Bridgette Edmeier is well-versed in the history of Hinckley-Big Rock girls basketball. Her older sister, Bianca, was a part of H-BR’s first state championship team in 2009.
But with no remaining members of the Royals’ back-to-back state championship teams on the roster, this year’s team wanted to make its own name.
“Just create our own identity and we’re doing a good job of it,” Edmeier said. “We have a young team and I think that’s awesome because we’ve progressed and gotten more chemistry. This is the only year we’ve all played together.”
With only two starters coming back from last year’s team that won H-BR’s sixth consecutive regional championship, H-BR coach Greg Burks knew there might be some growing pains early on.
But the Royals proved to be a formidable foe in the Little Ten Conference, recording a 6-2 mark in conference play and losing only to Newark and Serena.
“We have been good defensively and when we’ve coupled that with balanced scoring and intelligent basketball we’ve been pretty tough to beat,” Burks said. “Unfortunately, we’ve had some stretches where decision-making has been an issue and we’ve had trouble scoring.”
Inconsistency can often be a trait of a young team and Burks said it has showed over the past few weeks. After battling Serena in the semifinals of the Little Ten Tournament, H-BR was dominated by Indian Creek in the third-place game. The Royals came back with a nice win over Lisle, but followed it up with a tough game against Paw Paw.
“We’ve been up and down the last several games,” Burks said. “If you can figure out game to game what we’re going to do you’re a better person than i am. You hope there is some consistency.”
But H-BR will be helped by playing this week’s regional at home. The Royals played their last four games of the regular season at home - winning all of them - and hope to get two more games on the floor at Hinckley.
“I played in most of the regional last year so I know it’s tough,but we can do it,” junior Lauren Paver said. “We do better on our home floor I think.”
Even with all of the ups and downs, H-BR still managed to earn the No. 1 seed in the Hinckley-Big Rock Regional and are the favorites to come away with the program’s seventh consecutive regional championship.
Yet the Royals continue to embrace the underdog role.
“I think some people didn’t believe in us as much and I don’t think there’s that much pressure anymore,” Edmeier said. “We have to come out strong, we have to show who we are.”