It's back, baby! Hoops season is once again upon us, and I couldn't be any more grateful. It was a rough tall. We've discussed that before. But now we can turn the page to a new season.
Last night, I took in the Parkview vs. Turner girls basketball game. I came away impressed...with both teams.
I wasn't expecting much from the Trojans this season. They lost Carson Nitz, one of the program's best players in the past decade or so. Elise Metzger, a terrific shooter. Ally Bosetti, a terrific defender. There was a lot to replace, and the two players that really saw extensive varsity minutes were guard Mara Fowler and Olivia Tinder, and she was just a freshman last year.
Well, here's what I found out: Tinder is a beast. She's a tough matchup for any team. Super physical, aggressive mindset. Not afraid of contact. Really nice touch around the basket. Hard to stop. If she can continue to develop her outside shot, Tinder will score a ton of points in the next three years.
So you have your lead in place. Who's going to take up the supporting roles? Fowler can really shoot, and she showed that last night. I also liked the way sophomore Sabrina Fitzgerald played. Not afraid of the moment in her first varsity game.
Junior Marlee Young was the best athlete on the court. Strong, fast, just solid, and she finished with 11 points. Gabby Gaziano played tough, and though she didn't show it in the game, junior Jennifer Njoo is a shooter the Trojans coaching staff really trusts.
Speaking of those Turner coaches, Jennifer Pozzani has joined head coach Nick Faralli's staff. This is a good thing. Jen would be an asset to any staff in the area, and the Trojans will no doubt benefit from her presence.
I don't know how the Trojans will stack up with the top teams in the Rock Valley Conference, but I do know this: They will win some games this year. More than I thought. And what's more: There are only three seniors on this team. The Trojans' best basketball is ahead of them. Look out!
I really like this Vikings team, especially within the context of the conference they now play in. Like Turner, I'm not sure how they would stack up with the McFarland's and Clinton's of the world. But in the Trailways, this team is going to win. A lot. I think they can compete for a top three spot for sure.
Here's what I liked.
They have some nice size, first of all. Kristine Mumm and Taylor Burrell are solid inside, and they have two other girls that are listed at 5-foot-7. Not huge by any means, but you don't look at their roster and immediately assume they are going to get killed on the glass by a bigger team.
I also like their guard play. Hunter Baars and Lexy Olson are just solid seniors with experience, and freshman Jenna Olin is a name you're going to hear about a lot. Olin, who stands just 5-foot-2, has one of the prettiest jumpers I've seen in a long time. Love the way the ball comes off her hand, and her rotation is textbook.
Now that she's shown what she can do, defenses will certainly try and clamp down on her, so that will be a new challenge. I like Burrell's game inside, though she was plagued by foul trouble last night. And the guards can handle the ball and shoot.
Solid team, led by a solid coach in Chad Smith. Excited to see what they can do.
Tonight on the docket: Hononegah. This is our area's best team, boys OR girls. I'm pumped to get my first glance tonight in Huntley.