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Prep Girls Basketball Insider: Bulldogs, Vikings meet in Geneva

St. Charles North’s Morgan Rosencrants looks for a shot around Batavia’s Erin Bayram during Tuesday’s game.
St. Charles North’s Morgan Rosencrants looks for a shot around Batavia’s Erin Bayram during Tuesday’s game.

Batavia tried to push the pace throughout much of Tuesday's home win against St. Charles North.

At times, that wasn't the best thing. Witness coach Kevin Jensen's blunt instruction, "Stop running! We're winning!" midway through the fourth quarter.

"If we have missed a couple transition threes but we're winning, let's relax," Jensen said later. "We can still get those shots. Just take 20 seconds or 30 seconds instead of five seconds, that's all."

Understanding the situation figures to be a bigger key to tonight's Batavia-Geneva game than in most recent entries in the series. The Vikings recently lost speedy junior guard Michaela Loebel for the season with a torn ACL, but also are built for strong post play as they defend their Upstate Eight Conference River Division title.

Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said she expects reigning Chronicle Player of the Year Sami Pawlak (broken middle finger) to return to the lineup for the game, and the team also has benefited from Sidney Santos' strong play in the paint.

Batavia last defeated Geneva in the finale of the 2007-08 regular season, a game that handed the Bulldogs the Western Sun Conference crown.

While Batavia players have realized for weeks they will not have to contend with Loebel, that hasn't impacted their attitude toward the Vikings much.

"They've always got something there, so they're still going be good," Bulldogs junior guard Liza Fruendt said. "It's still going to be a challenge for us, but it's going to be really fun."

Time change
The Batavia-Geneva girls game is scheduled as the first leg of a girls-boys doubleheader at Geneva.

A similar set-up was planned between host St. Charles East and St. Charles North on Saturday, but now there's a tweak.

Because the Saints and North Stars boys recently played in the final of East's Thanksgiving Tournament, only the girls will face off Saturday. Tip off is set for 6 p.m.

The girls' Jan. 12 game at North still is slated for 4:30 p.m. as the opener of a doubleheader.

Rosencrants rolling
North freshman wing Morgan Rosencrants finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds against Batavia, continuing a solid start to her debut season.

"She's a very, very strong kid, mentally and physically," North Stars coach Colleen Backer said. "Especially as a freshman, she's just years above her grade level. She's a competitor and has a drive to win. Off the court, the girls just love her – we just love her on her team – but when it comes to game time, she's ready to play. She's very, very active."

Liza Fruendt
Batavia, Jr., G
What she did:
Fruendt sparked Batavia to a 57-47 victory in Tuesday's Upstate Eight Conference River Division opener against St. Charles North with a career-high 26 points. Fruendt also has served as a steadying influence for freshman post Hannah Frazier, the Bulldogs' second-leading scorer against the North Stars with 18.

Alyssa Andersen
Aurora Christian, Jr., G
What she did:
Andersen has helped the Eagles to a 3-2 start by averaging around 20 points. Her 17 points keyed Monday's 65-15 home rout of Harvest Christian.

Kaneland's depth perception hasn't faded. The Knights had a banner season in 2011-12 by relying on a rotation of 8-10 players, a path that hasn't eluded them or lost steam so far in 2012-13. The Knights went 4-0 en route to the Immaculate Conception Tournament title, featuring one double-figure scorer apiece in their semifinal and championship victories.

How Wheaton Academy responds to a rough run through the Somonauk Tournament. The Warriors went 1-3 during tourney play earlier this month, but are looking toward better things as they host Suburban Christian Conference rival St. Francis tonight to begin a three-game homestand.

Tonight's Batavia-Geneva game and next week's STC East-Geneva clash ought to say a mouthful about the UEC River race. The Vikings have had a stranglehold on their conference for some time now – dating to the former Western Sun – but a season-ending injury to Michaela Loebel shakes up the team's dynamic guard play.

Batavia and East have a number of quality players in the backcourt, but the Vikes still are strong down low. How the Bulldogs' and Saints' emerging post talents fare against Pawlak, Santos and Co. will be a key.

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