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Sports

Girls Basketball: Previewing the teams in the Kane County Chronicle coverage area

Geneva's Lindsay Blackmore (32) drives the baseline against Yorkville's Claudia Grunwald (12) in Geneva Dec. 11 2018.
Geneva's Lindsay Blackmore (32) drives the baseline against Yorkville's Claudia Grunwald (12) in Geneva Dec. 11 2018.

The girls basketball season starts this week. Here are previews for teams around the Kane County Chronicle coverage area.

BATAVIA BULLDOGS

Coach: Kevin Jensen

2018-2019 record: 16-15

Top Returners:

Erin Golden sr. G

Claire Nazos so. G

Katherine Polick sr. G

Top Newcomers

Tessa Towers so. C

Morgan Haug jr. G

Alyssa Sarik so. G

Outlook: The Bulldogs return Golden, who has been one of the top point guards in the area for the last two years. Nazos added scoring and energy in a heavy role last year, which is expected to continue. Batavia lost Ava Sergio, Hailey Orman and Geddy Rerko to graduation last year, which leaves a sizeable gap in both size and experience in the starting lineup. Towers, a 6-foot-4 forward, is expected to add some punch and play meaningfully.

"Batavia will be looking for some returning sophomores to take a big step this year," Jensen said. Claire Nazos saw a lot of time last season with a six-week injury to Hailey Orman...The Bulldogs will be young. There are seven sophomores are the roster.  

BURLINGTON CENTRAL ROCKETS

Coach: Collin Kalamatas

2018-2019 record: 22-8

Top Returners

Elana Wells jr. G

Kat Schmidt sr. F

Lily Moretti sr. G

Top Newcomers

Rylie Duval so. G

Becca Carani so. G

Lauren Knief so. F

Outlook: The Rockets welcome a new coach in Kalamatas, who succeeds Mark Smith after a seven-year coaching career at Burlington. Schmidt and Wells return as one of the top duos in the Kane County Chronicle coverage area. Of their six seniors, five have played varsity basketball since their freshman seasons.

"The girls in this program are eager to make this a special year," Kalamatas said. "They've been shut out of a regional title for three straight years now, and it's left a bad taste in their mouth. Practices have been high energy, upbeat, and really competitive. We can't wait to make this a special year."

GENEVA VIKINGS

Coach: Sarah Meadows

2018-2019 record: 20-12

Top Returners

Lindsay Blackmore sr. F

Katie Montgomery sr. G

Kate Palmer jr. G

Top Newcomers

Zosia Wrobel so. G/F

Kelly McCloughan jr. G/F

Outlook: The Vikings appear primed for another solid playoff run, returning major contributors in Palmer, Montgomery and the 2018-2019 Kane County Chronicle Player of the Year, Lindsay Blackmore. Geneva will exhibit an up-tempo, athletic team and will expect to be in the mix for a DuKane conference title and beyond.

"Our expectations are to compete in every game and compete for a conference championship," Meadows said. "And, have a run in the postseason."

KANELAND KNIGHTS

Coach: Kelsey Flanagan

2018-2019 record: 19-12

Top Returners

Keely Noel sr. G

Delaney Sheehan sr. F

Emily Janecek sr. F

Top Newcomers

Mya Saltijeral jr. G

Katherine Marshall fr. G

Taylor Carlson jr. G

Outlook: The Knights have a new head coach on the bench this season with Flanagan, as former coach Ernie Colombe transitioned to lead the boys team. Keely Noel returns with her 7 points and 6 rebounds per game to lead Kaneland, along with Kelsey Modaff's 5.8 points per game. Kaneland is also entering a new conference, the Interstate Eight.

"We're a young team focused on getting better everyday and competing everyday," Flanagan said. "We're in a new conference this year, the Interstate Eight, but we have some familiar opponents from the NIBXII that we look forward to continuing rivalries with."

ROSARY ROYALS

Coach: John Rutter

2018-2019 record: 6-18

Top Returners

Ella Havertape sr. G

Zoe Ketterman sr. F

Zoe Olsen sr. F

Top Newcomers

Lauren Hawkins so. G

Emily Hurst so. F

Madison Cibulskis jr. F

Outlook: The Royals return quality experience with Ketterman, Havertape and Olsen this season. Rosary has decent size and will be competitive, but it's learning a new system, which will be a development to monitor as the season progresses.

"It may take us some time to learn a new system but I expect us to be competitive throughout the season and playing our best basketball come February," Rutter said. "Riverside Brookfield is the Conference favorite, having won the league last season and returning all five starters."

ST. CHARLES EAST SAINTS

Coach: Aubree Schuett

2018 record: 6-24

Top Returners

Leah Griffin jr. G

Olivia Kiefer so. F

Torrie Kortan so. G

Top Newcomers

Emma Yakey fr. F

Outlook: The Saints struggled a bit last season, but are looking to make a sizeable turnaround this season. Kiefer, Griffin and Kortan return with varsity experience to help bring along the rest of the roster. Kortan showed great flashes last season.

"We're a blue collar team," Schuett said. "We're going to work hard every play, fight and compete on a nightly basis. The kids are committed to the system, and are anxious to compete against the best. Our competitive schedule will set this young group up for a successful future."

ST. CHARLES NORTH NORTH STARS

Coach: Mike Tomczak

2018-2019 record: 15-14

Top Returners

Caroline Jakaitis sr. F

Launi Chanthaboury sr. G

Emma Nawara sr. F

Top Newcomers

Alyssa Hughes fr. G

Eva Saltsman so. G

Morgan Klug so. G

Outlook: The North Stars return a lot of experience from last season. Jakaitis, an Indianapolis commit, will help lead the charge. Chanthaboury, who missed last season with an injury, is expected to return to the starting lineup in the near-future. Chanthaboury's return is a welcome addition, and Talia Pellegrini and Tatum Settelmyer will likely be logging several minutes a night.

"We believe that the DuKane Conference is the premier girls basketball conference in the state," Tomczak said. "There are no nights off with this grueling conference schedule but we expect to be right in the mix amongst the top teams."

ST. FRANCIS SPARTANS

Coach: Sandy DeCraene

2018-2019 record:12-20

Top Returners

Kate Chaparro jr. G

Ashley Sullivan sr. G

Madeleine Fasana sr. G/F

Top Newcomers

Maggie Culver jr. G/F

Ella McDonald so. G/F

Katie Anne DeCraene so. G

Outlook: The Spartans return solid experience, including Chaparro, who led with 12 points per game last season and was an all-conference selection. Culver is expected to bring energy, while Fasana also returns as the team's leading rebounder.

"A talented group of sophomores will be given an opportunity to step up this year," DeCraene said. "We are looking to compete every game. As a team, our goal, like other teams, is to compete for [a] conference [championship] and play deep into the state tournament."

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