News and Upcoming Events
(revised 09/21/2013 02:23 AM)

Lady Lightning in the News

From Blue Star Media (10/01/15):
Junior On The Big Stage
Claudia Kunzer has half of her high school career to play. In about six weeks, she’ll start her junior season at Illinois’ Lombard Montini Catholic. The 5-foot-6 point guard is uncommitted, but more than 160 collegiate coaches were on hand at the Rec Plex to watch Kunzer and her Illinois Lady Lightning teammates play. For Kunzer, the 11th-annual event was just another day. There was no extra pressure because of the eyes that might have been focused on her. “I’ve played all my life and when I step on the court, I don’t think about anything else,” Kunzer said. “I want to play my hardest. “I want coaches to think of me for how hard I work.” Her coach with the Lightning, Michael Seberger, said Kunzer excels in areas that aren’t revealed in the box score. “Her biggest attribute is her energy,” Seberger said. “She gets us five to seven extra possessions a game by getting loose balls and rebounds in a crowd. “I’d rather have her than someone who’s 3 of 12 from three-point range and does nothing else.” Seberger has been Kunzer’s summer coach for six years. “Now she’s a legit Division I kid,” he said. “Two years ago, it was too early to tell. “She’s a blue-collar kid who plays the game with energy. Her teammates love her. Next summer will be her third year on our No. 1 team.” Kunzer hasn’t yet settled on a college major nor has she started to eliminate schools from a list that thus far includes Boston College, Drake, Eastern Michigan, Illinois State University, Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis and St. Louis University. “I like to be the girl who gets the big stop or the defensive rebound and pushes it up the court,” Kunzer said. “It has always been a dream of mine to play in college.” (See entire article)

From the Kane County Chronicle (03/06/07):
Super soph hits a growth spurt
When the calendar turned to 2007, something happened to Geneva sophomore basketball player Taylor Whitley.  A player who was already a great scorer went on an absolute tear after Jan. 1, racking up four 30-plus point games and another one of 29 in the final two months of the season.  She wound up averaging an area-best 19.6 points per game, and 21 per game in Western Sun Conference play, earning Kane County Chronicle Girls Basketball Player of the Year honors
The key for Whitley will be her summer exposure with her AAU team, the Lady Lightning out of Lombard.  “Hopefully I’ll keep improving,” Whitley said. “I’m playing in a lot of tournaments over the summer. I’m trying to worry about the college stuff right now. But that is the biggest goal of mine.”

From the Courier News (02/18/07):
Awkwardly effective
ELGIN -- While making its improbable run through the postseason, the St. Edward girls basketball team has proven it has a lot of heart and desire.  Perhaps the best example of the team's makeup can be found in 6-foot-3 junior Celeste Von Ahnen.  Von Ahnen has become the heart and sole of the St. Edward defense, drawing charges, collecting rebounds, hustling every minute -- and even scoring with an unforeseen calmness when the opportunity has presented
Von Ahnen began playing basketball in the fourth grade. Always expected to hoop because of her height, Von Ahnen always enjoyed basketball growing up, but never really concentrated completely on the sport. That is, until last year when she played AAU for the first time -- competing for the Mike Seberger-coached Lady Lightning along with teammate Katie Yohn. Results followed and improvements were quickly noticed.
(See entire article)

From the Daily Herald (02/17/07):
Backcourt battle lives up to hype
Rosary junior Victoria Alvarez and Geneva sophomore Taylor Whitley. Can you think of two better guards in the Tri-Cities Area? I can’t.
Whitley and Alvarez’ history began three years ago, when both played for the same traveling basketball team, Illinois Lady Lightning.
(See entire article)

From the Beacon News (01/25/07):
Shooting Lights Out
SHABBONA -- Nightmares have a way of becoming living doses of reality. Indian Creek sophomore Lindsey Richardson ran smack dab into one during a semifinal game of the Little 10 Girls Basketball Tournament on Jan. 18. In a loss to Newark, Richardson made good on a just 1 of 12 shots from the field. With a third-place game against Earlville less than 24 hours away, Richardson had three clear choices. She could hang her head and refuse to take another shot, she could laugh it off as just one of those things or she could figure out where her shooting touch went. Richardson, Indian Creek's leading scorer with a 17.8 per game average, decided to take the high road. She went to the school's gym for some practice. "So I wouldn't have another bad game," she said. "I wanted to beat Earlville and come in third (place) in the tournament."   When the final bell rang Friday to end the school day, Richardson went right to the Indian Creek gym. She shot for a half-hour, took a rest while the boys team practiced, then shot another half-hour.

"She's dedicated to shooting better," IC coach Paul Muchmore said. There are never guarantees that extra practice will reap results. This time it did. Minutes after her final practice shot was sent airborne, Richardson took the floor against Earlville and blew away the frustration of her struggles against Newark the night before. Seconds after the final buzzer sounded to end the third place game, the crowd in the cozy gym erupted with admiration. Richardson had poured a school record 51 points through the nets. Fifty-one points! It was almost a surreal performance. Yet, it was 27 points off the state record of 78 scored by Chicago Bogan's Daphne Johnson against Chicago Kelly on Jan. 19, 1989. In fact, Richardson's 51 only ties her with 13 other girls for 54th place, according to IHSA records, on the all-time single game scoring list.
"(It) made me feel good because I felt I was going to be on that night," Richardson, who plays for the Illinois Lightning in the summer, said...
(See entire article)

From the Kane County Chronicle (01/24/07):
What a night for Whitley
GENEVA – Whoever keeps track of the records for Geneva’s girls basketball team had better be using a pencil.  Sophomore Taylor Whitley keeps rewriting the record book.  Whitley continued her torrid January with a school-record 38 points in the Vikings’ 74-66 Western Sun Conference win Tuesday against Glenbard South.  Whitley scored 12 points in the first quarter and 16 as the Vikings pulled away in the fourth quarter. It was Whitley’s third 30-point game of the month. No Viking had ever scored 30 in a game prior to Whitley.
The Raiders turned the ball over nine times in the first quarter, but hit eight of their first 11 shots from the field to open a 20-15 lead. The main source of offense was
Danielle Pipal, an AAU teammate of Whitley. She drilled three three-pointers in the first quarter and scored half of her team-high 22 points in the quarter.  “We’ve been waiting to see that from Danielle all year,” Glenbard South coach Julie Fonda said. “She’s had a tough year only because teams are keying in on her. Her and Taylor are friends. It was a night to compete for Danielle and she stepped up. Taylor did, too.”

From the Beacon News (01/11/07):
Freshman influence
When Jordan Rettig was making baskets for Holy Angels last winter, earning a starting spot on a high school varsity the following year wasn't in her thoughts. A year later, the 6-foot Rettig is the leading scorer and second leading rebounder for Rosary's varsity team. For a 15-year-old, that's pretty heady stuff. "I was hoping to (start) but I didn't really know," Rettig said. "I was excited, of course."  Rettig isn't alone. Rosary has two other freshmen on the varsity and both play. Lane Richmond, Rettig's teammate at Holy Angels, is back-up point guard to junior Victoria Alvarez and Katie Petrando, a Batavia Middle School graduate, is a top inside substitute off the bench.
And, they aren't alone. West Aurora has four freshmen, led by starting point guard Devin Vaughn.  It doesn't stop there. Oswego depends on the guard play of freshman Samiya Wright and St. Charles North fills its starting lineup with freshman guard Kiley Hackbarth.
Like their counterparts on the boys teams, the girls become varsity ready by their work in the summer. Rettig is a perfect example. "I played AAU ball with the
Lady Lightning about the last three years," Rettig said. Richmond also played with the Lady Lightning as an alternate. Whenever the team needed players, Richmond was called.  She's played in all 18 of Rosary's game, coming in to spell Alvarez.  "I was really happy," Richmond said of her promotion. "I worked really hard. It's all about the team, you have to have a team to do it. The intensity level is a lot higher."
There are probably two main reasons -- need and talent. Oswego's Wright was given a varsity uniform by head coach Mike Schnable last summer.  "We saw her play in summer camp and we put her with the varsity during (summer) practice and then in games," Schnable said. "She had court sense, she showed maturity -- she was able to handle the pressures -- and she could shoot." 
West Aurora's first-year coach Connie Siljendahl, a veteran of 17 years of coaching girls basketball, brought up freshmen Vaughn, Shelby Johnson, Kiara Towles and Sam Alvis for one big reason. "We don't have the numbers," Siljendahl said. "So they (the freshmen) have to be there (on the varsity). Devin plays high level AAU and she was pretty much ready to step into the varsity level."  The others are reserves. Towles, a post player in junior high, is making the transition to guard.
Not all freshmen can make the jump to varsity in a split second. Even girls with the talent to play varsity basketball have trouble making other adjustments, like playing against girls three and four years older, playing in front of people and handling the media.
"I think the biggest thing is mental," Siljendahl said. "You can have the skills, but if you can't handle it mentally, you can't play varsity. I think if they (freshmen) play club, they understand the competition out there." (See entire article)

From the Kane County Chronicle (01/02/07):
West’s Vaughn playing above her role
West Aurora girls basketball coach Connie Siljendahl told talented freshman Devin Vaughn before the season that she expected Vaughn to be a role player.  After Vaughn’s coming-out party at Wheaton North’s Bill Neibch Tournament last week, the role Vaughn seems poised to take on is that of a star player. 
Vaughn scored 56 points in the final three games of the tournament, and did it from all angles. She drilled three-pointers. She converted steals into fast-break points. She even broke off a finger roll in the lane against St. Charles East on Friday that would have made George Gervin jealous.

Any reservations about putting Vaughn into the varsity starting lineup as a freshman were quickly lost by Siljendahl. With an extensive AAU résumé playing for the Lady Lightning out of Lombard, Vaughn has seen varsity-caliber opponents for years.
“The good thing about Devin is she plays a very high level of AAU ball, so she’s playing against high-level competition all the time,” Siljendahl said. “So when she comes in here, she’s ready to play.”
(See entire article)

From the Liberty Suburban (12/07/06):
Long-time teammates lead Wildcats in win
Bonded by nearly a decade together on the basketball court, Melissa Olsen and Kelsey Monroe's chemistry has proven contagious with their West Chicago teammates so far this season. The dynamic senior duo showcased its strength with a 45-26 victory over Glenbard North in last Thursday's DuPage Valley Conference opener.
Olsen and Monroe first joined forces about seven years ago when they started playing travel basketball together as fifth-graders. They've played side by side ever since, including the last several years with the Illinois Lady Lightning.
"And we may go play together in college," Monroe said. But right now, they're just enjoying competing together as Wildcats, who are now 5-2 overall and 1-0 in league play. "It's cool because I can look at her and we can kind of just read each other," Olsen said. "It's a good trait on the floor."  "We know what each other is going to do before we do it," Monroe added.

From the Chicago Tribune (01/15/06):
But here's the perspective from a Willowbrook parent, Carol Seccombe. She's the mother of 5-6 freshman Katie Seccombe. "She tried out all summer (before her freshman year) and Willowbrook coach Nelson put her on the varsity. Every Sunday we'd drive to Naperville for a couple of games, then had some tournaments out in Libertyville. Katie played with the Lady Lightning out of Montini. I think they played really well."

From the Chicago Tribune (11/27/05):
In the preseason, Bartlett coach Denise Sarna said she had been impressed by Kaci Baird's emergence with the graduation of Ms. Basketball Lindsay Schrader.
"I played with a great team, the Illinois Lady Lightning," said Baird, whose teammates included Naperville Central's Lauren Grochowski and Kim Ebbesen, Montini's Lindsay Bava and Sarah Seberger and St. Charles East's 6-3 Katie White. Between the Lightning and her high school team, Baird played in 50 to 60 games.