4 girls basketball players having breakout seasons

Players from Downers Grove North, Downers Grove South, Westmont step into spotlight

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 5:00 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 5:09 p.m. CDT
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(Bill Ackerman)
Westmont's Annie Carlson drives to the hoop against Riverside Brookfield on Jan. 8. The sophomore was a varsity player for the Sentinels last season but has taken on a larger role this year Bill Ackerman - backerman@shawmedia.com
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Jason Rossi - jrossi@shawmedia.com Addyson Wesolowski (left) drives against Willowbrook during Friday's game. A recent varsity call-up, the freshman has already logged major minutes for the Mustangs.
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Jason Rossi - jrossi@shawmedia.com Kasandra Rugienius looks for room to maneuver against Willowbrook on Friday. The freshman is a dangerous shooter and has already carved out a role as a key reserve for Downers Grove South.

Each basketball season provides an opportunity for new players to step into the spotlight. From juniors and seniors seeing significant playing time for the first time to underclassmen making an impact, these girls basketball players are having breakout seasons.

Annie Carlson

School: Westmont

Class: Sophomore

Position: Guard

Impact: Carlson saw some action with the varsity team last winter, but with several players from last year’s team having graduated, Carlson has stepped up as one of the Sentinels’ best players. She is one of the team’s primary ball handlers, but at 5-foot-9 she adds some size and aggressiveness in the paint, where she has shown the ability to finish in different ways.

Kasandra Rugienius

School: Downers Grove South

Class: Freshman

Position: Guard

Impact: It’s not often that a freshman can transition to high school varsity ball, but that is precisely what Rugienius has done this season. Having gained experience as an AAU player prior to joining the Mustangs, Rugienius has already carved out a role as a key reserve thanks to her ability to handle the ball and shoot from range.

“She has been with us all season as a role player, and I’ve seen her improve on her shot and be more confident on that,” South head coach Lyndsie Long said. “I keep telling her every day, ‘I need your shot, I need your shot,’ and I see it out there every day.”

Addyson Wesolowski

School: Downers Grove South

Class: Freshman

Position: Guard

Impact: Wesolowski was already playing up a level when the season started as a freshman on the sophomore team, and due in part to injuries and her solid play, she recently moved up to join the varsity squad. Her age is no hindrance – head coach Lyndsie Long is already confident putting the ball in Wesolowski’s hands during crucial parts of the game.

“Addyson took the point guard role [against Willowbrook] and went with it, she wasn’t scared,” Long said. “That’s what I’m looking for — someone to handle the ball and be the voice of the team, and that’s what she’s been doing.”

Peyton Winters

School: Downers Grove North

Class: Junior

Position: Forward

Impact: Winters was a varsity player last year, but a year of seasoning and some extra confidence has done wonders for her game. The 6-foot-2 post player has height that presents matchup problems for opposing teams, and a wide array of post moves ensure she can score in the paint.

“She’s stepped up since last year, a lot, and grown up and has a tremendous amount of toughness,” North head coach Stephan Bolt said. “Now she’s more confident finishing around the rim and finishing strong. I think she’s gotten stronger defensively, too. Both ends of the floor she helps us out in a lot of ways.”

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