Kaneland junior wing Amber Winquist-Bailey is enjoying a prominent role for the Knights’ girls basketball team after competing for minutes last season. Speaking with Kane County Chronicle sports reporter Kevin Druley for the latest edition of the Weekend Chit-chat, Winquist-Bailey reminisces about the past while looking toward what she hopes is a promising future. Winquist-Bailey also addresses the team’s start and her rapport with point guard Caroline Heimerdinger. The following is an edited transcript:
What do you take away from the team’s first tournament [at IC Catholic Prep]?
I thought with it being our first tournament, we’re still getting used to each other and playing. I thought that we played pretty well and we kind of got to see how we all work as a team, so I think it really helped us figure out where our strengths and weaknesses are. ... We’ve kind of all been friends before the season … So there’s a high motivation to do well this year. To be a team and keep working with each other and stuff like that.
Coach [Ernie] Colombe has mentioned this team is more offense-oriented than those in the past. How much has the offense been there in the first few weeks?
Yeah, I think our shooting has definitely improved. We spent a lot of time over the summer, so that really helped us a lot. We’re definitely a more offensive team than we are defense, just because of our amount of shooters. And we have a lot of posts this year, so we’ll be able to get inside a lot more, I think, than we were able to last year.
How do the personalities of coach Colombe and [assistant coach Tom Dillivan] match up?
Dillivan is hard-core, and so is Colombe. They definitely get on you for defense and just [preach] continue to work your butt off no matter what we’re doing. Colombe is more strategy, I think. He likes no mistakes. They’re both really good coaches, and it’s awesome to play for them.
This is your first extended time on varsity. Talk about your climb.
I didn’t play as much last year, but I just kept working and I practiced a lot and continued to work on my shooting and stuff. This year I became a starter and captain, so it was kind of more of a transition period from last year. And then this year is where I really put that effort to work.
And you were first called up as a freshman during the [2011-12] run to sectionals?
It was awesome. I just remember it being kind of surreal. We made it so far. We just kept winning. I think we went on a 17-0 streak until the end. Yeah, it was amazing. Even though I wasn’t playing, I still felt like I was part of the team. It was a great thing to be a part of.
How do you and Caroline work with one another?
Caroline does a great job bringing the ball up, and she’s always able to get past defenders and stuff like that. A lot of times if I’m able to get a rebound, I’ll outlet it to Caroline right away, and then I’ll be sprinting up the court. I feel like me and Caroline play really well together. We kind of know each other and we kind of know what each other’s game is.