Scouting St. Charles North
St. Charles North's Ava Tarka is one of the players coach Colleen Backer is counting on to help with ballhandling and pressure defense.
Daily Herald file photo
With more freshmen and sophomores (five) on their roster than seniors (four), Colleen Backer's 2012-13 St. Charles North girls basketball team will feature a mixture of the present and future hoping to use its team quickness against an experienced collection of Upstate Eight Conference River Division foes.
Seniors Natalie Winkates, Alex Silverman, Lauren Durocher and Ava Tarka are back from last year's 8-21 team. Against the veteran cores at Geneva, Batavia and St. Charles East, those seniors will need to provide leadership for the North Stars' newcomers.
"It's going to be a very different lineup than you saw last year," Backer said. "There's a lot of teams with a lot of returners so it should be competitive this year. We'll be a team that people don't know a lot of our names but we'll be fine. We're going to utilize our speed and cause some problems for other teams matching up with us."
Junior Liz McNally is the tallest North Star at 6-foot-3. After her comes 6-1 Morgan Rosencrants, one of two freshmen who make the jump to the varsity lineup.
Rosencrants has the ability to score from the perimeter too but on a team without much height will be needed inside.
The North Stars have a number of players Backer said are fighting for playing time. Backer said she'll be working on developing a rotation that works well together on the court.
Sophomore Sam Novak was up as a freshman last year and will handle ballhandling duties with Tarka, Winkates, Silverman, sophomore Ashling Davern, freshman Kyla Helsel and others.
"We're doing some combination of things to get the ball up the court," Backer said. "I want to utilize our speed because we don't have a lot of height. There's a lot of competition for playing time right now. Lot of new faces."
Sophomore Nicole Davidson was the MVP of the North Stars' sophomore team last year and like classmate Davern had a good opening week of practice. McNally tweaked her back in practice and will be counted on for rebounds and an inside presence.
"Nicole is shining right now, she's a scorer, she can score inside and outside," Backer said of the 5-foot-10 guard who lasted the longest for the North Stars in the 3-point contest at the end of last year.
"On a positive note we have a lot of versatile players that can play big but also handle on the outside that will be hard to match up with our speed on offense," Backer said.
Coach: Colleen Backer
Last year: 8-21
Key players: Natalie Winkates (sr., G); Alex Silverman (sr., G); Liz McNally (jr., F/C)
Skinny: North Stars need to find right mix against difficult schedule
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