Balanced attack working well at Naperville North
Naperville North girls basketball team is entering a transition period this season.
The Huskies relied heavily on the high-volume scoring of Greta Kampschroeder and Mackenzie Hare over the last three-plus seasons. Kampschroeder, a sophomore guard at Michigan, scored 1,735 points in her high school career and earned a spot on the prestigious McDonald's All-American team.
Hare, a freshman guard at Marquette, averaged 20 points playing for the Huskies last season.
This season, the Huskies are relying on a collective approach.
So far, the results have been perfect.
The Huskies won their first four games of the season to capture the championship at the Warhawk Thanksgiving Tournament.
"We did graduate some big stats and leadership, but our returners are seasoned and embracing their roles as leaders, on and off the court," Naperville North coach Erin Colletti said. "We're a very balanced attack team, and everyone knows that they have to step up to make up for those points and rebounds we're not getting from last year's talent.
"We have great leadership with our four senior captains who have been on the varsity now for four years. We also return two juniors who were on our varsity squad last year as well."
Seniors Abby Drendel, Layla Henderson, Abby Homan and Peyton Fenner join junior Sydni Fink to form a balanced starting lineup.
"Abby Drendel has been doing a great job running point for us, is another coach on the floor," Colletti said. "Abby Homan is embracing her role as a post player with guard skills for us. She has greatly improved her inside game and finishing inside consistently. Layla Henderson is strong on both sides of the floor and relentless on the ball.
"Peyton is the most versatile player we have. Her height, length and strength make her difficult to guard. Sydni Fink is long, lean and quick with a selfless mentality to deliver dimes to her teammates."
Tigers off to a slow start:
Wheaton Warrenville South coach Rob Kroehnke called his final team his youngest team. Since taking over the program in 2001, Kroehnke has built a regular winner, highlighted by notching nine regional championships.
The Tigers (1-4) are currently starting two freshmen -- Marley Carbonaro and Abby Keighron -- and sophomore Emily Troia. Kroehnke said his program should benefit from the return of senior guard Ella Crawford. The Tigers' youth showed in a blowout defeat to highly ranked Deerfield in the Schaumburg Thanksgiving Tournament.
"We're trying to find some things out," Kroehnke said. "We've very young and going through some of those young mistakes, like turning the ball over too much and shot selection. We're trying to figure out the rotation, but I saw improvements in each game. We did some good things. They're a good group and they work hard.
"This is my youngest team, but we have a very deep freshmen class, and that's without four of their (top) players."
Glenbard West is the new top team in town:
After watching the boys team embark on an epic run last season, the Glenbard West girls basketball team is stealing the headlines early this winter. The Hilltoppers (3-1) played strong in the District 87 Tournament, with Kennedy Brandt and Julia Benjamin earning all-tourney selection.
"We have a strong group of returners who have varsity experience and are hungry as well as a core group of new young talented players who bring energy, enthusiasm and athleticism," Glenbard West coach Kristi Faulkner said. "Our focus and approach is all about the team. Each player fulfills a vital role and that collective effort is key to our success. Our seniors are great leaders who have really stepped up, along with our other returners."
Lancers on a roll:
Lake Park started the season with a frustrating loss to Rolling Meadows, but turned the tide with three consecutive victories. The Lancers (3-1) defeated Jacobs, Proviso West and Hoffman Estates. Senior guard Gabi Burgess, a Missouri S & T recruit, scored 11 points, pulled down 4 rebounds and tallied 2 assists and 2 steals in a 59-24 win over Hoffman Estates. Burgess has been playing at a high level early in the season, scoring 15 against Proviso West.