Lady Knight hoops solidifies core with summer play
Photo: Vanessa Gould handles the rock with care against Morris. File Photo
SUGAR GROVE—Cracking open a textbook can wait until the summer ends, but breaking through a defensive scheme on the court can’t, if you’re a KHS girls basketball player.
In order to solidify a fluid roster and improve on a campaign that saw a heartbreaking regional loss to Plano four months ago, the summer circuit has taken on more importance than ever.
Kaneland’s group, commanded by head coach Ernie Colombe and assistant coach Tom Dillavan in the summer months, has gone 17-7 with roughly a third of the schedule left.
A night before Tuesday’s action at the Glenbard South Summer League setting, Colombe took stock of the team’s talent and where the crew has been.
“We ran our own league last year, and we wanted to play some bigger schools,” Colombe said. “Glenbard’s got a good league with 19 teams, and most of the schools are 4A schools. Geneva and Downers Grove schools are there, Willowbrook and Glenbard West, so there’s a lot of good schools. We look forward to seeing some new faces.”
Additional action has brought KHS to shootouts in Oregon, Neuqua Valley, Morris and York high schools.
Kaneland lost six seniors, including four starters after February, but summer brings a chance for potentially new starters and new additions, entirely.
“Obviously, we want to win as many games as we can and make a culture where you’re expected to win. I think it’s important from that aspect, but at the same time there’s time’s we’re missing players. For us and our staff, it’s all about getting better,” Colombe said.
Returning to man the lineup are assets like post player Kelly Wallner, Caroline Heimerdinger at the point, Vanessa Gould as a mid-range find and Amber Winquist-Bailey, who finds tasks everywhere on the court.
“Katie Brinkman has also had some big games this summer and has shown she’s capable of scoring,” Colombe said.
Winquist-Bailey, who could see increased minutes at shooting guard, is taking the summer league experience in and realizes the importance.
“We’re finding out what people are good at and finding their position, and playing together as a team, because we haven’t played with these girls yet. So being able to play as a team like this is good,” Winquist-Bailey said.
Dividends will pay off, but it’s too early to tell just how big.
“When we lost the seniors, they had some big roles, so it’s been a big summer in terms of figuring out who might fill those roles,” Colombe said.
The Lady Knights continue the summer action on Thursday, June 27, as part of the Glenbard South league.