Although the Lyons Township High School girls basketball team’s season ended abruptly with a 48-43 loss against Fenwick in a Class 4A regional semifinal, last season was a success by almost any measure.
The Lions (19-8, 10-2) won the West Suburban Conference Silver Division championship and played well throughout the season.
Coach Paul Krick believes LTHS has the talent to compete for another conference title and hopefully spend more time in the playoffs this time around.
“We hope to compete this year for the conference again,” Krick said. “If we can continue to play together and work to improve, anything is possible. We can get it done if we’re playing our best basketball at the end of the year.”
The Lions return four seniors and a sophomore this year, including senior captains Frannie Corrigan (forward), Nina Scaramella (guard), and Emily Pender (center). This is their third season together on the varsity.
Sophomore guard Sidney Bugaieski and senior center Gabriela Vidakovich are also back this season.
“The leadership of Corrigan, Scaramella, and Pender is going to be key,” Krick said. “They’ve been fortunate to play for other good leaders in recent years. They’ll be able to take the baton and carry on the tradition that we have here.”
The rest of the roster features many new players, including junior forward Camille Branch, junior guard Madisyn Burk, sophomore forward Emma Fink, sophomore guard Kaelan Lee, junior guard Maggie Nutter, junior forward Claire Purcell, and junior guard Grace Thomas.
As the new players gain experience, their development should only help the Lions reach their full potential.
“We have a younger group that I think will make us a deeper team,” Krick said. “They are young and talented. I know it’s a big jump to go from freshman basketball to varsity, but the seniors are going to do a good job of leading those new players.
“We have some animals, and you can’t have a zoo without some animals.”
Of course, health plays a role in any team’s outlook. Pender underwent ACL surgery over the summer. LTHS hopes to have her back sometime during the season.
“Having (Pender) back before the end of the season would make a big difference,” Krick said. “It could really tip the scale for what kind of finish we have at the end of the season.”
While Pender is on the mend and the younger players develop, the Lions will look to maintain their winning ways with their sights set on the conference race and playoffs.
“We’re going to be forced to make up for (Pender’s) presence in the post until she returns,” Krick said. “With other girls stepping up though, I think there are enough tools in the toolbox to make something pretty cool.”