, too. So she has been putting in a lot of time, and looks good."
Just like Bergstrom, who had 25 points against Marengo.
"She was killing us in the first half," Rode said. "We tried to make adjustments in the second half but I don't know if it made a difference or not."
And Bergstrom said she's felt right at home since day one, too.
"The upperclassmen have been so welcoming, they haven't treated us like freshmen at all," she said. "They treat us like everyone else."
Raymond knew he was in for a treat before the freshmen arrived.
"I know the Bergstroms real well," he said. "I went to school with their mother, Lucy, and played a lot of basketball with their father, Lee, over the years. Of course, Julia played here so we have a long history with Joy. I saw Joy dribbling around since she was in fifth grade and same thing with Nora, who I've seen for a few years now. It's great to finally have them in the program now. They came through the feeder program here at Viator."
Tough loss: Barrington point guard Tori Meyer, an-all-area guard last winter for coach Babbi Barreiro, suffered a complete tear of her ACL along with a partial MCL tear in the Fillies' game against Buffalo Grove in the Bison Classic in November. She had surgery this week.
"Tori continues to be with us every step of the way providing leadership to her team," Barreiro said. "She is a first class person with excellent character and exceptional athletic ability. I have been both lucky and thrilled to work with Tori. She is one of those kids you want all of your players to emulate both on and off the court."
Meyer, who has signed a letter of intent to play softball at DePaul has helped Perry Peterson's softball team win the Mid-Suburban League title the last three years.
Frosh parade: Brianna Wooldridge became the third freshman to start on opening day in two years for Fremd and fourth in coach Dave Yates' 10 years.
She joins Hailey Gorecki, now at Duke, and current sophomores Grace LaBarge and Ruthie Montella.
Wooldridge has made an immediate impact, already scoring in double figures in five of the Vikes' nine games.
"She's off to a good start, " said Yates. "I saw her in camp in the summer and knew she was going to help us out right away. She has really good moves and she is a strong kid who can finish around the rim. We were missing an inside presence and she really helps us in that area."
Wooldridge spent her middle school days playing for Immanuel Lutheran in Palatine.
"She learned a lot in junior high," Yates said. "So she came in ready to play. And she has a really good work ethic. She works at basketball and puts a lot of time into it. I think those are really good reasons she is so advanced in the game.
"And she is a good kid, a good student and learning every day."
Exam Jamm: Didn't have enough action at Fremd's Chicagland Invitaitonal Showcase last Saturday?
Here's another nine games for you at Lake Zurich High School on Tuesday.
The schedule is as follows: Buffalo Grove vs. Mundelein (main gym at 4:30 p.m.), Rolling Meadows vs. Lake Park (Tonelli gym at 4:45 p.m.), Hersey vs. Vernon Hills (field house at 5 p.m.), Barrington vs. Wheaton Warrenville South (main gym at 6 p.m.), Fremd vs. St. Charles North (Tonelli gym at 6:15 p.m.), St. Viator vs. Rockford Lutheran (field house at 6:30 p.m.), Libertyville vs. Simeon (main gym) at 7:30 p.m.), Lake Forest vs. Mother McAuley (Tonelli gym at 7:45 p.m.) and Wheaton North vs. Lake Zurich (field house at 8 p.m.)
Christian Liberty 48, South Beloit 41: Christian Liberty Academy team raised its record to 6-2 with a win over South Beloit in Arlington Heights on Thursday. Top scorers for the Chargers were Annika Dinkelman (12 points), Julia Wolke (10 points), Megan Ng (10 points) and Melissa Castro (9 points).