Glenbard West, Timothy Christian making strides
Glenbard West girls basketball team is quietly having another solid season.
The Hilltoppers (16-8, 5-3 West Suburban Silver) have been playing solid basketball throughout the season, but been toiling in the background due to the boys basketball team grabbing most of the headlines.
But Glenbard West coach Kristi Faulkner said her team is enjoying watching the top-ranked boys team putting together a historic season.
"Our program has really enjoyed following and supporting the boys program," she said. "They're a tremendous group of players and coaches, on and off the court. They're very supportive of our players, coming to our games, cheering us on, giving our girls high-fives as they come on and off the court.
"The connection between the programs is awesome and much appreciated. Coach James Pecilunas, the boys varsity assistant, was also our girls varsity head coach when I played at Glenbard West, so having that relationship and connection has been special and fun."
Faulkner said her team is trending in the right direction in the final few weeks of the regular season. The Hilltoppers have been on a roll after suffering a 37-25 loss to Wheaton Warrenville South on Jan. 11, defeating St. Francis, Oak Park-River Forest, Metea Valley, Downers Grove South and Proviso West to build some momentum into games at Hinsdale Central on Tuesday and Friday's home game against Lyons. The Hilltoppers' defense is a key reason in their recent winning streak, holding opponents to under 40 points in 13 of their last 15 games.
"We've been really pleased with our defense the last few weeks," Faulkner said. "Our defensive effort and focus is controllable, which we emphasize every day. Our players have done a great job taking pride and ownership on the defensive end. We're also excited to see our team's chemistry and communication has grown throughout the season."
Faulkner said her team's balance is another key factor in their recent surge.
"We have a very balanced team offensively," she said. "On any given night, we could have a few different players in double figures. Many of our players have grown this season and been big contributors on both ends. Sophomore Allie Murphy has stepped up and asserted herself, playing with more confidence every day. It's been fun to watch her grow and come into her own."
Timothy Christian making improvements:
Timothy Christian been stuck in a lose-one, win-one streak that's kept their record hovering at the .500 mark over the last week and a half. The Trojans (11-11) dropped a 55-33 decision to Montini on Saturday.
Timothy Christian coach Jill Groenewold said her team is making strides.
"We have been able to play all our games as scheduled, but we've struggled early on in the schedule as we had to deal with COVID and some long-term injuries to players, which had our girls playing a lot of different roles for the team," she said. "Overall the thing that has impressed me the most with this team is their defensive intensity. Our man-to-man defense has been very consistent and has been holding opposing teams to below their scoring potential and field goal percentage."
Junior center Grace Roland leads the team in scoring and rebounding, averaging 18 points and 12 rebounds. Junior guard Maddie Drye, a captain, averages 12 points and 6 rebounds and junior guard Mili Martens is averaging 6 points.
"Maddie Drye and Grace Roland have been leading the way on the offensive end but I have pleased with the play of our three seniors and also freshman Sam Drye, who is coming into her own," Groenewold said. "Junior Mili Martens has been playing very competitively as well."
Glenbard South also toggling near .500:
Glenbard South freshman forward Brooklynn Moore established herself as a player to watch for the upcoming years. The 5-foot-10 Moore is averaging 10 points, 9 rebounds and 1.5 steals for the Raiders.
"Brooklynn has continued to develop and gain confidence," Glenbard South coach Eric Daca said. "She has had three double-doubles this season, and scored a season-high 20 points twice, against East Aurora and Streamwood to go with a season-high of 16 rebounds against Bartlett."
The Raiders (11-10, 8-4 Upstate Eight) hit a difficult stretch of their schedule, playing at South Elgin on Tuesday and at Fenton on Thursday and hosting Aurora Central Catholic on Saturday.
"Our girls have continued to stay positive, give maximum effort and persevere throughout the season as we have endured injuries and missed games by several key players at different points this season," Daca said.