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Inexperienced Waukegan is a work in progress

12/03/2012, 7:21pm CST
By Bryan Bonato

The Waukegan girls basketball team will take some bumps this season as it gains valuable experience for a largely inexperienced squad.

Waukegan Saturday, 12/1/12 Waukegan's Markiera Reed (2) during the third quarter of Saturday's game against Warren. Warren won the game, 48-15. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media

There are high school girls basketball teams in all corners of the state that will be playing uphill for most or all of the 2012-2013 season.

So Waukegan is not alone in that respect.

On the other hand, it’s Waukegan that plays in the brutally rugged Central Suburban League South Division, where young, inexperienced teams have virtually no chance for sustained success.

That’s the plight of the Bulldogs this winter, as first-year coach Shanta Parnell’s team has staggered out of the blocks 0-3, including a major beatdown at the hands of Warren over the weekend.

Call this Waukegan team a work in progress.

Here’s the scoop on Parnell:

? Hired at the end of September; team did not play in a Thanksgiving tournament.

? Assistant varsity coach the last two seasons under Brandon Brown.

? 1997 Waukegan grad; she was a member of the last Waukegan team to win a regional title in girls basketball.

? Played basketball and ran track at NAIA Kendall College.

Here’s some of what Parnell said about her team and the program’s future:

? “One of the nice things about this group is that they listen. Whether we win or lose, what matters right now is how we play.”

? “None of our girls are playing in leagues outside of school during the summer. We have to go back and teach them the basics they need at the varsity level.”

? “We have to get them to start reading and reacting to what’s happening on the floor. Once they have a grasp of the basics, they have to start making decisions on their own. It’s easy for me to say ‘you go here’ and ‘you go here’ and ‘you pass the ball here,’ but they need to be able to react to what they’re seeing. That’s going to be a lot faster than me telling them.”

? “We’re a young group of girls. We have one senior, Kai Mays, out with a knee injury. Our point guard, Natasha Ortiz, has also played at the varsity level, and she’ll be back next week. Every little bit of experience helps right now.”

Waukegan begins Central Suburban South play Tuesday night at Glenbrook South.

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