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Girls Basketball Notebook: With Kortz coaching football, Richards still in good hands

Ashley Dennis Rich East.  |  FILE PHOTO

Ashley Dennis, of Rich East. | FILE PHOTO

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Updated: November 25, 2013 11:41PM



Behind every successful coach there is a good assistant.

That would seem to be the case at Richards, where girls basketball coach Jeff Kortz turned the reins over to Jamie Soderstrom on Saturday while he traveled to East St. Louis to fulfill his duties as a football assistant.

While the football Bulldogs were winning their Class 6A semifinal 7-6, Soderstrom directed the Lady Bulldogs to a 49-36 win over Eisenhower in the third-place game at the Bobby Bolton Classic.

The win was Soderstrom’s first while acting as a varsity head coach. He was the sophomore head coach at Richards for one season before becoming Kortz’s top varsity assistant.

“It was fun,” Soderstrom said. “Being a varsity (assistant) coach now for three-four years, we know what he expects of us as coaches and what he expects out of his players. We just made it another day and the girls played well.”

Kortz returned to the basketball squad on Monday, but also has another week of football practices before Saturday’s state final contest against Batavia at Northern Illinois University.

“He’s been coming into the gym every day, switching his time off,” Soderstrom said of Kortz. “He’s the leader of our program. We were just trying to represent his program well.”

Century club

Lincoln-Way Central is putting up some eye-popping numbers in the early going, twice breaking the school record of 68 points with 89 on opening night against Joliet Central and a whopping 102 on Saturday against Chicago Christian.

Kelsie Foster helped lead the Knights past the century mark with a game-high 27 points, while Candice Finnin contributed 15 and Taylor Green 14. A total of 13 players scored for Central.

“Our program has worked very hard over the last three years to improve offensively,” Knights coach Chris Fetherling said. “From three years ago, when we scored eight points in a full game and struggled to get over 30 points, we have come a long way.

“I credit our senior group (led by Foster, Madeline Bednarz, Sami Wisniewski, Faith Rudnick, Yesenia Chavez), which has stuck with our program knowing that if we put the time in, we would see results.”

Player of the Week

Ashley Dennis, of Rich East, is the SouthtownStar’s Girls Basketball Player of the Week.

Dennis, a junior center, scored 29 points and had 18 rebounds in the Rockets’ season opener against Eisenhower. At the Rich South Galaxy on Saturday, she scored 21 points against Joliet Catholic, and had 39 points and 19 rebounds against Bloom.



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