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Hornets seek third straight conference title

Published: Friday, Nov. 22, 2013 5:00 p.m. CDT
Hinsdale South's Mary Claire Ladd throws a pass during a game last season. Entering her third varsity season, Ladd is expected to be a key contributor for the Hornets this year. (Photo by Matthew Piechalak - mpiechalak@shawmedia.com)

DARIEN – Last year, Hinsdale South’s girls basketball team recorded its best season since 2007-08, winning 17 games, earning the West Suburban Gold conference championship, and advancing to the regional championship game.

The Hornets will try to build upon that success again this winter.

But, after graduating all-conference seniors Toni Romiti, Kerry Just and Kristin Dimitrijevic, Hinsdale South girls head coach Jen Belmonte knows that a new core of leaders must emerge in order for -the team to remain successful.

“This is a new group who will need to come together and mesh as a team,” Belmonte said. “We have a couple of players who have been on the varsity team since their sophomore year, and I think they are up to the challenge.”

Senior guards Mackenzie Kern and Mary Claire Ladd are entering their third year on the varsity squad. While Kern is the Hornets’ most potent scoring threat, Ladd is a ball handler with the ability to break down defenders.

Fellow senior Cassie Jensen is an athletic rebounder who can get out in transition. Junior Taylor Barnes will assist Jensen in handling the low post duties.

Sydney Kopp, last season’s top reserve, enters her sophomore season with immensely improved footwork, speed and shooting. Her offseason strides could be a tremendous boost, as the agile guard has the ability to drive, shoot and shut down opposing guards.

“The team is full of very athletic, determined players who all bring a little something different to the table,” Belmonte said. “We have some height inside and some very quick players.”

In spite of a season-opening defeat at the hands of Lemont on Monday, the Hornets’ depth and athletic versatility should keep them in a majority of games and ought to have them eyeing another conference championship.

Hinsdale South will participate in its own Tip-Off Tournament, the Benet/Naperville North Tournament before Christmas and the Downers Grove North Shootout in January.

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