Sycamore returned nearly everyone from last year’s team. But the Spartans also gained a valuable player in the process.
Sophomore center Kayley Aase missed most of last year because of an injury and is still working herself back into things.
“She played last year and she had a torn meniscus and she gutted it out. She played six games on that,” Sycamore coach Brett Goff said. “She didn’t play all summer because she had surgery so she came back to practice and this is really the first time she’s practiced since eighth-grade year. We’re proud of the way she plays.”
Aase had a breakout performance in Sycamore’s 32-29 win over DeKalb on Dec. 13. She scored six points and pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds, helping limit DeKalb to one shot. While Sycamore has a multitude of perimeter threats, Aase could be a big player in the post for the Spartans.
“That’s something we’ve been lacking this year is the rebounding, who’s going to step up and this is her best game by far,” Goff said. “She really hasn’t played basketball since her eighth grade year.”
Bennett, Whitman take in Sycamore-DeKalb: Northern Illinois women’s basketball coach Kathi Bennett was in attendance for Sycamore’s 32-29 win over DeKalb last week.
Both teams feature a couple players considered to be Division I college prospects.
Also with Bennett was NIU assistant coach Debbie Whitman, who was the former head coach of the Barbs from 2005-2010. Whitman coached the Barbs to their first sectional championship in 2006.
T’wolves face challenge in Amboy: Indian Creek will head to Amboy for its Christmas Tournament, which begins on Monday, and Timberwolves coach Paul Muchmore said his team’s draw is tough. Indian Creek is in the same pool as Ottawa Marquette, a successful Class 2A school, and Plano, a 3A team.
There’s two pools of four teams with the winners meeting for the title.
“It’ll be a good test for us,” Muchmore said. “And that’s what Christmas should be, a good test.”
Royals at home again: Hinckley-Big Rock has won seven straight regional championships. If the Royals are to win an eighth, they’ll be able to do it on their home court. Postseason assignments were announced this week, and H-BR hosts a regional which includes Elgin Academy, Crystal Lake Faith Lutheran, Elgin Harvest Christian Academy and Mooseheart.
“We’re always glad when we can host a regional. We’ve hosted a few regionals in the past few years, and that’s nice when you can play at home,” H-BR coach Greg Burks said. “The groupings are a little different this year. We’ve gone south for two years and now we’re back up north. I never worry too much about where they’re going to send you because there’s not much you can do about that.”
Ross Jacobson contributed to this report.
VIEWS:Montini field will challenge Barbs
The postseason is what really matters in high school basketball.
For the talented DeKalb Barbs, it means moving up to Class 4A come regional time after playing in a mostly Class 3A conference.
Once again, the Barbs and Huntley are in the same regional, after the Red Raiders knocked DeKalb out of the postseason in 2012-13.
Barbs coach Chris Davenport does a good job of playing a tough non-conference slate, and this season it’s no different.
Next week, DeKalb will get its biggest challenge of the season in the Montini Christmas Tournament, which features nine teams in the Chicago Sun-Times Super 25 (Trinity, Fremd, Rolling Meadows, Montini, Marian Catholic, Huntley, Batavia, Neuqua Valley and New Trier).
“It’s the best tournament in the state, bar none,” Davenport said. “I don’t think there’s anyone even close to be honest with you.”
It will be a nice test for the 11th-seeded Barbs, who open up against No. 6 Nequa Valley at 1:15 p.m. Monday.
DeKalb was in a Christmas tournament with bigger schools last season – the Naperville North/Benet Tournament – but was able to get into Montini when Broncos coach Jason Nichols asked Davenport to join.
“It’ll be a great growing experience,” Davenport said. “Because if we’re not ready to play we’ll have a rough four days.”
The Barbs currently stand at 6-3, and Davenport said his team is still trying to find it’s identity.
A clash with Huntley appears inevitable, and next week in Lombard will be a nice barometer for DeKalb.
“They’re very good,” Davenport said. “If we can continue to get better by that time, we’ll be ready to go, and they’re beatable.”
SPOTLIGHT ON ...
DeKalb, sophomore, guard
Patrick has been a big scorer for the Barbs early on. She had 16 points in DeKalb’s loss to East Moline United on Saturday.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
DeKalb at Montini Christmas
Tournament, Monday-Dec. 28
The Barbs will get plenty of preparation for the Class 4A postseason in what coach Chris Davenport called the best Christmas tournament in the sate.
Sycamore at Oswego East
Tournament, Monday-Dec. 28
The Spartans look to improve on their strong start in a quality tournament.
1. Sycamore (5-3, 2-0 NI Big 12 East) – Spartans on the right track in conference race after upset win at DeKalb.
2. DeKalb (6-3, 1-1 NI Big 12 East) – Barbs face a tough challenge at Montini Christmas Tournament, but hope to get back on track in conference play Friday.
3. Kaneland (4-4, 1-1 NI Big 12 East) – Up and down start for a team replacing a lot of talent from last season.
4. Hinckley-Big Rock (6-5, 3-0 LTC) – Big early-season LTC win over Indian Creek last week.
5. Indian Creek (5-5, 3-1 LTC) – T’Wolves on the right track in league play.
6. Genoa-Kingston (5-9, 1-2 BNC East) – Cogs have already topped last season’s win total.
7. Hiawatha (2-9, 0-4 LTC) – Hawks are off until Jan. 6.