By Pat Brozynski

Morgan Park still waiting for word on Richmond

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Morgan Park coach Thomas "TJ" Johnson is still awaiting word on the results of an MRI on the knee of 6-foot-1 senior Gabrielle Richmond, who was initially hurt November 25 against Geneva and reinjured the knee on November 29 at Trinity.

Meanwhile, Morgan Park rolled past Simeon and Harlan last week with Johnson going back to the formula that carried Morgan Park to the sectional championship game last season before it lost to Hillcrest.

"We're actually played very well last week," Johnson said. "We changed our lineup. We're playing four guards and a post like we did last year. If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Toledo recruit Kendyl Nunn is joined out front by veteran point guard Debra Jenkins and 5-7 junior Kierra Graves. Two freshmen - 5-9 Tammy Russell and 6-0 Marsha Howard - are sharing the post.

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Who you going to stop?

Hillcrest is 6-0 with good reason - talent, quickness, depth and balance.

Shannise Heady leads Hillcrest with 15.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game; Dana Gettis is averaging 13.7 points per game and is 6-of-12 from downtown; Jahmia Phillips is averaging 10 points and 6.7 rebounds per game; and Samirah Ali is averaging 9.3 points and 4.7 assists.

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St. Joseph is 6-1 and 1-0 in the East Suburban Catholic thanks to Briya Wilborn's three-pointer at the buzzer that beat Joliet Catholic last week. But don't go to sleep on 5-11 senior forward Donna Koerber, who chipped in 19 points and seven rebounds in the win.

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Six-foot-1 senior Marissa Pezzopane of Addison Trail missed the entire volleyball season after breaking the big bone in her foot last June, but it has healed enough for her to become a factor in the Blazers' basketball season. She averaged 12.5 points and 7 rebounds a year ago.

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You may know her as a pivotal member of Chicago Christian's Class 2A state runner-up volleyball team, but 6-foot senior forward Becky DeRuiter plays a pretty mean game of basketball, too.

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Curie is perennial powerhouse in boys basketball. Ricky Robinson is trying to do the same with the girls program. He hopes 6-3 junior center Caelyn Allen-Manning and 5-7 senior guard Christina Griffin can get Curie to the upper echelon in the city.

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In case you missed it late Saturday, Plainfield East defeated Oswego 46-42 behind 13 points from Dominique Hartsfield and 11 from Chantise Adams. Deni Owikoti added 10 rebounds and three blocks for the winners.

"This was a fast-paced, intense game with a lot of fouls which hurt us in the first half," Plainfield east coach Melissa Mitidiero said. "We managed to keep our composure in the second half. With solid defense in the fourth quarter, we were able to pull out the win."

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Here are some players to watch this season: Conant's Natalie Kutramanes, DuSable's Dianne Sales; Highland Park's Ariel Swartz; Downers Grove North's Mary Echemann; Harper's LaQuesha Carter; and Joliet Catholic's Megan Williams.

Also, Luther East's Kathy Gentry; Marengo's Jessica Villie; Somonauk's Lauren Brummel; Chicago Talent's Julie Burgess; T.F. South's Dominique Brooks; West Chicago's Claire Monroe; Wheaton Warrenville South's Kasey Gassensmith; and Woodlawn's Alexa Capps.

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'Tis the season for holiday tournaments and shootouts, and it all gets underway Friday and Saturday at the 2011 Chitown Showdown hosted by Whitney Young.

Three games are on tap Friday, starting with Champaign Central vs. Proviso West at 5:00 p.m.; St. John the Baptist (West Islip, N.Y.) vs. Trinity at 6:30 p.m.; and Proviso East vs. Whitney Young at 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, Champaign Central faces Bogan at 11:30 a.m.; Penn meets Marian Catholic at 1:00 p.m.; Clyde Miller (St. Louis, Mo.) plays Morgan Park at 2:30 p.m.; St. John the Baptist plays Young at 4:00 p.m. and Milwaukee Riverside faces Montini at 5:30 p.m.

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The annual Benet/Naperville North Holiday Tournament gets underway December 15-17 with pool play and continues December 22-23 with the championship brackets.

The Benet pool features Benet, Wheaton Warrenville South, York and Geneva. The Naperville North pool features Naperville North, DeKalb, Glenbard West and Providence. The tournament features three levels - freshman, junior varsity and varsity.

The championship bracket will be played at Benet. The winner of the Naperville North pool will face the Benet runner-up at 6:00 p.m. on December 22, and the winner of the Benet pool will face the second-place team from Naperville North at 7:30 p.m. on December 22.

The championship will be played on December 23 at 7:30 p.m.

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Bolingbrook and Niles West will meet at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, January 16 in the headline game of the 22nd Annual McDonald's Shootout at Willowbrook High School.

Games on Friday, January 14 feature St. Ignatius vs. Willowbrook at 6:00 p.m. and Andrew vs. Warren at 7:30 p.m.

Games on Saturday, January 15 feature Bogan and Maine West at 10:00 a.m.; Wheaton North and Morgan Park at 11:30 a.m.; New Trier and Wheaton Warrenville South at 1:00 p.m. and Oregon Davis (Ind.) and Prospect at 2:30 p.m.

Other games Saturday feature Proviso East vs. Hillcrest at 4:00 p.m.; Lincoln-Way East vs. Geneva at 5:30 p.m.; and Neuqua Valley and Fenwick at 7:00 p.m.

On Monday, January 16, Streamwood plays Marian Catholic at 10:00 a.m.; Fenwick plays St. Joseph (Mo.) at 11:30 a.m.; Providence plays Plainfield North at 1:00 p.m.; Trinity meets Marist at 2:30 p.m.; and Montini plays Young at 4:00 p.m.

Monday's games wrap up with Waubonsie Valley and Benet at 5:30 p.m. followed by Niles West and Bolingbrook.

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Oswego has changed its tournament schedule....again. According to one source, the latest schedule is the "third or fourth" version.

Once-beaten Neuqua Valley (6-1) heads up the Blue Division with Minooka and Batavia while Rosary and Oswego are the best of the Orange Division.

Play begins at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, December 10 and first-round games feature Neuqua vs. Batavia at 4:30 p.m. Play continues Monday, December 12 through Thursday, December 15 with the championship match scheduled at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 17.

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This page contains a single entry by Back Row published on December 5, 2011 8:50 PM.

A little bit of volleyball...and a whole lotta hoops was the previous entry in this blog.

Viliunas gets Gatorade nod...and a little girls hoops is the next entry in this blog.

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