Oakville High girls’ basketball team will be led by seven letter winners

By STEPHEN GLOVER

Despite graduating five starters from last year’s squad that went 19-7 overall with a 5-3 mark in Suburban West Conference play, the Oakville Senior High School girls’ basketball team hopes to fill those starting positions with seven returning varsity letter winners.

“We lost all five starters, but return seven lettermen,” Oakville head coach Ron Thompson told the Call. “So we should be pretty solid this season.”

Sophomore point guard Maggie Zehner will run the Tiger offense this season after averaging 3.8 points and 2.9 rebounds.

Zehner also recorded 22 assists and 28 steals in 26 games played.

“Maggie is more or less our energy leader,” Thompson said. “She’s starting to mature as a floor leader now, which is good because we’re going to play an up-tempo game this year.”

Another sophomore at the guard position will be Andrea Boone, who averaged 2.2 points a game in 14 games last season. She led the Tigers in three-point shooting percentage while nailing six of 11 shots from beyond the arc.

“Andrea’s probably our best perimeter shooter last year,” Thompson said. “She’s getting more confident taking the ball to the basket, which is good because she’s a pretty good free-throw shooter.”

Senior Emma Kriegel returns for her fourth season on the varsity squad after averaging 2.0 points and 2.3 rebounds a game last year. The guard/forward also recorded 25 assists and 15 steals as a junior.

“Emma’s an outstanding athlete,” Thompson said. “She’s become a better shooter and is more confident in taking the ball to the basket.”

At forward will be senior Molly Zehner and junior Nicole Norberg. Zehner averaged 2.5 points and 2.9 rebounds a game last season along with 12 assists and 12 steals.

“For the most part, Molly was our best post player coming off the bench last season,” Thompson said. “We’re going to be expecting a lot from her this season.”

Norberg saw limited action last season due to knee problems. But the junior forward did average 4.3 points and 4.7 rebounds a game in just 12 games.

“Nicole will be one of our captains, and we gave that to her because she’ll probably be one of our leading scorers,” Thompson said. “She had some knee problems last year, but she’s come back at full strength this season.”

Seniors Katy Simmons and Jessie Werner also will figure into the Tigers’ success this season after seeing limited action last year.

“Katy missed most of last season due to an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury,” Thompson said. “She’s gaining more confidence and should play a key role in coming off the bench this year.”

Werner tore her ACL last season and still is recovering from the surgery. But Thompson hopes to see the senior forward on the court by mid-January.

“Jessie tore her ACL last year, so she’s trying to build up her leg as the year goes on,” he said. “We’re hoping that as we get down to January, she can be ready to go.”

The Tigers open the 2006-2007 campaign at the Nerinx Hall Invitational at 3:45 p.m. Monday against St. Charles West. The move is somewhat of a change of pace for the Tigers, who normally open the season at the South Side Classic.

“This was a good fit for us because we’re looking to see some high-caliber teams this year,” Thompson said. “I don’t know a whole lot about St. Charles West, but hopefully we’ll know a bit more about them later in the week.”