Girls basketball preview: Rams mixing veteran and rookie talent

Published: Friday, Nov. 22, 2013 1:30 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Bill Ackerman file photo - backerman@shawmedia.com)
Glenbard East's Allison Hansen drives to the basket in a game against Naperville Central last season. Hansen will be a veteran leader on a Rams team with plenty of young talent.

LOMBARD – After winning just three games last year, Glenbard East’s girls basketball team needed an infusion of new talent. They got it.

The Rams have five sophomores on the varsity roster, all of which should play. Four of those were part of a freshmen team that went 25-1 last year, according to varsity coach Don Finnie.

Finnie kept the group together on the freshman level instead of bringing them up to the sophomores or varsity to give them more playing time together. Now, guards Camryn Biegalski, Ashley Brown, Brittany Paganucci and forward Brasia Solid are up on the varsity team to give the Rams depth.

“Last year was my first year as a head coach and it was a get-to-know-you year,” Finnie said. “This year is more of a rebuilding year.”

Another sophomore, Madison Koch, transferred from IC Catholic after playing on the Knights’ varsity team as a freshman. Koch started 10 games at forward for IC.

The sophomores will play a big role, but four key returners are expected to start. Senior Tajanae Key and junior Allison Hansen return after starting last year. Elie Donovan and Rachael Leifheit are also back after starting for much of the season as well.

Finnie expects Brown to start at point guard with the returners while Brasia Solid could be the first player off the bench.

The Rams will try to utilize their new-found depth on defense.

“We’re going to try pressure defense,” Finnie said. “Hopefully get some steals and score off of fast breaks this year.”

Improvement in the win column will be the primary goal for a program that hasn’t seen much success in recent seasons.

“Each year is going to be a step in the right direction,” Finnie said. “We just want to improve on last year, but we only had three wins. The kids understand that. I’m very happy with the kids. I think we will do better than we did last year. We were competitive in a lot of games last year, but couldn’t get over the hump. This year I think we have the ability to get over that hump.”

In Tuesday’s season opener, Glenbard East defeated Elgin 52-38. Donovan and Solid led the way with 11 points each, while Hansen and Leifheit added eight points apiece.

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Glenbard East Rams

Coach: Don Finnie
Conference: DuPage Valley
2012-13 record: 3-24 (0-12 DVC)
Next game: 1:30 p.m. Saturday vs. Glenbard South
Top returners:
Elie Donovan sr. G
Tajanae Key sr. F
Allison Hansen jr. G/F
Rachael Leifheit jr. G/F
Promising newcomers:
Camryn Biegalski so. G
Ashley Brown so. G
Madison Koch so. F
Brittany Paganucci so. G
Brasia Solid so. F

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