Center of attention: Benet’s Jaseckas leads All-Area Team

By Mark Gregory
Sports Editor
@Hear_The_Beard
mark@buglenewspapers.com

During Benet Academy’s back-to-back state title runs in 2015 and 2016, much of the attention was givn to the guard play on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.

Katie Jaseckas

With guards like Kathleen Doyle leading the way, Benet was known its full court press as well as ability to shoot from the perimeter.

One of the biggest reasons the Redwings had that luxury was the play of Katie Jaseckas.

Jaseckas, the 6-foot, 1-inch, Truman State-bound center, leaves the program as its all-time leader in rebounds (741) and second in blocked shots (209). It was that play that allows the guards to shoot threes, knowing Jaseckas would be there for the rebound and apply pressure knowing if a team beat the press, they had her guarding the rim.

“Katie has been the backstop behind the Redwings full court press for the past three seasons,” said Benet coach Joe Kilbride. “She is one of the best shot blockers and rebounders in the school’s history and has been the starting center for Benet teams that have compiled a 94-11 record in her three full seasons on varsity.”

This season, Jaseckas averaged 12 points, 8 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and 1.9 steals per game and led Benet to a 28-5 record and a sectional title. For those accomplishments, she has been named the 2017 Voyager Media girls basketball Player of the Year.

Jaseckas was also named to the East Suburban Catholic Conference team, was all-tournament at the Montini Holiday Tournament and was the Most Valuable Player at the Naperville North Holiday Tournament. She was also named to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association second team all-state.

With talent surrounding her all three years of her career, Jaseckas knew she didn’t have to bear the entire load. But when the playoffs came, she wanted to.

“In the playoffs, I knew I didn’t want to go home,” she said. “I knew I had to do whatever it took. All year, we always knew someone would pick up the slack. If I wasn’t having a good game, I would just do the dirty work like get a rebound and pass the ball to whoever was hot.”

She said that while the championships were a great bonus, he time at Benet was not all about the wins.

“I couldn’t have asked for anything more amazing than the teams I have had and the ride that I had at Benet,” Jaseckas said. “Coach Kilbride made it a phenomenal program. I just love spending time with my team. Winning state two years in a row and this year we won the sectional and had so much fun. This year after we lost, on the ride home, we cried and then we had a dance party on the bus because it was our last time together.”

Other members of the Voyager Media All-Area first team are:

Brooklyn Bachmann

Minooka

Senior averaged an area-best 20.9 points per game, along with 3.5 rebounds.

She ended her career as the all-time leader in points in school history with 1,523.

Was named to the All-Southwest Prairie Conference team and was Class 3A/4A IBCA all-state honorable mention. She will attend Bemidji State University in Minnesota.

Sam Galanopoulos

Niles West

Sophomore was the starting point guard for the Wolves. She averaged 17.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.8 steals and 3.3 assists per game.  She scored more than 30 points in a game 3 times this season.  She made the Central Suburban South All Conference team and was also on the York Thanksgiving  and Nazareth Holiday All-Tournament teams.

“Sam had a wonderful season for us but the best is yet to come from this sophomore,” Niles West coach Tony Konsewicz said.

Olivia Jenkins

Plainfield East

Junior averaged 12.79 points and 7.18 rebounds per game this season.

She was named to the Marist Thanksgiving All-Tournament team and was Class 3A/4A IBCA honorable mention all-state.

“Olivia is a fierce competitor that will do whatever it takes to help the team win.  Some games it was score, some it was rebound, others she set the tone by diving on the floor for loose balls.  She refused to let us lose,” Tony Waznonis said.

Holly Lueken

Downers South

Sophomore forward averaged 15.8 points and five rebounds per game, while recording 65 blocked shots.

Tsimba Malonga

Benet Academy

Junior point guard averaged 12 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2.2 steals per game.

After sitting out her sophomore year due to transfer, the starting point guard led the Redwings to 28-5 record and sectional championship. She made the all ESCC All-Conference team and was all-tournament at both the Naperville North and Montini Holiday Tournaments. She was named to the Class 3A/4A IBCA all-state third team.

“Tsimba has been the sparkplug to ignite Benet’s full court pressure and fast break offense,” said Kilbride. “An incredibly accurate mid-range shooter, she was the scoring leader for the Redwings balanced attack while shooting 50 percent from the floor.”

Lota Onua

Plainfield East

Senior averaged 11.25 points and 6.44 rebounds per game.

She was named to the SPC All-Conference team as well as all-tournament at the Nazareth Holiday Tournament and DeKalb MLK Tournament. She was Class 3A/4A IBCA honorable mention all-state.

“Lota is the embodiment of a competitor,” Waznonis said. “She was a key part in helping lead us to the success we had this year, not just as an athlete, but also as a leader.”

Julie Pospisilova

Downers North

Exchange student averaged 14 points, six rebounds, three steals, three assists and two blocked shots per game.

She was named to the all-tournament team at the Wheaton North tournament and was MVP of the Glenbard East Thanksgiving tournament. She was named to the All-West Suburban Conference Silver Division team and was Class 3A/4A IBCA all-state honorable mention.

Jahari Smith

Bolingbrook

Junior averaged a double-double with 12.4 points and 10.1 rebounds per game in her first season with Bolingbrook. She was shot 63 percent from the field. Smith was Class 3A/4A IBCA honorable mention all-state, all-tournament in Naples, Fla. and was MVP of the Rich South Tournament.

Jnaya Walker

Bolingbrook

Senior tore her ACL late in the season, missing the final seven games of the Raiders’ season.  She averaged 10.25 points and 4.25 rebounds per game and added 52 assists and 53 steals.

Walker was named to the Class 3A/4A IBCA second-team all-state.

SECOND TEAM

Kennedy Collins

Plainfield East

University of Dubuque commit averaged 11.33 points and 4.21 rebounds per game for the regional champons.

She was named to the SPC All-Conference team and the Marist Thanksgiving All-Tournament team.

“Kennedy was the key to helping our pressure defense be so successful with her athleticism and hard work at the top spot.  Her defensive commitment is what led to our and her offensive success this year,” Waznonis  said.

Sarah Gersh

Joliet West

Junior captain was named to the All-Southwest Prairie Conference team as well as being all-tournament at the Lincoln-Way Central Thanksgiving and Oak Lawn Christmas tournaments.

On the season, she averaged 14 points per game to go along with 79 assists and 81 steals.

Taylor Hopkins

Lockport 

Junior guard averaged 13 points per game for the Porters and was named to the All-SouthWest Suburban Conference team as well as the Oak Lawn all-tournament team.

Kelle Knopp

Plainfield North

Junior averaged eight points and 12 rebounds per game for the Tigers to help lead the team to a school-best 17-10 record.

TyAnn Legrand-Melton

Lisle

Senior averaged 12.4 points and 9.7 points per game for the Lions, helping them to a 20-win season. She was named Class 1A/2A IBCA all-state honorable mention.

Alexis Marin

Romeoville 

Senior point guard averaged 13.68 points, 2.67 rebounds, 2.64 assists and 1.74 steals per game.

She was named to the All-Southwest Prairie Conference team as well as all-tournament at the Romeoville Thanksgiving and Nazareth Christmas tournaments.

She was a 1,000 point scorer for the Spartans in her career.

“Alexis has been our starting point guard for four years and one of our top scorers,” said Romeoville coach Julio Carrasco. “She is a nightmare to defend and can create her own shot or hit from the outside. She will be truly missed.”

Brittany Osborne

Romeoville

Junior guard averaged 8.47 points, 4.72 rebounds, 2.79 assists and 3.82 steals per game.

She was the team MVP pf the Spartans, named to the All-Southwest Prairie Conference and Romeoville Thanksgiving all-tournament teams.

“Brittany is the heart and soul of our team,” said Romeoville coach Julio Carrasco. “She led the team in assists and steals and was second in points and rebounds. She does all the little things for the team.”

Nicole Scales

Maine South

Sophomore averaged 10.6 points per game for the Redhawks to go along with 2.9 rebounds, two assists and 1.5 steals per game.

She was all-tournament in all Maine South’s tournaments and was selected to the all-Central Suburban League All-Conference team. Her 80 made three-pointers broke the school record.

Kendal Schramek

Benet Academy

Senior guard averaged seven points, three assists and two steals per game.

The Saginaw Valley State recruit was named to the East Suburban Catholic Conference All-Conference team as well as the Naperville North all-tournament team.

“During her 4 years on the Benet varsity the Redwings have compiled a record of 115-21 with four regional titles, three sectional titles, two supersectional titles and two IHSA Class 4A State Championships,” Benet coach Joe Kilbride said.

Gabby Smith

Bolingbrook

Averaged 13.7 points, 2.1 assists and 1.9 steals for the regional champion Raiders. She was named to the All-SouthWest Suburban Conference and was Class 3A/4A IBCA honorable mention all-state.

She was all-tournament at both Rich South and in Naples, Fla.

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