HINSDALE – Hinsdale Central girls basketball head coach Tom McKenna says that he has seen a culture change this offseason.
Following a 16-9 season and a loss to Oak Park-River Forest in the regional round of the playoffs, the Red Devils were immediately back in the gym and the weight room. Led by a core group of five seniors and one junior, the team engaged in extensive offseason workouts, morning conditioning and summer league games.
“The girls really came together and put in a lot of work this offseason,” McKenna said. “From the summer camp that I led, to the morning runs and weight room sessions, to a boatload of summer games and AAU ball, the team has really bought in.”
As a result, McKenna does not hesitate to call the 2013-14 squad the best and most talented team he’s had in four years as Hinsdale Central head coach.
Returning to the Red Devils lineup is last season’s standout shooter, Gabrielle Rush. As a sophomore last year, the shooting guard paced the team in scoring, averaging 21 points per game. McKenna expects her to continue to develop as scorer and a leader.
“She is the real deal – one of the best players I have ever coached,” McKenna said. “She can get to the hoop, has a great shot and is a tremendous competitor. I think she will be a more vocal leader this season.”
Rush is flanked by senior guards Abby Gurka and Maddie Roglich. Last year’s top reserve, Gurka’s 5-foot-11-inch frame and ability to play multiple positions gives the Red Devils the freedom to match up against either small or big lineups.
Meanwhile, Roglich, a four-year varsity starter, is the team’s defensive leader and will frequently match up against the opposition’s best player, according to McKenna.
Senior forwards Jenna Broz and Emily Wasz are both over six feet tall and will man the middle of the paint. Broz is entering her third year as a Red Devils starter.
Hinsdale Central will participate in the Hinsdale South Tip-Off Tournament through Saturday to start the season. Later in the year, the Red Devils will compete at the Wheaton North Christmas tournament and the McDonald’s Shootout at Willowbrook High School in January.