Girls basketball hungry to silence doubters at Schaumburg tournament

Charlie Gruner, Sports Editor

While many may think this will be a down year for girls basketball due to the outstanding talent lost to graduation, the team is still chock full of young superstars ready to take control of the program, starting Nov. 14 at the Schaumburg Holiday tournament.

“This season is going to be a journey and a process,” coach Brittanny Johnson said. “Although we have incredible talent, we lack that in game experience, so my job as a coach early on is to play with different lineups and see what works the best.”

Many players agree that a strong start will set the tone for a successful season.

“I think that it is very crucial to start off the season with a few wins,” senior Ta’Mia Banks said. “There will be some tough competition at the Schaumburg tournament, so winning some games there will boost our confidence and show that we can hang with anyone.”

In order to 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 2016.

“The good thing about starting off with the Schaumburg tournament is that we will be facing teams that we could see in the playoffs, so it will be a great way to gauge where we are very early on,” Johnson said.

It is undeniable that this year is a transition phase and a different look on the court.  Last year’s senior class became the winningest in program history, leaving this year’s squad with an unproven mentality.

Johnson said that the mantra of this team is going to be “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish”. She believes that they have a great chance to make steady improvements throughout the entire season behind returning seniors Ta’mia Banks and Nadia Thorman-McKey.

“I feel that too many people are doubting our team and what we are capable of,” Thorman-McKey said. “We have gotten an incredible start to our season because of our hard work during open gyms and conditioning. We’ve held each other extremely accountable.”

Entering Johnson’s second year as head coach, her goal is to continue to simplify things by alleviating unwanted pressure on herself and the team.

“Losing to Maine West the way we did early in the playoffs last year, I still think about to this day,” Johnson said. “In hindsight, I noticed some things that I did as a coach leading up to that game and during that game that I would have changed. But hindsight is 20/20, and we need to remember that feeling and get right back there.”

The Kits are eager to begin their new chapter in Schaumburg for a five game stint against some state powerhouses, with an opportunity to show people that there will be no hangover from last season.