Gene Chamberlain’s girls basketball notebook

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Long term, South Elgin’s Kennede Miller and Savanah Uveges have college athletic careers on their minds.

The short term is what counts now, though, and with the Storm owning an 11-6 record, both see the final seasons of their four-year varsity careers heading exactly the direction they had hoped.

“You can either finish strong or teams begin to regress as the season goes on, like our coach says,” Uveges said. “So it’s good to know we’re still in it and want to finish the regular season strong.”

Only one game behind Neuqua Valley in the loss column in the Upstate Eight Valley at 5-1, and with seven wins in the last nine — including three straight — the Storm needs to step up and show it can beat a strong opponent. The opportunity is there Tuesday night with a nonconference game at home against Burlington Central.

“We’ve had a really strong, tough schedule,” coach Tim Prendergast said, pointing to games with Huntley, Fremd, two with Geneva and the difficult Montini Tournament. “Most of our losses were to good teams in very close games. So we’re excited about what lies ahead for us.”

For the 6-2 Miller, what lies ahead is a college career at Emory. Miller had been called on in the past to play close to the basket, but with 6-2 freshman Mackie Kelleher, junior Cara Fahey and sophomore Bridgette Williams supplying the inside presence, Miller has moved more outside to shoot.

“She’s just getting into her rhythm right now,” Prendergast said. “So it’s just a matter of time before she starts to unleash and get that confidence. She might actually be the best pure three-point shooter we have.”

Miller got off to a slow start this season and is averaging 10 points, but over the last seven games has caught fire. She averaged 14 points in that stretch, including 51 total points in the winning streak. She has hit 18-of-54 three-pointers.

“It’s easy to have ‘Ken’ outside because she has such a beautiful shot,” Uveges said. “With Mackie and Cara and Bridgette down low, we have it screened out for the outside shot. And she makes them.”

It hasn’t pulled her far enough away from the hoop to prevent her from leading the team in rebounding at 6.6 per game.

Prendergast calls Miller more of a natural point forward than a power forward or post.

“That’s where I’ll be playing in college,” she said. “So my outside shooting is something I’ve been working on a lot in practice. It’s something I’m going to have to get used to doing.”

Uveges has been the glue of the team for four years with her defense (3.0 steals per game this year), rebounding (4.6) and ability to drive and score (9.7 points) — or at least 3 1/2 seasons considering she missed half her junior year recovering from a torn ACL.

This could be the final weeks of her basketball career since she’ll be playing soccer next year at Nebraska on the same team with St. Charles East’s basketball abnd soccer star, Amanda Hilton, and Geneva’s Michaela Loebel.

“The three of us played on the same Strikers club team and all actually met playing basketball in seventh grade and we’ve been best friends ever since, so it’s kind of crazy that we’re all three going to college together,” Uveges said.

In college, basketball will probably be out of the question for her because of soccer.

“Maybe recreational games,” she said, but then added, “I know already a couple of basketball players on the (Nebraska soccer) team so who knows? Maybe there’s something we can figure out.”

Finishing with regional and conference titles would be a fitting way for the two four-year players to close their careers.

“We’re getting a lot of momentum going into some big conference games we have coming up, so I’m excited for what’s coming up,” Miller said.

Streak busting

Dundee-Crown ended a seven-game losing streak Saturday with a 41-39 victory over McHenry in Fox Valley Valley play behind 13 points from Kagan Faulkner.

Westminster Christian’s 12-game winning streak came to an end with a 73-59 interstate loss to Cuba City (Wis.) at a shootout Saturday in Dubuque, Iowa. Westminster fell behind 22-8 after a quarter and couldn’t get back into it.

Rankings

1) Huntley 15-3.

2) Burlington Central 13-3.

3) Bartlett 10-8.

4) South Elgin 11-6.

5) Westminster Christian 14-2.

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