Oakville High girls’ basketball team returns 11 from last season’s squad

By STEPHEN GLOVER

The Oakville Senior High School girls’ basketball team is off to a 1-1 start for the 2007-2008 season with a 53-42 win over Visitation and a 52-38 loss to Nerinx Hall.

The Tigers are coming off a 14-11 season with a 4-4 mark in Suburban West Conference play. They return 11 players from last year’s team, which should translate to a deep bench this season.

“We’re going to have a lot more experience and depth than we did last year,” head coach Ron Thompson told the Call.

First Team All-Conference selection Nicole Norberg returns after averaging 13.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game last season.

The 6-foot forward also posted 12 assists, 32 steals and three blocked shots during the 2006-2007 campaign.

“She (Norberg) should be one of the top three players in our conference this year,” Thompson said. “This year, we’re going to ask her to score 16-18 points and over 10 rebounds a game.”

Unfortunately for the Tigers, junior guard Maggie Zehner is out for the season due to a knee injury. Zehner averaged 10.2 points and 4.9 rebounds per game last year. The 5-foot-6-inch guard led the Tigers with 88 assists, 63 steals and eight blocked shots last season.

“Probably the thing we’ll miss most from Maggie is her ball-handling skills,” Thompson said. “I know that she worked really hard on her shooting in the off season, so this was some bad news for us.”

Junior guard Andrea Boone averaged 7.9 points and 2.8 rebounds per game last season. The 5-foot-9-inch point guard also recorded 51 assists, 42 steals and five blocked shots last year.

“Andrea started every game for us last year,” Thompson said. “This year, we’re going to move her from the two guard to the one guard with Maggie being out.”

Starting at forward will be 5-foot-11-inch junior Kelly Gallagher, who averaged 3.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game last year.

Gallagher also recorded eight assists, 24 steals and eight blocked shots.

“Kelly provides a very strong one-two punch at the post for us,” Thompson said. “She started about 85 percent of her games for us this year and we’ll be asking about eight to nine points and rebounds out of her this year.”

Senior guard Julie Brown could prove to be one of the team’s best shooters after spending a significant amount of time working on her game during the summer.

The 5-foot-8-inch shooting guard averaged 3.3 points and 1.8 rebounds per game last season while racking up 31 assists, 21 steals and three blocked shots.

“Julie put a lot of work in this past year,” Thompson said. “She’s improved a lot and probably will be our best shooter. We expect her to take a key leadership role in the team this season.”

Sam Auer is a defensive specialist who will see time this season at the guard position. The 5-foot-6-inch senior recorded just two steals last season, but her steal against Lindbergh in the district semifinal was probably the most memorable moment of the tournament.

“Sam’s a great team player that’s plays good perimeter defense with a lot of energy,” Thompson said. “She probably had the biggest steal of the year last year in the district semifinal against Lindbergh.”

Senior guard Lauren Radman has been battling a knee injury, which kept her from playing last season.

The 5-foot-7-inch guard could give the Tigers a scoring punch off the bench this season.

“Lauren’s another guard that’s been dealing with knee injuries over the last year and a half,” Thompson said. “She gives us a little bit of scoring power coming off the bench.”

Another senior who will come off the bench this season is 5-foot-8-inch forward Megan Wilshusen.

“Megan’s been great in taking a leadership role and coming off the bench as a forward,” Thompson said. “I think that the one thing she probably has improved on the most this year is her shooting and overall confidence level.”

The Tigers are in action at 7 p.m. Friday when they travel to Parkway South.