Experienced girls basketball team starts their journey in Schaumburg


Senior Leah Robinson sets up a shot

Charlie Gruner, Sports Editor

State or bust.

Under newly hired head coach Brittany Johnson, the senior lead girls basketball team is eager to make their impact on the program felt, starting with a Thanksgiving tournament in Schaumburg spanning from Nov. 15 to Nov. 25.

“There are some very different teams at this tournament, and it is our chance to win some statement making games,” coach Johnson said. “If we come out of it undefeated playing good basketball, it will prepare us well for a pretty tough month of December.”

In order to accomplish this goal and gain some much needed momentum at the start of the season, the girls will have to beat some tough competition. Those teams include the host Schaumburg, Boylan, and Stevenson, all of which made the IHSA state playoffs in 2015.

“This tournament will hopefully show all of the teams that we play that we are not here to mess around, and that we came to win and dominate,” senior Leah Robinson said.

These games will be the first opportunity for the team to play under their new coach, and they see it as an early opportunity to build chemistry and develop as a team under new leadership.

“The Schaumburg tournament will help us figure out what everyone’s individual role will have to be in order for us to be successful this year,” senior Cookie Boothe said. “Our play will also show us the things we need to work on in terms of communication and focusing more on our new plays from coach Johnson.”

“I think that under our new coach we will certainly change the way we play,” senior Krystal Forrester said. “We are stronger than ever before because of our new strength and conditioning program, so our game will be much faster.”

This year’s team is dominated by the senior class, led by captains and returning starters, Krystal Forrester and Leighah Wool. They welcome back all five starters from last year, and nine players returning from the varsity team last year.

Even with all of the experience within the team, there are still changes that can be made, especially under a new coach in her first year.

“One of the first things we changed over the summer was the speed at which they played. We really incorporated a fast break style offense and full court defenses into our game,” Johnson said.

One thing that has stood out about this group of seniors over any class in recent years is their determination and drive to win, along with their extensive varsity experience, with six players now being on the team for their third year.

“The first time that I met the entire team I asked them all what the goal was for this season, and they all said immediately that they wanted to get down state,” coach Johnson said.   “These seniors are very motivated and they have one thing in mind right now and that’s to get down state.”

“The tempo at which we play with is definitely going to change. I think we’re better prepared going into this season because of the preseason conditioning and bonding we did with coach Johnson,” Wool said.

After an early exit from the postseason last year, the goal for this senior class is about one thing and one thing only, and that is to make it down state.

“My hope and expectation for my senior season is to accomplish something that no Evanston team has done in a very long time, and that is to go all the way,” Wool said.