Many current Geneva girls basketball players joined in the community caravan to Illinois State during the program’s only other state finals appearance in 2009.
Junior guard Janie McCloughan, then a sixth-grader, recalls the scene vividly even if the results were less than ideal. Geneva came to Redbird Arena 32-0 and headed for home 32-2 with a fourth-place finish in Class 4A.
“I remember looking at those girls – Lauren Wicinski and Taylor Whitley and Kat Yelle and all them – and I thought it was so cool,” McCloughan said. “I’ve always imagined being in that position, but it’s so cool the fact that it’s real now. It’s so cool. Because I always looked up to them and now it’s me. And it’s our team.”
Senior Sidney Santos built a similar fondness for the big stage at a young age, albeit through a different Upstate Eight Conference team.
Her roundball-loving family was living in Bartlett when the Hawks earned a runner-up finish in Class AA in 2005.
Santos was a third-grader, and since has traveled to her share of state finals through the years.
“Just always watched state games for a trip, so it’s crazy that I’m the one playing now,” she said.
Get backed: Montini coach Jason Nichols admits he knows little about Burlington or its surrounding communities from a chamber of commerce perspective.
His assistants’ postseason scouting trips, however, say a mouthful – just like the Rockets’ fans.
“They’re hungry, and the whole darn town of Burlington is going to be there supporting them, so they’re going to have that on their side,” Nichols said.
Et cetera: Montini’s lone losses came against Wheaton Warrenville South (48-43) and fellow traditional 4A power Whitney Young (54-45). ... Three of Rolling Meadows’ four losses were against 3A or 4A semifinalists. The only exception: a 49-42 loss to Mid-Suburban League rival Fremd in the regular season finale. The Mustangs avenged that game in the Barrington Sectional final. ... Geneva alumnus Matt Rodewald is set to call his first Vikings girls game tonight as part of the IHSA TV Network broadcast team.