Batavia's Erin Golden probably could have played more as a freshman.
She did, though, make quite an impression.
"When she got time late in the season," Batavia coach Kevin Jensen said, "she always did something productive."
This season Golden has given more of the same. And then some.
Batavia's 5-foot-7 sophomore guard is enjoying a breakthrough season.
She leads the Bulldogs in scoring (10.3 points per game), rebounding (8.7), assists (2.5) and steals (1.6). That's all while Golden, a gnat defensively, typically draws the assignment of checking opponents' best guard.
Golden scored 14 points for Batavia (11-8, 5-1 Upstate Eight River) in its 47-38 win over St. Charles East Jan. 5.
"This is a girl that's maybe 5-6, 5-7, is not very tall," Jensen said, "but she's just relentless. She does what a lot of girls can't do."
Golden is difficult to stop on the drive, with the ability to stop on a dime for a short jumper.
She's also taken on added responsibility.
Batavia junior point guard Alison Newberry has played just one game since Nov. 30. She had knee surgery for a torn meniscus Dec. 15. Jensen hopes she's cleared to return this week or next.
"We thought going into the season [Golden] would be a playmaker for us, it's just how consistent she would be," Jensen said. "She's been pretty steady. She's the one girl that can create without a specific play. She will make the sophomore mistake at times, but usually by the end of every game she's left every once of energy on the court."
Burlington's busy weekend: Burlington Central (14-2) has a busy weekend ahead.
The Rockets for the second year are at the 16-team MLK Tournament at DeKalb. Burlington Central, one of the top eight seeds in the bracketed events, will play two games Jan. 13 and two more Jan. 15 starting with Grant at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 13.
The Rockets went 2-2 at DeKalb last year, not bad considering the competition.
This year the top four seeds – Rock Island, Lincoln-Way East, Rockford Boylan and Maine South – are all ranked teams in Class 4A.
"It's obviously great competition," Rockets coach Mark Smith said. "At this point of the season we're trying to get as many good games as possible. In a small way this event replicates what you see if you get downstate."
Burlington Central is coming off a solid third-place finish at the Dixon Holiday Tournament.
"[Freshman point guard] Elana [Wells] had a really good game against Rockford East in the third-place game," Smith said. "She handled some pressure we normally don't get to see."
North Stars seek consistency: St. Charles North (10-7) is still seeking consistency, which makes sense. The North Stars have a freshman in their rotation, and point guard Leilauni Chanthaboury is a sophomore. So is promising 6-foot-2 post Caroline Jakaitis.
"The inconsistency, while frustrating, is not unexpected," North coach Mike Tomczak said. "It's part of the process."
Senior Megan Gunnink has been on fire of late, with a school record six 3-pointers against South Elgin and five the night before against Buffalo Grove. Senior Anna Davern has been consistently averaging around 15-16 points per game. Junior Anna Tate is averaging close to 18 points the last month with four games of 20 or more.
North flashed its potential at Dundee-Crown, taking state-ranked Maine South to overtime. The North Stars have a busy week ahead, highlighted by a game Jan. 12 against St. Charles East.
"When it comes together it looks really good," Tomczak said. "We're looking for a full four quarters."
Geneva Swishes for a Cure: When Geneva hosts Batavia Jan. 26, it will also be Swishes for a Cure Pink Night 2018.
T-shirts are being sold in advance for $10. Profits from this event will be donated to Camp Kesem, which operates free summer camps for children who have been impacted by a parent's cancer.
Email Geneva assistant coach Lindsey Huettemann at firstname.lastname@example.org with your order or see a Geneva girls basketball player by Jan. 11.
Batavia and Geneva are also both in action this week at 28th Annual Coach Kipp's Hoopsfest (formerly McDonald's Shootout) at Willowbrook. Batavia plays Willowbrook at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 13, Geneva gets Loyola at 8 p.m. that night.