Maine South knows how to share the wealth

  • Maine South's Nicole Gardiner, left, gets past Maine West's Dylan Van Fleet during the championship game of the Komaromy Holiday Classic at Dundee-Crown in December.

      Maine South's Nicole Gardiner, left, gets past Maine West's Dylan Van Fleet during the championship game of the Komaromy Holiday Classic at Dundee-Crown in December. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 2/13/2020 4:49 PM

When it comes to handing out assists, not many girls basketball players have done it better at Maine South than Niki Manolis.

With more than 130, the junior guard currently has the fourth most for a Hawks' single-season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

And she sure knows how to generously distribute them.

The Hawks have won 23 games (only 5 losses) with no one averaging more than 10 points a game.

"For us to be as successful as we are and our leading scorer to be at 10.7 points is pretty remarkable," said second-year Maine South coach Jeff Hamann. "It's a tribute to the girls, their attitude and willingness to share the ball.

"There are a lot of times when their goal is not only to get to the paint and finish but also to create and get their teammates involved, so they're fun to watch."

Twins Nicole (10.7 ppg) and Naimh (10.6 ppg) Gardiner lead the team. Manolis is at 6.2.

"We feel like we're as good as anyone in the area," said Hamann, whose brother Jim is Prospect's hall of fame girls golf who now coaches the Knights' boys team.

"Obviously there are teams like Maine West, Hersey, Libertyville and Fremd. Those are elite teams and we're right there with them."

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The Hawks, who went 7-3 in the Central Suburban South, have won 17 of their last 19 since losing to state-ranked Evanston by 2 points last December.

Manolis is not the only one having a record-setting season.

"This team is special for many reasons," Hamann said. "We set the team record for 3-pointers in a season and we're on pace to set the rebounding record.

"So this teams rebounds, shoots and shares the ball. Our assists and assists to turnovers ratio are off the chart. Beyond that, they're great kids. Every single one has been a pleasure to coach this season."

Hamann and the Hawks will start state tourney play at the Class 4A Elk Grove regional as the No. 3 seed.

"These girls don't care about who scores," Hamann said. "They just care about winning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We knew we had a lot of girls who could play and they've been together for a long time, especially the twins. They read each other and know where they can find each other. And our junior class, too. We knew this was going to be a difficult team to defending because of the balance."

Jersey Day: Maine West will have the official presentation of Oregon recruit Angela Dugalic's McDonald's All-America jersey at the winter sports assembly at 2:30 p.m. Friday in the school's gymnasium.

"Well introduce our winter athletes and teams for their accomplishments and then we're going to bring Angela out," said Maine West athletic director Jarret Kirshner. "It's a tremendous accomplishment by her. There's only 25 jerseys in the country."

All five Oregon recruits for the Class of 2024 are McDonald All-Americans.

"That's incredible," Kirshner said. "Angela is so fortunate to be a part of that program,"

ESPN2 and ESPN will telecast the McDonald's All-American Games live from the Houston Toyota Center on Wednesday, April 1.

The 19th annual girls game will air on ESPN2 at 4 p.m.

"I'm a little disappointed it's in Houston," Kirshner said. "For many years it was here in Chicago. But it's such an amazing accomplishment. Entire states don't have a player at Angela's level."

Family affair: When Hoffman Estates dropped a 59-52 decision to Jacobs on Monday night, the handshakes for coach Brad Reibel really meant something.

Not only was the opposing Golden Eagles coach his cousin Jonathan Reibel, Brad Reibel was the varsity assistant for Jacobs just a year earlier before taking the Hawks' job this winter.

"I was his assistant last year so I was coaching (on Monday) against all the girls I had coached a season earlier," said Brad Reibel, who starred at Prospect High School. "It was fun, a nice little family rivalry going up against my cousin.

"They were already on our schedule when I got here and I'm sure we'll keep them on it moving forward."

Memorable homecoming: When Deerfield made its visit to Maine West last Friday night, it meant that former West guard Tasia Georganas got to return to the gym where she was part of history.

Georganas was in Des Plaines to watch her daughter, Lexi Kerstein, an all-conference freshman guard who starts for Deerfield.

It was 31 years ago when Georganas scored a game-high 23 points to lead Maine West to a 93-38 victory over Niles North.

That win gave West and former hall off fame coach Derril Kipp a 64th straight victory, breaking Peoria Richwoods` former state mark of 63 in a row.

The Warriors went on to make it 65 straight wins, a record that still stands today.

"It's fun to watch my daughter out there playing against Maine West," Georganas said. "It's a great experience for her. She's a freshman playing against one of the best teams in the state. I'm happy she is able to do this. Playing as much as she is and getting this experience against these great players is fantastic. It's memorable."

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