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South Elgin's Savannah Uveges (top) wraps up Elgin's Destiny West to earn a jump ball. | Mary Beth Nolan/For Sun-Times Media
It all has been building to this season for the South Elgin girls basketball team.
“We’ve been young for the last couple years now, but all these kids have finally grown up,” Storm coach Tim Prendergast said. “We’re not putting in anything new, and the beginning of this year has been almost all review. They know what the expectations are and they’re making the early part of the season go fairly easily.”
Returning for their senior years are guard Savanah Uveges and forward Kennede Miller. Uveges entertained a NCAA Division I basketball scholarship offer from North Dakota State before accepting a soccer scholarship to Nebraska, while Miller will play basketball at Division III Emory next year.
“I’m looking forward to Savannah and Kennede at the top as our four-year starters,” Prendergast said. “They’ve got so much experience between the two and they’ll really lead.”
They’ll also be expected to score and play defense.
Now entirely healthy after returning at the mid-point during last year’s 17-12 season from a torn ACL, Uveges is a defensive terror for opposing guards with her long reach while Miller is a 6-footer who can go inside or outside.
The two led a summer program that went 19-1, including a split with powerful Huntley, the team the Storm opens the season with on the road Wednesday.
Junior guard Delaney Kelleher, junior guard/forward Cara Fahey, junior guard Laura McIntosh, senior center Julia McIntosh and sophomore point guard Nadia Yang all return for a squad that has virtually everyone back.
Junior guard Taylor Ford is ready to step in and join three-year starting senior and three-point threat Anna Tracy as a long-range bomber. Sophomore Bridgette Williams, who played with the sophomore team as a freshman, also is a scoring threat.
One thing the Storm lacked in the past was a big post presence inside, but they may have that in 6-1 freshman Mackie Kelleher.
“She’s very physical and athletic and played with the varsity in summer and it didn’t take long to realize she was going to help us,” Prendergast said.
The Storm did develop one strength while it lacked a big player in past seasons.
“It sort of evolved over time into us having a lot of three-point shooters, so that’s going to help,” he said, naming Uveges, Miller, Ford and Fahey as threats beyond the arc.
Prendergast calls it a realistic goal to challenge Upstate Eight Valley favorite Neuqua Valley.
“Doing well in conference has been something we have struggled at even in winning seasons, and we want to correct it,” he said.