So I guess it’s basketball season again. Pretty much takes up half the year but that’s Illinois for you. Here are five of my thoughts from the girls basketball DePaul summer shootout.
1. City trending up
Even though Marshall won a state championship down in 2A, last season was a down year for the public league, with Kenwood and Whitney Young bowing out in the sectional semifinals.
That looks to change though this year as Whitney Young return virtually everyone from a young, but talented squad while adding a couple of transfers. Kenwood and Simeon are in the same boat as as last years Dolphins as they will both have a very young core with a very high ceiling.
Don’t be surprised to see as many as five teams from the Public League ranked in the preseason top-20.
2. No days off
It was a pretty busy day for the DePaul training staff, and full credit to them as they did a tremendous job dealing with all the head injuries and cuts that happened today.
If anyone thinks summer league games are just an easy going time to get your feet back under you, guess again. Loyola’s Addison Ebeling, Whitney Young’s Kyla Jones and Nazareth’s Annie Stritzel all had to make visits to the trainers table with cuts just above their eye with Jones and Stritzel having to leave the shootout prematurely.
More than anything, the injuries were a combination of full effort combined with a little rust, and none looked to be overly serious.
3. Rising stars
There were more than a few really impressive performances put on by underclassmen and upperclassmen alike.
Kenwood impressed with two sophomores and two juniors, Mother McAuley senior Grace Hynes is the most unassuming player you could every imagine, but she is going to have a really good season for the Mighty Macs, but perhaps most impressive of all was St. Ignatius’ Lauren McDonald.
McDonald handled the point guard duties in the absense of Molly Gannon and did not look out of place in the slightest. The sophomore is ridiculously strong with the ball and going to the rim and will be a great compliment to Gannon’s outside shooting ability.
4. Model of consistency
After losing the likes of Tara O’Malley and Vanessa Gavin, it would be natural to think that Mother McAuley would take a step back. In all likelihood they still will, but there’s something in the water at McAuley where undersized, scrappy players just continue to succeed.
The Mighty Macs beat Whitney Young by 14 in their finale and held their own in their matchup against EYBL team Michigan Crossover U17.
5. Top end talent still improving
Nobody in the state is going to be caught off guard by an Annie Stritzel, Julia Martinez, Molly Gannon, Tamara Nard, or Kyla Jones. All are unbelievable players who have been putting up big numbers since they were underclassmen.
What is remarkable though is how these top players continue to improve year after year. High volume scorer Stritzel looks 10x quicker than last season and had a really nice defensive game against Kenwood.
Nard looks much quicker running the floor as well while improving her finishing bt\y ten-fold from last season. And believe it or not, Martinez may be even be a better passer than last year (still needs some work on that outside shot though).
This is why there players are the top of their class for 2019, they don’t rest on their laurels, but continue to improve so nobody else catches them.