Trigueros doing it all for surging West Chicago
West Chicago girls basketball coach Mark Fitzgerald had to do some extra research into the program's history early this season.
Fitzgerald didn't mind the additional work, though.
The Wildcats (8-1) are one of the early season surprise storylines in DuPage County. The Wildcats, according to Fitzgerald, are off to one of the best starts in program history. A year ago, the Wildcats won just eight games, but they matched that total in a thrilling 42-41 win at Bartlett on Friday night.
"The eight wins is the most number of season wins since the 2011-12 team," Fitzgerald said. "I also went back to see if we have ever won our first eight game of the year, but I couldn't find a season to top it. I went back to 2006-07 which is the first season of game by game results I could find."
The news gets even better for Fitzgerald: Not one player on the varsity roster is a senior.
"Everyone will be coming back next year," Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald credited unselfish play, a defensive toughness and determination not to lose as the team's main staples through eight games. Sophomore point guard Jasmyn Trigueros is living up to her potential, averaging a team-high 23 points per game. She leads the team in scoring, rebounds, steals and assists. Sophomore guard Abby Del Preto is averaging 6.3 points.
"Our most valuable player of the first part of the season has been Jasmyn," Fitzgerald said. "She's a determined and a high basketball IQ player. Abby Del Preto provides us with mental toughness to compete.
"Abby is a fierce competitor. Junior forward Ellie Wingstedt and junior guard Sydney Bennema have contributed greatly with their defense. Sophomore Elina Velasco is our team defensive specialist. Her unbelievable quickness is a real asset for our team."
York also part of undefeated crew:
Just like the football team, the York girls basketball team is looking to make an extended run before losing its first game.
The Dukes (7-0, 2-0 West Suburban Silver) have one of the most experienced teams in the area with seven of their top players back from last season. The Dukes are blending a high octane offense and stingy defense to wins, averaging 60 points while allowing just 38 points per game.
Also, the Dukes are averaging 13 assists and a whopping 14.5 steals per game. The Dukes have five players averaging nearly eight points or more a game.
"We're playing tough, unselfish basketball to start the season and our girls are much more comfortable in our defensive and offensive systems," York coach Brandon Collings said. "We're a tough matchup offensively because of our guards, who all are able to score at all three levels and are unselfish enough to hit their teammate for the open shot.
"But our defense has probably been our biggest improvement this season. We're creating turnovers in bunches which has led to easy buckets."
Senior guard Mariann Blass is a big factor for the Dukes, averaging 18.5 points per game. Lizzie Baldridge is averaging 9.0 rebounds and Stella Kohl is averaging 10 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists. Collings said the balance and depth on his team is a big reason why the team has targeted winning the program's first sectional championship since 1988.
"Mariann continues to prove she's one of the best overall scorers and shooters in the area," Collings said. "Lizzie runs the show for us offensively and does a tremendous job at the point of our press. Stella's size, strength and length make her tough to guard anywhere on the offensive end. Hannah Meyers is an incredibly tough and creative guard who continues to get better and better. Anna Filosa comes off the bench for us. She had 25 points against Oak Park-River Forest last week. Angelina Downer is a forward who continues to improve around the basket and is our leading rebounder."
Neuqua Valley update:
With quality wins over Sandburg and Naperville North, Neuqua Valley (5-2) is off to its berst start in three years, according to coach Mike Williams.
The Wildcats lost to defending Class 3A state champion Carmel at the buzzer but suffered a blowout defeat to 3A runner-up Nazareth on Nov. 19.
Williams said Caitlin Washington, Kylee Norkus and Tia Poulakidas are among the players stepping up early in the season.
"We're a balanced team between young incoming new starters, returning juniors that have been on varsity for a couple of years and some great senior leadership that's been on varsity, so pretty balanced basically which comes down to a mature team," Williams said.
Timothy Christian update:
Timothy Christian is playing at a high level through the first few weeks of the season. The Trojans (5-3, 1-1 Metro Suburban) have been leaning on the scoring of seniors Grace Roland and Madde Drye. Roland is averaging 16 points per game, with Drye averaging 10.5 points and 7 rebounds.
"This has been one of our stronger starts to a season," Timothy Christian coach Jill Groenewold said. "Our seniors are certainly leading the way. This group is going to have to play team basketball night in and night out and play strong team defense for us to be a solid team. We have a lot of contributors helping us from the bench, which is a great benefit."