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Oswego girls' basketball team has unfinished business : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Oswego girls' basketball team has unfinished business
Young Panthers enter postseason hungry after early postseason exit

by Kristin Sharp


The Oswego girls' basketball team will have plenty of motivation this off-season after the Class 4A postseason ended with disappointment for the Panthers.

Not able to get past the opening round of play, Oswego's season ended with a 14-12 overall record after a loss to Metea Valley on Feb. 12.

"There were nights when we showed our ability and played some pretty good basketball. At times, there were some nights when we showed our youth," Oswego head coach Chad Pohlmann said. "I was very pleased with our month of January. Once we hit Christmas break, I thought we had a solid month. We played real competitive, even against the good teams like Romeoville and Plainfield East.

"Unfortunately, we stumbled into the end of the season and I don't know if that was a byproduct of youth. We'd obviously liked to have finished stronger and made it to a regional championship. For the most part, there were times we played good basketball. We still have some things we have to work on."

With just one senior on its roster for the 2012-13 season, Pohlmann has plenty to look forward to as the entire starting lineup returns.

The season opened with a 5-4 start, but Oswego went 2-2 in its own Holiday Classic after a 69-68 overtime loss to Batavia and went 7-4 for the remainder of the regular season.

"In January, we played real tough," Pohlmann said. "We started to figure it out there, and that's a good sign. It's important for them to gain confidence in themselves. We're obviously pretty excited about next year."

Oswego graduates Becca Anderson, a senior captain who played in 23 games this winter.

"She's the consummate teammate," Pohlmann said. "You can't find a better kid than Becca. She does exactly what you ask her to do, and whenever we needed her she came through. She's going to be missed. She's steady as a rock and every team needs players like Becca."

Oswego will return junior point guard Amri Wilder, who was the lone representative on the Southwest Prairie All-Conference list after the Panthers went 8-6 in the league to finish third behind Romeoville (14-0) and Plainfield East (12-2).

In her third varsity season, Wilder played in all 26 games and scored a team-best 254 points for an average of 9.8 points per game. She also led the team with 60 assists.

Sophomore Siarra O'Neill had a breakout season after playing limited varsity minutes as a freshmen late last season, but she finished with 9.3 points per game including a team-best 47 three-pointers this year.

Sophomore Erin Sinnott also reached the 200-point mark with 215 points (8.3 points per game) while sophomore Jordan Campbell had a team-best 163 rebounds with an average of 6.2 points per game.

"Siarra really showed her potential this year in a lot of games. She's an athletic two-guard who made a lot of great shots for us," Pohlmann said. "She really didn't play in the summer; she was coming off a concussion from the spring, broke her wrist right at the beginning of the summer and she was just coming off of her fall work. She worked really hard and it's nice to know she's coming back for two more years.

"Amri was one of our more consistent players this year. She started every game for us - all the sophomores started every game except Siarra when she missed one game with a concussion - and I thought Amri had a nice, consistent season. Amri shot the ball at a very high percentage. Erin is one of the hardest working players we have. She plays with a lot of tenacity. At times, when Jordan was playing well, our team was playing well. She did a great job rebounding this year and there were a few 10 or 12-digit games rebounding. Her and Erin coming back should provide support on the front line."

A solid junior class saw time off the bench this year, including Krissy Klingbeil, Alex Janiak, Amy Annala and Tia Carr as well as junior starter Kelsey Nelson, who averaged 7.1 points per game with 128 rebounds. She will be a four-year varsity player next season.

"Kelsey will be a four-year senior player. There was a time there in January where I didn't think anyone was playing better than Kelsey. She was playing with a lot of confidence, and her being healthy this year was huge," Pohlmann said. "It'll be nice to have a group of seniors that are coming back. Krissy was our sixth man, played starter minutes and did a terrific job, especially defensively."

Pohlmann now begins preparations for a solid off-season of work, including area shootouts, summer league play and team camps over the course of the 25 summer contact days.

Seven of the 10 returning players will also play AAU basketball.

"We're making a couple changes, going to Bloomington for a shootout at Illinois Wesleyan," Pohlmann said. "We'll go back to Notre Dame, and go to the U of I for a one-day shootout. We're going to be doing a little traveling just to play different competition."

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