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Bess cranks up noise for Deerfield

01/22/2013, 8:03pm CST
By Jon Kerr

At Deerfield girls basketball games, one sound stands out: the voice of senior Jessica Bess. On the bench, away from coach Mike Muldrow and his assistants, Bess acts as part cheerleader, part student assistant.


Waukegan Tuesday, 11/27/12 Waukegan's Brianna Hines (12, center) gets tangled up with Deerfield's Elizabeth Pavalon (34, left) and Jessica Bess (42, right) during the second quarter of Tuesday evening's game. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media

At Deerfield girls basketball games, one sound stands out: the voice of senior Jessica Bess.

“I like to yell,” Bess said. “I have a loud voice.”

The 5-foot-8 forward’s volume is always turned up, whether she’s on the court or on the sidelines.

Bess, a starter and defender in the post for the Warriors, can be heard screaming “Shoot!” as she runs out on an opposing shooter. And on the bench, away from coach Mike Muldrow and his assistants, Bess acts as part cheerleader, part student assistant.

“Jess does a good job leading just by the way she uses her voice, the way she picks up her intensity,” junior Katie Hoffman said. “[We all] look up to that.”

When Deerfield hosted Buffalo Grove on Monday, the Bison brought a cheerleading squad two dozen strong — an unusually high number for a weekday basketball game.

The cheerleaders created most of the noise inside Deerfield’s gym, with the exception of Bess. She was the first off the bench to greet her teammates during breaks in the game, and called the Warriors to action once play resumed.

At one point, when Buffalo Grove came out pressing, Bess’ voice rose up: “Go get the ball,” she told her teammates, imploring them to help freshman guards Haley Greer and Margot Sylvan in the backcourt.

Deerfield’s roster is inexperienced, featuring Greer, Sylvan and several other first-year varsity players. Bess, one of the few who played varsity last season, said her in-game expressiveness is necessary given her status as a team leader.

“I have a lot more experience than a lot of the other players,” Bess said. “I know situation issues. When I’m speaking up and using my voice, it’s to try and control the game.”

Normally, that is the point guard’s role. But Greer, a dynamic 5-7 scorer, is often tentative to speak up, so she will ask Bess to relay the play or message during a timeout or pause in the game.

“She’ll [Greer] tell me one of the players isn’t setting a screen or getting into her position. She’ll say, ‘Will you tell them they have to do this,’” Bess said. “I’ll say ‘OK’ and tell them, ‘You need to get to this spot.’ We are pretty good on this team about taking constructive criticism.”

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