By Pat Brozynski

Phillips expected back for Hillcrest this week

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Both Trinity and Hillcrest were shorthanded Saturday when the teams meet in Country Club Hills. But Hillcrest's loss was a little bigger than Trinity's.

The Hawks were still without 6-foot-2 center Jahmia Phillips, who has been out with a concussion. Her absence left Hillcrest a little short inside against Trinity's duo of 6-foot Megan Podkowa and 6-1 Victoria Harris.

Hillcrest coach John Maniatis expects Phillips back this week.

"Phillips will be back Thursday," he said. "Obviously, protocol is in play with the concussion. (Saturday) she did the mile jog which went well, so Monday she'll go through the agility drills. Tuesday, she'll do another set of agility. Wednesday will be her first practice."

With Phillips sidelined, the dirty work inside Saturday was left to 5-11 Shannise Heady (eight rebounds) and 5-9 Brittney Wilson (five rebounds).

"We got hurt in the second half on the rebounding and stuff," Maniatis said. "We needed to have people to step up and at times we did. I thought Wilson did a great job filling in. We're going to grow from this and we're going to get better."

***

Trinity's Megan Podkowa began her career as a perimeter player. So her two three-pointers Saturday at Hillcrest were no surprise. However, the DePaul-bound senior continues to work on her inside game to become the all-around player the rugged Big East demands.

"I used to be only a three-point shooter," she said. "I've definitely been working more on my inside game and getting to the basket. Now I'm starting to work on both. I have to balance them out and work on them at the same time."

Podkowa and Alyssa Dengler played the entire 32 minutes Saturday, a testament to the conditioning that coach Ed Stritzel demands of his players.

"We all have been pushing ourselves in practice," Podkowa said. "It definitely had an impact not only on how I played, but how we played as a team and how we're starting to play together more and more each game. You could see it on the court, passing and pushing the ball up the floor."

***

Trinity coach Ed Stritzel and his staff drew up a play to start the second half Saturday at Hillcrest. The result was a perfectly executed play that set up Alyssa Dengler for a three-pointer from the right of the key that extended a 29-27 halftime lead to 32-27.

"I thought that really got our juices going as a coaching staff and as a team," Stritzel said. "It got a little hairy at the end. We told the girls that Hillcrest is always going to make it that way. It's going to be an ugly game. It's going to be fast."

***

For three years, Morgan Tuck and Ariel Massengale were the engines that drove Bolingbrook to three consecutive state titles.

Bolingbrook's bid for a fourth straight title revolves around Tuck, who poured in 41 points against Homewood-Flossmoor on Thursday. But guards Kennedy Cattenhead and Keiera Ray have been asked to fill some mighty big shoes with Massengale now toiling at Tennessee.

"I think everybody is still a work in progress," Tuck said. "They (Cattenhead and Ray) definitely been doing a great job. I think a lot of people thought since we lost Taylor (Tuck) and Ariel at guard that we were not going to have no guards anymore.

"They (Cattenhead and Ray) are proving a lot of people wrong," she added. "They know how to set me up and do the same things. I still miss Taylor and Ariel, that's always going to be there. But I'm happy with how our guards are playing."

***

Montini is looking for girls basketball teams to add to the field of its 2012 Christmas tournament. Montini is expanding its eight-team field and has already added two teams. Teams looking for a Christmas tournament next year should contact Jason Nichols at (630) 627-6930 or jnichols@montini.org.

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This page contains a single entry by Back Row published on January 7, 2012 8:59 PM.

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