1. New style, who dis?
Let’s talk Montini. Anybody who saw them last season knew they liked to slow the game down, zone up, and do most of their damage in the half court.
That is certainly not the case this year. Although the Broncos will probably take a tiny step back this season, they are going to be much more enjoyable to watch (no offense Coach Nichols).
Montini will be chock full of athletes next season which will allow them to run the floor, get up the line, and press a lot higher on defense.
2. The youth movement
But where did all of those athletes come from? Montini will most likely get pretty hefty contributions from four freshman who all bring a uniquely different skillset for the Broncos. It may take a little time to gel and adjust to varsity basketball, but Montini will be just fine as always.
Same thing goes for Marist. Believe it or not, the Redhawks are even younger than they were last season, but that doesn’t mean they are devoid of talent. Led by one of the best sophomores in the state in Sydney Affolter, Marist will make some noise this year and are probably just a year or two away from being very special.
3. Welcome back MSL
There’s really no good way to skirt around it so we’ll be blunt. The MSL was extremely down last season.
A conference that has become accustomed to sending a team down state over the last five years didn’t even have a team in the sectional finals last season, but that will likely change.
After a pretty sub par year, Fremd is back to being very, very good. They are extremely athletic, have pretty good size and are very strong going to the rim.
Rolling Meadows will also be much improved this year. They return four starters from last years regional championship team and although they don’t have the top end players like they did when they made it to back to back state title games, they’ll be a tough out.
4. Undersung seniors
Personally, I don’t think there is a more underrated player in the state than Montini’s Sam Mitchell. I’m sure if you ask other coaches they will have a lot of good things to say about the senior, but in regards to media attention and all-conference/area selections she often gets overlooked. That will probably change this season as she will be required to lead a young Montini side, but it’s just someone to keep an eye on.
Another person in the same boat is Marist’s Abby Callahan. Again, (understandably) overshadowed by the younger players on the team, but she was the player who really stood out to me on Wednesday. Handles the ball really well, a solid rebounder, and just a nice overall player for Marist.
5. This and that
-Montini have a really nice field house
-Molly Gannon has the green light from everywhere. She was pretty cold, but still had the confidence to keep shooting.
-Jason Nichols was in midseason form in regards to working the refs. Really thought he would get a tech in a summer league game.
-Had a really nice conversation with a parent. Feel free to say hi if you see me during the summer.
-Glenbard West wasn’t half bad either. A team to keep an eye on and could potentially break into the top-20 again at some point.