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Winter preview: girls basketball


With its record at 11-11, the Huntley girls varsity basketball team was falling apart with a five-game losing streak in the middle of its 2011- 2012 basketball season.

A game at Dundee-Crown and senior Haley Ream’s performance changed all that.

Ream scored a crucial 16 points which led the team past Dundee-Crown. The points made the grand difference between winning and losing the game.

Although Ream had a strong performance on the night that turned around the teams’ season, all players  served equally important roles in Huntley’s victory.

The Dundee-Crown game is considered as one of Ream’s “best nights of the season” by girls basketball coach Steve Raethz. Not only was Ream clutch right on time, but she was clutch for good.

This year Ream’s position on the team will be equally as important as last year.  Ream is definitely a player to watch for this season.

In the past six years, Huntley has won four regional championships in a row.  Last season, they did not.

Ream, as well as the rest of the team, hope to surpass this and accomplish more than just a regional title.

“This season, I am hoping we win regionals and that we beat Cary not once, but every time,” said Ream. “I hope to go farther than winning regionals, but also sectionals.”

Currently, it is the start of the new 2012-2013 basketball season for the girls varsity team besides losing the regional game. The team ended last year’s season with an overall record of 13-15 and a 7-7 record in the Fox Valley Conference.

Coach Steve Raethz strongly believes this year’s new team has the potential to have a solid season.

Top returning players are junior Sam Andrews and Ream, who will both play as start. Ream and Andrews were both labeled as Fox Valley All-Conference players and are the most experienced players on the team.

“I think when I first started [playing on varsity], I was more timid since I was the youngest on the team,” said Ream.  “I didn’t want to voice my opinion. Now I have progressed more as a leader and more girls look up to me.”

Ream has been a starter for the last two years. She has been on the varsity team since her sophomore year. Similarly, Andrews has a year of experience as a varsity starter on to build on.

Andrews scored an average of 14.9 points per game, had an average of 6.1 rebounds, 1.2 average assists and 1.0 average steals last year. Ream averaged 7.4 points per game, 7.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and of 3.1 steals per game.

Senior players Amanda Kaniewski and Haley Sabie played some games coming off the bench as well.

Raethz pushes each girl to her maximum potential in order to prepare for the season.

“During practices, he makes everyone want to be their best,” said Ream. “When your’e doing something right, he lets you know.  He picks on me the most out of the whole team because he knows I can take it and I try to turn the negative into something better.”

Raethz views these players and returning players to serve as a strong core for the team. Raethz even considers the players’ chemistry to serve as an important aspect for the upcoming season.

“[The team’s chemistry] is actually really good,” said Ream. “We all played over the summer together and now I feel very close to them.  [Before], the younger girls would be afraid to talk to the older [teammates]. This year, it’s not like that at all.”

Overall, the girls varsity basketball team is made up of 15 players, eight of whom are returning from last season.

“They need to understand their new roles,” said Raethz. “I really like this [team] and how they work; they are all very coachable.”

From the month of June to the first week of July, the girls basketball team attended its summer camp in which the team battled Cary-Grove, who is considered Huntley’s biggest opponent this season.

“I strongly dislike [Cary], but in a nice way,” said Ream. “I strongly believe that if we play like we should, we should be able to beat them.”

Over the summer, Huntley played the Trojans in the Crystal Lake South League Shootout, in which Huntley lost by only a few points.

In between the months of June and July, the Red Raiders continued to prepare for the season by taking part in the Dundee-Crown Summer League. Out of 34 total games, the team finished with a final record of 30-4, leaving Raethz optimistic about the team.

The girls varsity basketball team also took part in two other shootouts: the District 155 shootout and McHenry shootout, in which it prevailed.

“[Summer training] prepared us because it gave us an idea of our competition for this season,” said Ream. “It showed us on our off games how bad we played, but those arethe things we knew we needed to fix.” 

They hope to use this summer’s successful training period to reflect as a springboard for this season.

Currently, Raethz is focused on preparing the team from the offensive and defensive side, building team chemistry, and establishing a foundation. Although these serve as some of his main concerns Raethz knows the players will progress as the team’s record will improve.

“We are still striving to be able to contend for a regional and conference title,” said Raethz. “This group has the talent and work ethic to accomplish great things.”

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