Prospect's Gilhooly has options; Barrington's O'Riordan shines in spotlight

Prospect's girls basketball team was seven games into its season after last Friday's 61-54 win at Rolling Meadows.

And the Knights, who had carved out a 5-2 record, have also had seven different players reach double figures.

One of them, senior Molly Gilhooly, actually scored in double figures (19) in the first half against the Mustangs, and finished with a career-high 26.

Her previous high was 13.

"It was just all of my teammates being able to space themselves out and doing their part to let me do mine," Gilhooly said of her big night. "It's a team thing."

"I thought our team did a great job of realizing Molly had the hot hand and making sure to find her for looks on offensive possessions,'' said Knights coach Matt Weber whose team improved to 6-2 after Tuesday's win over Conant. "We also did a great job of running out sets for her and that execution allowed her some open looks."

Gilhooly also puts a lot of work into another game.

In fact, she had just wrapped up play with her Midwest Machine softball club a week prior to the Meadows game.

Gilhooly was an all-conference outfielder and shortstop for coach Krystina Leazer's softball team last spring.

Picking one sport over the other is a tough decision for the Manchester University (Ind.) recruit.

"It just depends on the season," said Gilhooly, who plans to study elementary special education at Manchester and possibly getting into coaching one day. "It's just whichever one I'm playing at that time of the season. Picking between softball and basketball for college was definitely an ongoing process but ultimately I chose to go to softball. I looked at the college first, then I talked to the softball coaches and I had more of a bond with that program."

And now she is bonding with her high school basketball teammates, who are off to a 6-2 start with losses to two teams (ranked York and Glenbrook South) with a combined record of 15-1.

The other teammates who have joined her in with double-figure scoring games are Nicole Atteo, Taylor Linke, Alli Linke, Skylar Splinter, Zoe Brown and Lauren Harrel.

"We have different players step up every night," Weber said. "And we always find the hot hand, which could be someone new every night."

Showcase performance: The Chicagoland Invitational Showcase is just that. A chance to showcase some of the top players in the state.

Barrington junior Molly O'Riordan took full advantage, showing off her inside and outside game while scoring a game-high 20 points in a 61-57 win over Geneva.

She was named Barrington's Player of the Game.

"I think I definitely shot well from the outside in the first half and I brought more of an inside game during the second half which is OK," said O'Riordan, who has received about 10 offers from mid-major Division I schools. "It's nice to be balanced like that."

It was a big win for the Fillies (8-2), who have a big game with the Daily Herald No. 1 team Fremd (9-0) on Friday night in Barrington.

"Last season in this event, we lost our lead in the second half to Naperville North and lost a tight game," O'Riordan said. "So it was nice to get a win this year and bounce back from an earlier loss to Libertyville (at Buffalo Grove Bison Classic). I think after that game we lost some respect. But after this big win against Geneva, we've hopefully gained some more prestige and showed we are one of the top teams in Illinois."

O'Riordan said she hoped to commit to a college by next spring or summer.

"It would be nice not to have to deal with that stress during the live times of AAU," said O'Riordan, who has a season-high of 31 points.

On the very next day after the Geneva game, Barrington was back in the spotlight again, playing a showcase event at the United Center.

This time, it was Purdue commit Sophie Swanson lighting up the scoreboard with a season-high 36 points as the Fillies edged Whitney Young, 66-54.

Barrington girls basketball history was made in that game as junior Gwen Adler, another Division I commit (but for volleyball at Seton Hall) pulled down a single game school record of 23 rebounds.

Coincidentally, she broke the record of O'Riordan's mother (formerly Wendy McKee), who graduated in 1988.

Moving to the top: With a perfect record through nine games, Fremd girls basketball team finds it No. 1 in the Daily Herald poll followed by Hersey in the second spot.

The Vikings have scored at least 70 points in four and have scored more than 59 four times.

"I feel like it's probably one of our better offensive groups we've had," said Fremd coach Dave Yates, whose team was the 2020 Class 4A state champion. "We've got lots of kids who can shoot the ball. We've had games where we've hit eight, nine or ten 3-pointers, That's something we probably haven't had the last few years. We've got shooters and more shooters with strong athletic kids who can go inside so I like that. And our pressure and our defense kind of create our offense.

"We've also got big kids and big bodies and kids who can defend so that's what excites me about this group. It isn't that we're just trying to go out and outscore people. We've got multiple kids who I would say are really strong defenders so that's exciting and makes it really fun to coach these guys. And what we're trying to do is get them to understand their potential and they have a lot of potential to be really good."

And the offense is balanced.

"I feel like in the past we had to have a certain kid do something in order for us to play at a high level. There are seven kids out here who can score 20 points on a given night." Sophomore Coco Urlacher enjoyed a 14-point game in Fremd's win over defending state champion Stevenson last Saturday.

"She's had that in her all along," Yates said of Coco's ability to score. "She has a lot of her sister (Kace, a senior) in her. They both have a nose for the ball and they play with an edge that's pretty fun to watch."

Yates also added that experience is helping the Vikings' success this season.

"We were so young last season," he said. "A lot of these kids were just getting their feet wet for the first time. I don't feel like we have that many kids this year. We've got a lot of kids who have played a lot of basketball so they're not fazed by being here now."

Nice starts: Conant senior captain Lauren Fricke is averaging 10 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists in five games. Sophomore teammate Aria Mazza is currently shooting 40% on 3-pointers on an average of 6 attempts a game.

Hoffman Estates senior forward Maya Schmidt recorded double-digit rebounds in the Hawks' first five games.

Pirate leader: Palatine senior Megan Van Brunt has led the Pirates (6-3) not just on the floor with 10 points a game and 7 rebounds but also off the floor.

"She organizes everything we do from gear to team activities," said Palatine coach Bill LePage. "I know every coach wants someone like Megan on their team. She picks us up when the tough gets going."

The Pirates play at the prestigious Wheaton North Holiday tournament Dec. 26 to 29.

Approaching 1,000: Maine West's girls basketball program is closing in on a milestone.

The Warriors are only 11 wins shy of 1,000 wins in their history.

Coming off an all-area volleyball season, senior Jaclyn Riedl is averaging a double-double for the Warriors with 13.6 points per game and 10.6 rebounds per game.

Sharp shooter: Junior guard Ciara McMahon has started strong, averaging 15 points this season, including a single-game school record eight 3-pointers which broke the former mark of Mustangs freshmen coach Megan King.

"Ciara has been very efficient offensively," said Meadows coach Ryan Kirkorsky, whose team is 5-3.

Roisin Grandberry and Emily Romanacce have been solid all around performers. Both of them have contributed on both ends of the floor, keys to our good start.

"We're fortunate to have tremendous senior leadership from our four seniors Carline Ciccone, Charlotte Errico, Maria Fronimos, and Cassidy Pardini," Kirkorsky said.

Grens' good week: First-year coach Courtney Lindfors saw her team go 3-0 last week, including a career-high 20-point game from junior guard Maggie Maher.

South success: Maine South (5-3, 2-1) handed Glenbrook South (8-1) its first loss when the Hawks' Meegan Fahy (18 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) and Ally Pape (16 points, 7 rebounds) helped lead the way to the 62-45 triumph on Tuesday night in the Central Suburban South game.

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