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Dundee-Crown's Emily Michalski (42) returns for the Chargers this season. | Kevin D. Sherman ~ For Sun-Times Media
Losing a handful of big scorers to graduation has forced Dundee-Crown to look elsewhere this season for offense, and the Chargers are discovering other players from last year’s 15-11 team who can now put the ball in the hoop.
Ali Sanders, Carlin Faulkner and Diamond Williams comprised the bulk of scoring last year, but have gone on to play college ball. Still, coach Michelle Russell has a few players returning from last season who have displayed scoring potential in 5-8 senior forward Jill Weichmann and 6-foot junior center Emily Michalski.
“Jill was more of a role player for us last year and didn’t have to score, but she’s showing she can play great defense, shoot and move to the basket,” Russell said.
As for Michalski, who averaged five points and six rebounds last year, height is never a bad thing.
“We got back this year and found she had grown an inch to 6 feet,” Russell said. “She is tough inside, a real presence.
“Last year she was a little timid as a sophomore but is playing with more confidence as a scorer and rebounder.”
Senior 5-6 guard Jordan Bartelt played some as a backup point guard behind Sanders last year and returns in the backcourt. Returning 5-6 senior guard Stephanie Magsamen is another with limited minutes in 2011-12 who has stepped up her game.
Several young players have caught Russell’s eye while battling for a starting spot.
Sophomore 5-9 post player Jesenia Leboy came up toward the end of last season when the team needed extra help inside and has made strides in her game, while 5-9 sophomore guard Lauren Lococo has the ability to score from inside or outside.
Two freshmen have been brought into the fray: 5-8 guard-forward Frankie Cavallaro and 5-6 guard Melissa Barker. Junior guard Julia Tabor also is challenging for playing time.
“We have a couple decent shooters, but it’s hard to replace Ali and Carlin,” Russell said. “But our freshmen are both very good shooters. They’re a little timid because they’re young but good shooters for their age. Definitely we have people who are good mid-range shooters.
“The thing that strikes me most is we don’t have a standout player who takes over games but have a good mix of kids and we don’t really lose anything because we don’t have the one standout scorer. We’ll have to do some other things to win games, like play hard defense.”
Russell called Cary-Grove and Huntley two of the top teams in the Fox Valley Valley this year.
“It’s going to be a tough division to contend with, like it always is,” Russell said.
The Chargers open the season Wednesday with Streamwood at 8:30 p.m. in their own Thanksgiving tournament.