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By Brad Spencer
"We won't run from anyone and we're striving to run with them," said OPRF head girls basketball coach Bob Biggins before his team was to embark on the 2010-11 season by taking on area-rivals and highly-regarded Trinity and Fenwick this week.
Trinity, who the Huskies were to begin the season against Tuesday night (after deadline, but go to www.oakpark.com for results), downed OPRF 48-31 last season after outscoring its neighbor 16-5 in the fourth quarter. The Blazers went on to make it all the way to a Class 3A super-sectional. The Huskies fared worse against Fenwick last season, falling 84-42. The Friars finished third in the Class 4A State Finals. OPRF travels down East Avenue Thursday (Nov. 18 at 7 p.m.).
What Biggins has going for him this season is an experienced but still relatively young team. Stekara Hall returns to the lineup as a junior. The 5-foot-9 forward averaged 12 points per game for a team that finished 11-20 overall last season. Joining Hall in the starting lineup likely will include returning seniors Camille Scott, Hashika Barral, Raven Hurley and Shelby Cozette, who also started last season. At 6-1, Scott is OPRF's tallest player. Barral (5-7), Hurley (5-6) and Cozette (5-7) will rotate at guard positions. Sophomore Carolyn Kelty (5-7) is expected to see significant time on the court at forward.
Others that Biggins will count on this season include Biz Mullens (5-8, junior, forward), Jasmine Walker (5-9, junior, forward), Diamond Hearn (5-7, junior, guard), Kayla Nelson (5-7, junior, guard) and Hannah White (5-9, junior, center). Newcomers Ashley Payne, a 5-9 forward, and Ann Weinheimer, a 5-11 forward, are also likely to have significant varsity playing time this season.
"These girls are all hard workers who will be fighting for time [on the court]," said Biggins, who is now entering his fifth year as head coach. "We are again planning on playing a very high paced offensive game with an aggressive, pressing defense to offset our lack of size."
York and Hinsdale Central are expected to compete for the top spot in the West Suburban (Silver) Conference. Biggins said he feels the Huskies can possibly be in the mix for at least a second or third place finish.
"We're very excited about this group and optimistic we can improve on last year's record, particularly in conference," he said.