Scouting the West Suburban
West Suburban Silver
Downers Grove NorthCoach: Stephen Bolt (10th season)
Last season's record: 10-3, 5-1 WSS (co-champion)
Top returning players: Kate Gross, sr. (G, 5-10); Ryann Wendt, sr. (G, 5-11); Ella Sebek, sr. (G, 5-6); Eleanor Harris, sr. (C, 6-1); Vanesa Linge, sr. (C, 6-0); Kyla Wilkerson, sr. (G, 5-6); Maggie Fleming, jr. (F, 5-10)
Top new players: Hope Sebek, so. (G, 5-7); Kaitlyn Parker, so. (G, 5-8); Lillian Boor, so. (F, 5-10)
Worth noting: Behind its stifling defense, Downers Grove North has posted a record of 60-19 over the past three seasons ... That includes a trio of top-3 finishes in conference, with the Trojans winning a share of the title last year ... The team accomplished that without a senior on the roster and was set to bring back eight players with vast experience before losing junior Violet Mitchell to a torn-ACL ... Gross (8 ppg last season) and Wendt (11 ppg, 6 rpg) are four-year varsity players while the other five, including Harris (6 ppg, 6 rpg) enter their third seasons ..."It will be a fun experience to be able to coach these girls in a full season for their senior year," Bolt said. "They are such a close-knit group and it will be fun to see how great they can become by the end of the season."
Glenbard WestCoach: Kristi Faulkner (fifth season)
Last season's record: 9-7, 2-4 WSS (fifth)
Top returning players: Emmie Roberts, sr. (G, 5-4); Sophia Brown, jr. (G, 5-8); Kennedy Brandt, jr. (G/F, 5-10); Mackenzie Cater, jr. (G/F, 5-9); Anastasia Andrianopoulos, jr. (G/F, 5-8); Allie Murphy, so. (G, 5-8)
Top new players: Julia Benjamin, fr. (5-6 G); Hannah Roberts, fr. (5-8 G)
Worth noting: Glenbard West, which has four straight winning seasons under Faulkner and five overall, brings back virtually its entire roster from last season, though returning starter and captain Kendall Walch is out with a knee injury ... Roberts, Brown and Cater all enter their third year on the varsity, with Loyola-bound (for soccer) Roberts an all-conference selection last season and Brown the team's returning leading scorer ... Brandt, Andrianopoulos and Murphy will also play key roles for what should be a balanced offensive squad ..."We are really excited for the season," Faulkner said. "We have versatility, young talent, great leadership and a lot of heart on this year's team."
Hinsdale CentralCoach: Karen Persinger (fifth season)
Last season's record: 9-6, 3-3 WSS (fourth)
Top returning players: Eleanor Monyek, sr. (F, 5-11); Lanie Randle, sr. (G, 5-9); Nina Sarros, sr. (F, 5-11); Tessa Howe, sr. (G, 5-8); Angie Conley, jr. (G); Amelia McLaughlin, jr. (G, 5-10)
Worth noting: Hinsdale Central took a big step forward in last year's shortened season and with a strong core returning, could take another this winter ... The Red Devils bring back a host of productive players, with six who are entering their third year on the varsity ... Monyek averaged 14.3 points and 7.9 rebounds a game last season ... Randle, Sarros and Howe all averaged around 6 ppg with Sarros also leading the team in rebounding ... Blessed with good team speed, the team is placing an emphasis on their defense ..."We are looking forward to a full season and showing growth in all phases of the game," Persinger said. "We play in a great conference and we want to go out each night and compete at a high level."
Lyons TownshipCoach: Meghan Hutchens (fourth season)
Last season's record: 13-3, 5-1 WSS (co-champions)
Top returning players: Ally Cesarini, jr. (G, 5-8); Izzy Lee, sr. (F, 6-0); Hailey Markworth, sr. (G, 5-10); Olivia Mezan, sr. (G, 5-7); Ella Ormsby, jr. (G, 5-8)
Top new players: Elin O'Brien, so. (G, 5-10); Kennedy Wanless, so. (G, 5-7); Nora Ezike, fr. (F, 6-1); Anna Bryant, sr. (C, 5-10)
Worth noting: After finishing as the runner-up in the conference in 2019-20, Lyons Township grabbed a share of the WSS title last season ... The Lions graduated a strong senior class, which included 16 ppg scorer Lindsey Hahn, but return a talented group ... The roster is headlined by Winona State-commit Markworth and University of Missouri-St. Louis-commit Mezan along with Cesarini, Lee (U of I soccer commit) and Ormsby. Balance is a definite strength of the team with contributions expected from a whole host of players, both on the perimeter and in the paint. "I'm honestly so excited for our kids this season," Hutchens said. "They have the chance to play again in front of their family and friends, compete against teams in and out of our conference and play LT basketball."
YorkCoach: Brandon Collings (fifth season)
Last season's record: 12-2, 5-1 WSS (co-champions)
Top returning players: Mariann Blass, jr. (G, 5-8); Lizzie Baldridge, jr. (G, 5-9); Stella Kohl, so. (G, 5-10); Erin Powers, sr. (G, 5-8)
Top new players: Katie Sosa, jr. (G, 6-0); Hannah Meyers, so. (G, 5-6); Angelina Downer, so. (F, 6-1)
Worth noting: York looks to continue its run of success under Collings, which has included an overall record of 75-33 and consecutive conference titles in his four years as coach ... But this Lady Dukes team will look vastly different after the graduation of back-to-back strong senior classes ... The team returns only four players with varsity experience but one important one is Blass, who averaged 11.5 points while shooting over 40-percent from the three-point arc last year ... Point guard Baldridge will step into an expanded role after totaling 5.1 ppg as a sophomore as will Kohl (3.5 ppg) and Powers ..."We will be a very young and inexperienced team," Collings said, "but we will be talented. We will be an extremely athletic team that will look to play at a fast pace at both ends of the floor."
West Suburban Gold
Addison TrailCoach: Cory Little (third season)
Last season's record: 5-1 WSG (second)
Top returning players: Quiana Birmingham, sr. (G); Mary Velez, sr. (F); Gia Napoli, sr. (G); Juliana Nasti, sr. (G/F); Dianna Villegas, sr. (G/F); Elena Papanicolaou, jr. (G); Erica Severino, jr. (G/F)
Worth noting: Addison Trail returns all but two players from a season ago but the team must fill the holes left by the graduations of Mia Johnson and Ally Severino ... Helping to do that will be an experienced senior class, led by Birmingham, a four-year varsity guard and Velez and Nasti, both of whom enter their third season on the varsity ... Little points to the unity of the team as a strength as well as the senior leadership while the keys to success are how well they execute and do the little things ..."This year's seniors are special because they know what's expected of them," Little said, "and they know how to get the job done because they've been through it all."
Downers Grove SouthCoach: Lyndsie Long (ninth season)
Last season's record: 8-7, 4-2 WSG (third)
Top returning players: Emily Petring, jr. (G, 5-8); Allison Jarvis, so. (G, 5-8); Deanna Eslit, sr. (G, 5-4); Gracie Lapacek, sr. (F, 5-7)
Top new players: Na'Kiyah Robertson, jr. (F/C, 6-0); Kaitlyn Vincent, jr. (G, 5-6).
Worth noting: Downers Grove South begins life without Meghan Stapleton (now at Loras), a four-year varsity player who went over the 1,000-point plateau last season while averaging 17 ppg. Also graduated is Ashley Lang, now playing at Augustana. But the Mustangs do bring back eight players from a year ago, including Petring, an all-conference selection last season. Eslit joins Petring in the backcourt while newcomer Robertson gives the team a scoring option in the paint ... With a group of athletic players, creating turnovers on defense will be key along with limiting them on the offensive end ..."With the shortened season last year and some new girls," Long said, "our early season games will be a wake-up call in terms of what we have to work on."
Hinsdale SouthCoach: Scott Tanaka (fourth season)
Last season's record: 3-10 overall, 2-4 WSG
Top returning players: Jenny Pantoni, sr.; Madeline Gamboa, sr.; Molly Savage, sr.; Natalia Vasilevski, sr.; Gabriela Baranauskas, sr.; Makena Camden, jr.; Amelia Lavorato, so.; Amerie Flowers, so.
Worth noting: In rebuild mode the last couple of seasons, Hinsdale South looks to make a jump this winter behind an experienced group of players ... The Hornets feature a smaller roster but only lost two players to graduation from a year ago ... Patoni and Baranauskas enter their third year of varsity basketball while Lavorato and Flowers both saw action as freshmen in the shortened last season ..."We have a great group of girls returning for the Hornets this year," Tanaka said. "They care, they work hard and they want to get better each and every day."
MortonCoach: Kristeen Anthonsen (third season)
Last season's record: 0-10, 0-6 WSG (seventh)
Top new players: Aaliyah Knazze, fr. (G, 5-2); Vivian Tapia, sr. (G, 5-6)
Worth noting: Morton features another large roster this season, with 16 players on the team ... The Mustangs have many new faces who will be expected to contribute this year ... One of those is Knazze, a freshman point guard who will be looked at to handle the ball and also score ... Another is Tapia, who didn't play last season, but will have a major scoring role ... The team doesn't possess a lot of size so using their speed and quickness will be key as well as limiting turnovers on offense ..."Our team has versatile players that like to get out in transition and push the pace," Anthonsen said.
WillowbrookCoach: Terry Harrell (thirteenth season)
Last season's record: 14-2, 6-0 WSG (champions)
Top returning players: Sophia Sullivan, sr. (G, 5-7); Cali Kenny, so. (G, 5-10); Elle Bruschuk, so. (G, 5-11); Sara Stout, jr. (F, 5-10)
Top new player: Hannah Kenny, fr. (G, 5-8)
Worth noting: With two conference championships in the past three years, Willowbrook is clearly a program on the rise ... And despite the graduation of three-year varsity players Steph Dasbach and Grace Tumilty, along with Taris Thornton, the Warriors have the pieces in place to make another run ... Leading the way is Sullivan, who averaged 15.6 ppg last season after transferring in from Montini ... Cali Kenny burst onto the scene as a freshman and finished with a 22-point performance in the WSC championship win over LT and now her younger sister Hannah joins the team. Bruschuk will also step into a starting role after being a key contributor off the bench ..."We are a very skilled and quick team," Harrell said. "If we are able to compete on the glass consistently, we will be successful this year."