Girls Basketball: Winning’s a steal for Oak Lawn’s Brooks
By Tony Baranek email@example.com December 10, 2012 7:10PM
Updated: January 12, 2013 6:11AM
While Oak Lawn’s LaTondra Brooks is as adept at scoring (17.3 points per game) as she is getting the ball to her teammates (5.7 assists), the 5-foot-6 junior is leading the area at taking it away from opponents (6.1 steals).
The latter ability is something coach Janet Haubenreiser points out to her Spartans during film sessions.
“LaTondra has strong hands and upper body strength and she goes for the ball with two hands, which you don’t see a lot in girls basketball,” Haubenreiser said. “She gets a lot of steals by getting two hands on the ball and pulling it away from the defender.
“Usually girls swipe at the ball. LaTondra just reaches in with two hands and rips it away. She doesn’t tie it up for a jump ball. She takes it away.”
The Spartans entered the week at 6-1, 3-0 in the South Suburban Red. In a 69-52 win over Lemont on Dec. 4, Brooks totaled 23 points, eight assists and four steals. In a 60-45 win over Oak Forest on Dec. 6, she had 28 points, five assists and five steals.
Courting a challenge
Stagg senior outside hitter Ali Conrad has been a front liner for the Chargers volleyball program the past few seasons and was one of the keys to their recent run to a Class 4A sectional final.
Basketball? Her contributions have been minimal — until this season.
At 5-foot-9, Conrad chips in scoring-wise but is at her best when the ball doesn’t go in the basket, averaging 6.2 rebounds for a Stagg team that doesn’t have a whole lot of height.
“Our team is filled with guards, but I knew there was a spot open for me if I proved myself to be a force underneath,” Conrad said. “It’s fun being on a good team when we have players like Revi (McMahon), who I’ve never seen dribble like that. I’m just doing what I can to help us even more.”
Conrad played sparingly during her junior season while recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, according to coach Bill Turner.
“You can tell how much more physically active and athletic she is,” he said. “Even though she’s only 5-9, she’s got some hops. She can get up in the air and she helps us out in the middle. And she’s a winner.”