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Girls basketball insider: Bulldogs, Vikings to team up for Washington

Cash donations to benefit those affected by last month’s tornado in downstate Washington will be accepted throughout Friday’s girls/boys doubleheader between host Batavia and Geneva.

The schools are billing the night as “The Rivalry To Help Rebuild Washington, IL.” The girls varsity game is set to tip off at 5:45 p.m., with the boys scheduled to start at 7:15. Donations also will be accepted during Thursday’s lower-level games.

The Batavia varsity girls passed through Washington last week while traveling to Morton for its Thanksgiving tournament. The experience quickly prompted jarring reactions.

“Driving through Washington didn’t feel real,” Bulldogs senior center Erin Bayram said in an email. “I never thought something like that could actually happen until I saw it with my own eyes. It was extremely emotional and I instantly knew we needed to do something to show our support to the town.”

All funds raised will benefit a relief fund started by Washington Community Bank.

Sooner or Raider
Glenbard South once was a schedule staple during the days of the bygone Western Sun Conference, facing Batavia, Geneva and Kaneland twice per season.

Now a member of the Metro Suburban Conference, the Raiders will play a handful of non-league games against teams from Chronicle Country in 2013-14, hosting Wheaton Academy next Tuesday and St. Francis on Jan. 23 before a Jan. 24 visit to St. Charles North.

Batavia defeated Glenbard South, 58-47, on Nov. 19.

The Raiders finished 22-8 under longtime coach Julie Fonda last season and advanced to the 3A Nazareth Academy Sectional final, continuing to grow a pedigree that makes them an attractive foe.

“Aside from the fact that Julie’s a really good coach, I think if I looked at their roster they’ve got a lot of their team back, they’ve got a good system and the kids look to enjoy playing and enjoy playing together,” St. Francis coach Mike Phillips said.

Patron Saints of buses
St. Charles East plays its home opener later than any area team by far, hosting Evanston on Jan. 4.

The Saints opened the season at the Schaumburg Thanksgiving Invite. Friday’s visit to Upstate Eight Conference River Division foe Larkin starts a six-game road trip ahead of the Wheaton North Falcon Classic Tournament to close the month.

“Just the way it worked, you know,” Saints coach Lori Drumtra said. “I didn’t even realize it until I was looking at the schedule and went, ‘Oh, gosh.’ And two of them are tournaments with a few games in between. There aren’t always a lot of home games at the beginning of the season. But yeah, we call ourselves the road warriors.”

East will need a new moniker come the new year, as it plays eight of its final 11 games at home.

– Kevin Druley,


Sam Novak
St. Charles North, So., G
What she did:
Novak swished the decisive 3-pointer with 13 seconds to play on Friday, helping the North Stars to their first victory in the coach Sean Masoncup era, a 55-54 win against holiday tournament host York.

Natasha Brown
Aurora Christian, Jr., F
What she did:
Brown has snagged 52 rebounds in the Eagles’ past three games, including a 21-board effort during a Nov. 27 victory against Harvest Academy.

Kaneland’s long-range shooting is off to a strong start. The deep Knights feature several players with a penchant for connecting from distance, and one of them was especially effective in Friday’s Immaculate Conception Tournament win against Regina. Caroline Heimerdinger hit three of Kaneland’s four 3s in the game, finishing with 14 points.

Which teams enjoy early bragging rights in the first leg of rivalry games. The beginning of the Upstate Eight Conference River Division schedule this week offers a pair of marquee meetings, with Batavia hosting Geneva on Friday and St. Charles North hosting St. Charles East on Saturday.

The first few days of this week offer a slight respite between the end of Thanksgiving tournaments and the beginning of conference play. Only a handful of games are scheduled before the weekend.

Here’s hoping coaches work in a little more conditioning during workouts. For one, it will help in canceling out some of that extra turkey and pie. For another, it can only aid in the flash of fast breaks, defense and up-tempo play that awaits each team in the next couple months.

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