Tim O’Brien’s girls basketball notebook

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The record is no doubt disappointing, but Plainfield South coach Leah Carter knows there is more to it.

Having finished seventh at Lincoln-Way East’s Medieval Classic, the Cougars are now 2-12.

“The record doesn’t reflect our ability,” Carter said. “We’ve had a lot of close games; Joliet West lost by one, Plainfield Central by three, Oswego by four, Romeoville by seven, so we’ve been in almost all our games.”

Now in her third year coaching, Carter is looking for the program to take that next step forward. Since the school opened in 2002, Plainfield South has never totaled more than seven wins in a season.

In hopes of taking that next step, the mantra for the season has become: ‘Be a part of the change you wish to see.’ For the Cougars, Carter credited junior Tyler Everett and freshman guard Jaianna Brooks for their strong play. South’s young roster features six sophomores.

“Tyler has been our mainstay,” Carter said. “The younger kids are stepping up. We’re young, but a lot of good things are happening.”

Lincoln-Way Central looking for groove

Installing the fast-paced Grinnell system, Lincoln-Way Central coach Chris Fetherling knew the transition wouldn’t be immediate for the Knights.

Having lost to Andrew in the fifth place game at the Medieval Classic, Central heads into the new year with a 6-7 record overall.

“We’re playing some tight games, and we feel confident about how the system has been,” Fetherling said. “We went through a stretch where we didn’t shoot well, but we’ve played pretty good in a lot of games.”

One of the biggest adjustments to the pressure defense-oriented scheme is a longer game with far more possessions than usual. At times, the Knights have struggled closing out games where they have held late leads.

“We really have a chance to fix a lot of things where we feel like it’s hard for other teams to prepare for us,” Fetherling said. “We knew it would be a process. We can lose to anybody, and we could beat anybody. That’s the beauty of it.”

Player of the Week

Nicole Ekhomu, of Joliet Catholic, is the Herald-News Girls Basketball Player of the Week.

A sophomore guard, Ekhomu averaged 16.8 points, six rebounds, three assists and 3.5 steals over four games to lead the Angels to the Hillcrest Holiday Classic championship. In the title game, she finished with 25 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals.

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