DOWNERS GROVE – Heading into his second year as head coach, Stephen Bolt sees a new level of commitment within the Downers Grove North girls basketball program.
“I think we have a good group of girls who have bought in and matured as players,” Bolt said. “After losing some close games last season, a lot of the girls came together and began working on their game. They have made substantial improvements.”
After a 2012-13 campaign in which the Trojans finished 9-19, Bolt refuses to mince words, emphatically stating that the girls squad wants to “contend and win the first ever West Suburban Silver championship in school history.”
North will have its hands full dethroning defending conference champion Proviso West, but an intact core from last year’s team seems to be up to the challenge.
Leading the charge is senior guard Sarah Costello. The 5-foot-10 University of Indianapolis commit is a natural ball handler who can penetrate the lane, get to the rim and finish.
Additionally, the Trojans’ captain is also a defensive force, averaging 7.6 rebounds per game last season. Bolt believes that Costello – who he says spent the offseason fine-tuning her outside shot – is ready to carry the team.
“Sarah is our leader and the heart of our team” Bolt said. “She has a great attitude and the girls follow her lead and playmaking abilities.”
Sophomores Jaida Green and Lauren Porcelli will provide some depth at the guard position. Green averaged over 10 points a game as a freshman while Porcelli is one of the team’s best defenders and toughest competitors, Bolt said.
Senior Colleen Honn will rotate in at guard and small forward, providing stability and senior leadership to the second unit.
The Trojans low post is anchored by junior Peyton Winters, who averaged nearly six rebounds and five blocks a game last season. She spent the summer improving her footwork and is now an offensive and defensive force, according to her coaches.
“Peyton is an athlete who has a great post presence,” Bolt said, explaining that the girls have done a lot of growing up in the past year.
“We were one of the younger teams, if not the youngest team, in conference last year,” Bolt said. “I think the growing pains and adversity we overcame will really help us this season.”