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Girls basketball preview: Dukes’ depth expected be a strength this season

ELMHURST – Most basketball teams don’t expect big improvement after losing their leading scorer, but York does this season as it returns all but one player from last season.

AnnaBell Lansdowne was the only double-digit scorer on last year’s 17-12 team. She is the only starter that doesn’t return and the resulting depth is causing coach John Constable the good kind of problem.

“This is the first time in my coaching career that I’m running into a dilemma,” Constable said. “We have six girls that are fully capable of starting or finishing a game.”

Heading that list are forwards Sarah Milkowski and Molly Schlecht.

Milkowski, a junior, was West Suburban Silver all-conference as a sophomore. Schlecht led the Dukes with just over seven rebounds per game.

Paige Wrasse gives the Dukes another interior option with varsity experience. Guards Jessica Bianchi, Jenny Coffin and Alyssa Kovatchis will be in the mix for starting time.

With all those returners, and good balance between guards and post players, expectations are very high.

“This group is absolutely capable of 20-plus wins,” Constable said. “We understand how things played out for us last year in conference. We went 6-6 and we lost some games that we really felt we shouldn’t have lost. We felt we should have been contending for a conference title.”

Constable pointed out that the Dukes lost nine games by six points or less last season. He hopes the improvement the team made since the end of last year will help them turns those into wins.

In addition to all the returners, Constable welcomes a group of junior newcomers that he is familiar with from when he coached them as freshmen two years ago. Dayle Mueller and Kathryn Wheeler head that group. Sophomore post players Kelly Polte and Katie Boots will add depth inside. Boots will play more early since Polte broke her hand and is expected to miss another two or three weeks.

Constable, a second-year varsity coach, is looking for a deep playoff run.

“Conference is great but this group has their eyes set on winning a regional and beyond,” he said.

York Dukes

Coach: John Constable
Conference: West Suburban Silver
2012-13 record: 17-12 (6-6 WSS)
First game: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22 vs. Prospect
Top returners:
Jessica Bianchi jr. G
Jenny Coffin sr. G
Alyssa Kovatchis jr. G
Sarah Milkowski jr. F
Molly Schlecht sr. F
Paige Wrasse jr. F
Promising newcomers:
Katie Boots so. F
Dayle Mueller jr. G
Kelly Polte so. F
Kathryn Wheeler jr.

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