Each basketball season provides an opportunity for new players to step into the spotlight. From seniors seeing significant playing time for the first time to underclassmen making an impact, these six girls basketball players are having breakout seasons for their teams.
Impact: Bambule is the latest in a long line of freshmen to contribute right away at Montini. She is averaging 6.6 points over the last 12 games and has 15 3-pointers in that stretch.
"She has had huge games against the better teams, which is sign of the player we hope she can be over the next four years," Montini coach Jason Nichols said.
School: Addison Trail
Impact: As the Blazers' point guard, Barkoulies is the player that initiates the offense and has the ball in her hands at crucial times in the game. AT head coach Rob Schader has had no qualms in giving Barkoulies, who he said is averaging about 11 points and four assists per game, that level of responsibility.
"She's been phenomenal all year," Schader said. "Offensively and defensively, she's been a workhorse. She's usually the smallest kid on the floor but she plays like the biggest out there. She's had a great year."
School: Timothy Christian
Impact: The 6-foot-1 junior has emerged as one of the Trojans' top players this season, averaging 12 points and 10 rebounds per game. Timothy lost all five starters from a year ago, and her play has helped keep the Trojans competitive.
"Next year, again with some very good youth coming up, Kaitlyn will be a big factor in our offense," Timothy coach Michele Strube said. "She has the heart and work ethic that makes a coach proud. Every day I know I can count on Kaitlyn to be working her hardest and encouraging her teammates."
School: Glenbard East
Impact: Despite being a sophomore and a varsity newcomer, Solid has stepped up to be one of the Rams' top players this season. The versatile guard has played a key role in the team's improvement this season as the Rams have gone from winless in the DuPage Valley Conference to already having two DVC wins.
Impact: Thanks to an uptempo offense, Willowbrook utilizes a deep bench that sees several players in action each game. Even among that large group of players, Velasquez has managed to stand out this season.
"She's our first guard off the bench," Willowbrook head coach Terry Harrell said. "She's a defensive dynamo, she's a great passer, and she's played really well for us."
School: IC Catholic
Impact: Vitek was with the Knights as a freshman and sophomore, but missed her junior season. Her return has been a welcome one for IC as she leads the Knights in scoring at 9.8 points per game and assists at 3.4 per game.
Impact: The 6-foot center has stepped up to give the Dukes two valuable post players, joining 6-foot-2 Molly Schlecht. Wrasse has more than doubled her scoring output from a year ago, going from 2.6 points per game to 5.4 this season, and is also averaging 5.6 rebounds.