Home Sports Giants’ female team divides results at Grow The Game tournament, aims to maintain lead in CSL North during remainder of season

Giants’ female team divides results at Grow The Game tournament, aims to maintain lead in CSL North during remainder of season

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Giants’ female team divides results at Grow The Game tournament, aims to maintain lead in CSL North during remainder of season

The Highland Park girls basketball team sports a brand new look this season. But that wasn’t by design.

Coming off a resurgent 12-win season, the Giants lost two standout sophomores within the offseason when Maddie Chabot, last season’s leading scorer, moved out of town and Reese Crosby, last season’s place to begin guard, injured her knee.

Yet, on the midway point, and following a 1-1 performance in the course of the Grow the Game Showcase Thursday-Friday, Jan. 4-5, Highland Park sits with seven wins and atop the Central Suburban North standings at 4-1.

“Making up (Chabot’s) 20 points a game is hard but I feel we’ve done a very good job under the circumstances,” Giants coach Jolie Bechtel said. “We’re still competitive and competing at the highest of the conference despite things looking different than we anticipated.”

Leading the way in which, especially offensively, are the Reitmayer sisters: Mckenzie, a senior, and Maddie, a junior. Each sister earned a Player of the Game honor in the course of the showcase.

In a 41-33 victory against Elk Grove on Jan. 4, Maddie Reitmayer tallied 21 points and 9 rebounds to assist the Giants erase a 15-point second-half deficit. A day later, she grabbed a game-best 14 rebounds in her team’s loss to Naperville North.

Maddie Reitmeyer heads toward the basket for the Giants of their matchup with Naperville North on Friday, Jan. 5.

Mckenzie Reitmeyer scored 24 points within the two games, including a team-high 13 within the 52-21 loss to the Huskies. The senior helped the Giants dig right into a 16-point Huskies’ advantage, as HP cut it to nine, however it wasn’t enough.

“(I used to be) being more aggressive with the ball, going to the ring. Getting some and-1 points gave us some motivation,” Mckenzie Retimayer said. “That’s what I used to be trying to do: get it inside and have higher ball movement.”

The Reitmayers are returning starters and took the court in Grow the Game with senior guard Julia Leshtz, who Bechtel called the team’s top defender; senior forward Jordan Stiller; and sophomore guard Autumn Seward.

Highland Park rebounded from a 1-3 begin to the season with 4 straight victories, including three within the CSL North. The Giants then split with league foes Maine West (38-34 loss) and Niles North (44-40 win) in December and are tied with the Warriors of Maine West for first within the conference midway through the 12 months.

The Giants took a two-week holiday break before returning to the court for the Grow The Game Showcase, a four-year-old event that promotes and empowers women in basketball. The games are coached by women, officiated by women and played by young women.

The showcase reached latest heights this 12 months with 43 teams, and Highland Park has participated all 4 years.

“That is a terrific opportunity and I’m really grateful to be invited,” Bechtel said. “(Recent Trier head coach and event co-founder) Teri Rodgers works really hard and all of the host schools do a very great job of creating the youngsters feel special and like they’re a part of something larger. It’s a wonderful experience and we’re really grateful to be an element of it.”

The Giants will play the second half of its league slate before Feb. 3 and have a rematch with Maine West on Jan. 26.

“Our no. 1 goal is to win our conference,” Mckenzie Reitmayer said. “Staying competitive, staying together, putting within the work outside of practice our things we’re working on to realize that goal.

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