Hinsdale Central taking advantage of its fresh talent

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Hinsdale Central junior standout Gabrielle Rush knows as well as anyone what it’s like to splash onto the varsity scene as a freshman.

She made an immediate impact for the Red Devils in her debut season.

The 5-foot-10 guard believes the program has two more rising stars in freshmen Paige Bareck and Riley Burr.

“I think it’s awesome that we have Riley and Paige up because they’ve made such a difference already,” Rush said. “You can already tell that they’re going to be huge scoring threats. Having this year on varsity is just going to be great for them. Next year they’re going to be twice as good as they already are now.

“They’re already getting major minutes and some starts. Riley is a getting a ton of rebounds and Paige is hitting 3s. They’re going to make a really big impact.”

Hinsdale Central (12-9, 5-3 WSC Silver) has been hit hard by injuries this season, losing Megan Lord and Madeleine Roglich to ACL injuries. Senior starter Jenna Broz has been out with a stress fracture.

The injuries created opportunities for Bareck and Burr to jump to varsity midseason.

“It was really nerve-racking at first, but the team is really nice and they accepted me really well,” Bareck said. “It’s a big deal and I’m honored. I can’t believe I’m here. I’m getting more comfortable as the season goes on. I’m just trying to do my best and me and Riley are trying to help the team. I’ll do anything that the coach wants me to.”

Burr and Bareck were teammates on the Hinsdale Inferno Basketball Club. They also helped their Hinsdale Middle School team post back-to-back undefeated seasons.

Bareck came off the bench to contribute six points and two rebounds in Hinsdale Central’s 43-35 win over host Oak Park-River Forest on Saturday.

“I think she’s going to be a great addition to our team,” Hinsdale Central coach Tom McKenna said. “I think she’s going to really help us a lot. She’s going to be another great one. She shoots the ball well, handles the ball well and really passes well.”

Bareck doesn’t take the high praise from her coach lightly and hopes to live up to the expectations.

“I know there have been a lot of stars [in the program], so hopefully I can make my way up there,” Bareck said.

She is happy for the opportunity to play with Rush.

“I learn a lot from her,” Bareck said. “She’s really good and is a really good team player. She makes us all better during practices and games. She teaches me what I should do out there.”

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