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Westminster Christian's Maddie Versulys takes a swat at the ball as Aquin's Sophie Brunner dribbles. | Mary Beth Nolan/For Sun-Times Media
Simply put, Westminster Christian sophomore Maddie Versluys is annoying to the opposition.
“I still can’t figure Maddie out,” Westminster coach Ken Flickinger said. “She amazes me because she’s good at getting lost in our offense. Then I look at our scorebook and she’s got 20 points and I’m trying to figure out how.”
So are Westminster Christian opponents. Versluys, who made the Courier-News All-Area team as a freshman, has been no less adept this season at doing what she does best — finding ways to drive opponents crazy. She leads Westminster in three categories with averages of 15 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.6 steals. She doesn’t do it with a prolific jump shot, three-pointers or by being taller.
Instead, she finds gaps in defenses for easy buckets, moves without the ball and gets plenty of rebound baskets, even though she gives a few inches away at 5-foot-10. When opponents think they have her accounted for, Versluys finds a way.
“Lately, I have more confidence in myself, and as a team we’re working better in the offense and I’m getting it more where I can score,” she said. “Earlier it seemed we were a little off. I’m getting good passes and teammates are making it easier for me.”
Versluys makes it very obvious it’s all about location when it comes to scoring.
“I think when we can move the ball up and down the floor, it’s really hard to guard her,” Flickinger said about Versluys’ ability to get free without the ball. “Even in practice, we bring in boys sometimes and they have a hard time guarding her.
“She’s strong and she’s aggressive and she’s sneaky. And she’s really just good at getting in those sneaky spots on the floor.”
Versluys and the rest of the Warriors are looking to reach peak efficiency with regionals fast approaching. They will step up into Class 2A for the first time.
The Warriors (19-3) were seeded second in the Immaculate Conception Regional behind the top-seeded host Knights (18-6) in pairings released Friday.
Westminster has prepped for its Feb. 12 semifinal game against third-seeded Douglass with a string of games against larger schools. The Warriors beat Wheaton Academy, lost by a point to Class 4A Schaumburg and have home games against St. Francis on Tuesday and Hampshire on Thursday.
“I think we’re ready to play (2A) teams,” Versluys said. “I think we play better against better teams.”
Harvest Christian and Kylee Knox, who needs 32 total points for 1,000 in her career, have drawn the second seed at the Hinckley-Big Rock Regional. The hosts are the top seeds.
Knox has regular-season home games against Westlake (Tuesday) and Keith Country Day (Wednesday) and a road game at Willows (Thursday) to try for the scoring milestone. Harvest Christian’s regional semifinal Feb. 11 is against third-seeded Elgin Academy, a team it beat 51-18 earlier in the season.
Ali Andrews, who was 71 points shy of 1,000 for her career after last weekend, and Huntley can lock up the school’s first conference title of any kind since 2001 this week at home. The Red Raiders can clinch no worse than a tie by winning Wednesday over McHenry (9-15, 1-7). They also host Jacobs (5-18, 2-7) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Burlington Central can lock up its second straight conference title Friday at North Boone, although it’s possible it could clinch a title share as early as Tuesday night at the Rockets’ senior night against Marengo if Richmond-Burton knocks off North Boone in a Monday night makeup game.