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Girls basketball: Oswego sophomores making strides

12/17/2012, 6:46pm CST
By Paul Johnson

Oswego’s sophomore-led team bounced back from a rough tournament outing. Rosary ripped off a pair of wins after a rough start and Batavia is off to a solid start for looks to be a long rest of December.


Oswego guard, Amri Wilder drives to the basket with Batavia's Bethany Orman defending in the third place game of the Oswego Holiday Basketball Tournament on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media

Despite the fact that Oswego finished fourth at its own holiday tournament — with a 2-2 record after losing a heartbreaker to Batavia in the third place game — coach Chad Pohlmann saw many encouraging things from his young squad.

Sophomore point guard Amri Wilder led the Panthers with 22 points in that overtime thriller Saturday. And sophomore Siarra O’Neill showed a penchant for knocking down big shots late in the game to keep the Panthers in it.

She drilled four three-pointers in the fourth quarter and overtime — including the clutch shot that forced overtime — and scored 17 points.

“She has that swagger about her,” Pohlmann said of O’Neill. “We’ve been kind of waiting for that to come out a little bit. She’s getting there. I also thought Amri played really well. When those two really get it going, it makes us pretty hard to guard. They’re going to continue to develop and get better and get more confidence in themselves.”

The Panthers host crosstown rival Oswego East at 5:30 Tuesday before the boys teams take the floor.

Rosary rebounds

After losing three straight games, including the first two games of the Oswego Holiday Classic as the field’s only Class 3A school, Rosary rebounded with a pair of wins to take fifth place.

Under first-year coach Jessie Wilcox, a former star at Northern Illinois, the Royals are 7-8 after pounding Larkin and then recovering from a 12-point deficit to beat Minooka Saturday. Rosary went 9-18 last year and won only 12 games the season prior.

“It’s a good start, especially compared to last year,” Rosary senior Karly Tate said. “It’s going to be a great season for us. I just think the intensity is higher for us and we’re all very motivated to do well. We have that spark that we want.”

Tate also noted Wilcox, a 2009 NIU graduate, has been able to use her youth to get her point across to her new team.

“I love it, she’s very relatable and she helps us out very much,” Tate said. “It’s a good fit for the team.”

Batavia’s long December

Batavia felt good after emerging from the Oswego Holiday Classic with a third place trophy and a 3-1 record. But the Bulldogs’ work is far from done.

They have a pair of Upstate Eight River games this week before spending next week at the rugged Montini tournament. Their first opponent there will be Bogan of the Chicago Public League.

“Our December is kind of a bear,” Batavia coach Kevin Jensen said. “I don’t really have much info on (Bogan). All I know is when (Montini coach Jason Nichols) asked for the seeds, there were five undefeated teams and 12 teams with winning records.”

Batavia is now 9-4 on the season.

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