Waubonsie Valley takes momentum into holiday tourney

Waubonsie Valley is one of the hottest teams in the area entering the holiday tournament season.

The Warriors (10-1, 3-0 DuPage Valley Conference) opened the season with an impressive 91-25 win over Oswego to show signs of a memorable campaign. The Warriors' lone blemish came in a 55-54 defeat to St. Charles East on Nov. 29. Waubonsie Valley coach Brett Love said his team is playing strong for 32 minutes.

"We're playing pretty well at this point in the season," Love said. "Most of our games have been 15-plus point wins. We have a talented and athletic young group that bond well with each other. I'm looking forward to be tested to see what we need to work on and how we respond."

Senior guard Khaliah Reid, a transfer from Metea Valley, has been a spark, averaging 17 points per game. Senior Taylor Curry is averaging 15 points and freshman Danyella Mporokoso is averaging a team-high 19.1 points per game, while sophomore returnee Lily Newton is averaging 9.5 rebounds.

"I believe we have a great potential based on the first half of the season," Love said. "We're taking it one game at a time, but we are also focused on growing one practice and one game at a time. We look forward to a 20-plus game winning season and would like to go far in postseason."

West Chicago update:

Fourteen games into the season, the West Chicago girls basketball team remains one of the surprise stories.

The Wildcats (11-3, 3-3 Upstate Eight Conference) won just eight games last season, and are off to their best start since 2011-12.

Sophomore Jasmyn Triguers is leading the team in scoring, averaging 23 points per game to go with 55 steals. The Wildcats are set to play in the Sandburg Holiday Tournament.

West Chicago coach Mark Fitzgerald said his team's defining trait is determination. Despite not having a senior on the roster, the Wildcats have pulled out several close victories.

"I continue to be impressed with our team's determination to get better each and every day," he said. "This young group of athletes have come so far this year, and it's amazing to see the contributions they have made in putting West Chicago back on the girls basketball map.

"I'm very excited to see where this group of freshmen, sophomores and juniors will take us the rest of the year and beyond."

Fitzgerald also pointed out the consistent play of Miranda Enochs and Kailey Sabala.

"Our two post players, Miranda and Kailey, have given us huge minutes with their strong play," he said.

Fenton update:

One of the most experienced teams on paper in DuPage County is Fenton. The Bison (7-7, 1-5 UEC) have 10 seniors on their roster, but coach David Mello said his team returned very few players with significant varsity playing time.

"Despite having 10 seniors, we returned very few with varsity experience," Mello said. "We've been competitive in many of our losses. We usually have one stretch where we allow our opponent to build the lead, but the girls never stop competing.

"Our focus moving forward is to continue to improve each game and be in a position to take our best shot at whichever highly seeded team we face in regionals."

Senior Kaitlyn Hoffing is having a big season for the Bison, leading the team in scoring, assists and steals.

"Kaitlyn has been our rock this season," Mello said. "This is her fourth year on the varsity, and she's really elevated her game."

Lake Park update:

The Lancers head into the holiday season with momentum following impressive wins on back-to-back days.

They defeated Glenbard North and Glenbard West to improve to 8-3 and 3-1 in the DuKane Conference before a loss to St. Charles North on Wednesday.

Senior guard Gabi Burgess, a Missouri S&T recruit, is a dynamic two-way player. Her ability to push the ball up the court with blazing speed, find an open teammate and play solid defense sparked the Lancers against Glenbard West.

Burgess and senior forward Grace Cord form a solid one-two punch and have relied on their experience to help the younger players. Senior forward Michela Barbanente is known for her work in softball, but her toughness, strength and athletic ability gives the Lancers' an inside force. Barbanente, a Penn State softball recruit, tallied 10 points and 6 rebounds against the Hilltoppers.

"The 24 hours we had playing two games was a good 24 hours we had for us," Lake Park coach Brian Rupp said. "We played well the last few games. We knew Glenbard West was a great opponent after just playing the night before. We've been shooting well lately. Grace has been playing great for us this year."

The Lancers play in the Dundee-Crown Christmas Tournament, opening up against Hampshire on Monday.

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