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Girls basketball preview: Blazers’ deep bench will come in handy

Addison Trail's Brianna Murray (middle) splits a pair of Willowbrook defenders in a game last season. Murray is one of several players returning to a deep Blazers' squad.
Addison Trail's Brianna Murray (middle) splits a pair of Willowbrook defenders in a game last season. Murray is one of several players returning to a deep Blazers' squad.

ADDISON – Watching Addison Trail girls basketball this season could feel somewhat like hockey since the Blazers will have so many players going in and out.

AT coach Rob Schader says the Blazers will play 12 girls on a regular basis and will try to use that depth to their advantage.

“We’re all about the same kind of kid,” Schader said. “We’re pretty quick this year. Defensively we’re starting to figure it out. Offensively we’re going to push to hopefully take care of the offensive end. We’re playing 12 kids so we’re going to push it.”

Nine seniors on the roster will be a big part of that depth. Four returners, Brianna Murray, Katie Dziabis, Connie Barkoulies and Arleta Arizi, played significant minutes last year. That group will be in the leadership role for the team.

Five juniors and a sophomore are also on the varsity team. Sophomore Tegan Graff figures to be a fixture in the rotation. Juniors Rachel Baumgartner, Annina Beltrano, Kelly Delawder and Stephanie Messina will also be a part of the Blazers’ deep rotation.

Messina is back after suffering an ACL injury in January. Senior Melyssa Pham is also back in action after tearing an ACL as a sophomore.

Schader expects the depth to come in handy with the new hand-check rules that have seen foul numbers skyrocket in early season games.

“With the new rules you’re going to need to play a lot of kids to be successful,” he said. “It’s going to be really hard to play any kind of defense and you’re going to have to rotate a lot of kids and hopefully get some steals.”

In the season opener on Monday, AT lost to Riverside Brookfield, 52-25.

Addison Trail Blazers

Coach: Rob Schader
Conference: West Suburban Gold
2012-13 record: 7-20 (2-10 WSG)
Next game: 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23 at Fenton
Top returners:
Arleta Arizi sr. F
Connie Barkoulies sr. G
Katie Dziabis sr. F
Brianna Murray sr. G
Promising newcomers:
Rachel Baumgartner jr. F
Annina Beltrano jr. G
Kelly Delawder jr. G
Tegan Graff so. F
Stephanie Messina jr. G
Melyssa Pham sr. F
 

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