Third-year St. Charles North girls basketball coach Colleen Brennan wastes little time as it is, but one thing she established from the start of her tenure was unbridled energy.
During games, Brennan shouts, moves and gestures as though the bench were no object, like it was just a place to catch a breather.
She’s the same way in practices, which only will serve North well in the near-term.
After defeating visiting St. Charles East this past Wednesday, the team is idle until beginning holiday tournament play at Dundee-Crown on Dec. 26. Not to worry, players say.
“Our practices are just as hard. Everybody competes,” guard Natalie Winkates said. “We all hustle doing practices, so I think our next game, we’ll be real excited to come out and hustle.”
Brennan wanted to do the same when the North Stars defeated the Saints.
Instead, she settled for her usual in-game routine as well as part of a celebratory postgame dance.
“A rival game is my favorite type of game. It’s so fun. It’s one of those things, you just wish you could be in the moment with them,” Brennan said. “Obviously, I’m coaching that part of it. I’m not on the court and I’m not part of the team. For the kids that are on the court, just that feeling and that togetherness is something you can’t describe unless you’re in there in their circle. I’m in it, but not as much as they are, you know?”
North, off to a 4-1 start in the Upstate Eight Conference River Division, took care of East without sharpshooting junior guard Alex Silverman, who is sidelined for the coming weeks with an ankle injury.
Sophomore post Liz McNally broke through for 21 points in the East game. The Saints struggled to locate McNally at times and were overmatched at others.
“Liz did a great job and has been making so much progress. She’s a wonderful kid, all right, but the kids believed in her on the court and found a way,” Brennan said. “’Hey, this is what’s working? Let’s get her the ball.’ That says a lot about a team and a team dynamic. It’s very exciting.”
It’s hardly surprising that energy has transferred to the North Stars, who still have both matchups against defending league champ Geneva remaining.
Whether it’s a practice – and there are lots of those lately – or a game, the objective is the same.
“We’re just going to keep going hard,” McNally said, “and try to keep the rally going.”
North softball signing: St. Charles North softball senior Shannon Caliri has finalized plans to play for NAIA program Cardinal Stritch in Milwaukee.
Caliri, a pitcher, played sparingly for last year’s senior-dominated North team that finished IHSA state runners-up in Class 4A. Her role figures to increase markedly next spring as the North Stars look to rebuild virtually their entire lineup.
• Kevin Druley is a sportswriter for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or firstname.lastname@example.org.