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TAKE 2: DeKalb girls basketball still the favorite for conference crown, but Sycamore not far behind

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Daily Chronicle sports editor Ross Jacobson and sports reporter Steve Nitz spend their days covering the area’s sports scene. Occasionally, they give their viewpoints on those local sports. In this installment of their Take 2 column, they discuss the upcoming girls basketball season.

Jacobson: Thanksgiving tournaments have just wrapped up for girls basketball teams, which means most teams have played a few games and are starting to get adjusted to their new rosters and the new rules. 

To start us off, give me a team in the area who might surprise people with their play this season. 

Nitz: I really like Sycamore’s chances this season. The Spartans return nearly everyone off last year’s squad, including 2013 Daily Chronicle all-area selections Bailey Gilbert and Lauren Goff. 

I’m not sure Sycamore will be able to contend with DeKalb for the Northern Illinois Big 12 East championship, but the Spartans, a young team last season, with a year of experience under their belt – will be a very formidable foe this season. I’m looking for them to really do some damage in the Class 3A postseason.

Jacobson: Sycamore is a great pick. They were a really young team last year and will still be young agewise this season, but have an added year of playing at the varsity level. 

I really like Hinckley-Big Rock. Jacqueline Madden and Lauren Paver will be one of the better guard combinations in the Little Ten and will keep them in any game. The big question is whether the Royals will have enough inside. They return Karrigan Cowan, but the loss of Abbie Tosch and Bridgette Edmeier could loom large. 

In the end, who is the best team in the area though?

Nitz: I don’t really think there’s a debate – it’s DeKalb. How often are we going to see a team with two Division I prospects, as the Barbs have with Madelyne Johnson and Brittney Patrick? I think DeKalb’s depth may be a question mark, but this team is an overwhelming favorite for its fourth straight Northern Illinois Big 12 East title, and could make a long run in the postseason.

Jacobson: I’m right there with you. There are a few concerns with DeKalb like a lack of seniors, but they feature a number of players who have played prominent roles on the varsity team before. How much will a leader like the 2012-2013 Daily Chronicle Player of the Year Rachel Torres be missed? Also can a team that has relied so much on its defense adjust to the newly enforced hand-checking rules?

But right now the Barbs are the best team in the area. It won’t be easy getting through the NI Big 12 East – Sycamore should give them a much more competitive game this season – but if I had to pick a team, it would be DeKalb.

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