Sidney Santos shifted from the frontcourt to the backcourt once again when Geneva teammate Michaela Loebel suffered another knee injury last month.
The 6-foot-1 Santos, a projected center at Oakland (Mich.), followed the same path in November 2012 after Loebel, a Nebraska soccer recruit, tore her ACL four games into her junior season.
“When I switched into the role, I was definitely more prepared for it because of last year,” said Santos, a senior.
“It’s a whole team thing. We all have to step up since Michaela’s not there.”
Santos credited Vikings Morgan Seberger and Abby Novak for helping her transition to point guard. Even when she was coming up as a highly touted freshman – a rise delayed by her own season-ending knee injury entering her debut campaign – coaches touted Santos’ ballhandling ability.
“She’s just so selfless that she doesn’t care that she has to do it,” Vikings coach Sarah Meadows said. “We just need her to stay on the court, you know. And we’ve talked about it. She’s got to stop fouling. She’s more valuable on the court than maybe even giving up two points. But I think she’s doing a solid job.”
Santos awaits her next test tonight, as she’ll play opposite Fenwick point guard Jade Owens, a Creighton recruit. The Vikings-Friars nonconference series has been a regular for Geneva of late.
“Those games are more fun to play in because you have nothing to lose and it’s always a hard-fought battle,” Santos said. “They always have great players, so it’s always a good game.”
North’s ‘D’ helps turn tide
First-year St. Charles North coach Sean Masoncup stressed defensive intensity from the time he took the reins of the program last spring.
That’s certainly been apparent in the North Stars’ recent surge, which includes three wins in their past four Upstate Eight Conference River Division games.
“Our whole goal is just to run, run, run,” junior guard Ashling Davern said. “And on the defensive end, that’s most important, because if we can get stops, then it’s easier for us to convert on the offensive end, for sure.”
North turned up the heat on Batavia in a six-point loss Friday, the league-leading Bulldogs’ closest conference game to date. Before that, Geneva played Batavia to within eight points in the River opener.
The North Stars will try to close an 18-point gap against Geneva on Feb. 8. Sputtering against the Vikings in the teams’ first meeting Jan. 10 is one of the catalysts for North’s recent run.
“The Geneva game was definitely a real change for our team in a way that we look at how we play and how important it is to play together,” Davern said. “Because in the Geneva game, we were all thinking about the [back] of our jersey, which we can’t do that if you want to be successful. So we definitely took it to use in the future games.”
Wheaton Academy’s Jamie Netzley and Molly Thorson combined for 30 points in Saturday’s home win against St. Francis behind a pretty impressive collaborative effort.
Netzley, a sophomore guard, and Thorson, a junior forward, drilled 9-of-16 3-point attempts in the game.
Thorson, who has impressed coach Beth Mitchell with her athleticism, had been hurt for much of her career before this season, fighting through a hand injury and a broken clavicle.
– Kevin Druley, email@example.com
IN THE GROOVE
Rosary, Sr., G
What she did: Choice paced Rosary with 19 points and played strong perimeter defense, stabilizing the Royals in Thursday’s 55-39 victory at Walther Christian.
Geneva, Sr., G
What she did: Sidestepping a cut on her right, shooting, hand on Saturday, Seberger scored 20 points in the Vikings’ 63-56 win at St. Charles East.
WHAT WE LEARNED LAST WEEK
St. Charles North is trending upward. Regrouping after a blowout loss at Geneva earlier this month, North gave Batavia all it could handle Friday, leading in the fourth quarter of an eventual six-point loss. “Just a couple dumb turnovers, and this game’s a different game,” North coach Sean Masoncup said. “I think we gave them a good shot of what we can be, and I’m excited for the last month of the season.”
WHAT WE’LL LEARN IN THE WEEK AHEAD
How Batavia seniors Erin Bayram and Liza Fruendt handle their final regular-season home games. While the Bulldogs will host a Class 4A regional next month, Saturday’s game against St. Charles East will feature the emotional senior night treatment. Bayram and Fruendt, best friends since childhood, took teammates aside during tryouts and spoke about staying dedicated to the pursuit of a special season. The Bulldogs are 8-0 in Upstate Eight Conference River Division play entering Saturday.
COACH SLY SEZ
The Oswego Tournament, of all things, pushed back Batavia’s first 2013-14 meeting with St. Charles North until this past Friday.
The Bulldogs’ involvement in the tourney likely paved the way to one of the most entertaining games of the season to date.
North hadn’t yet found its stride in the early season, and maybe even hadn’t concocted the “Special” defense that helped keep Liza Fruendt (relatively) in check.
Here’s to the rematch at North’s place on Feb. 6.
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