STRONG SUMMER FOR ILLINOIS LADY LIGHTNING by BlueStar Media at USJN 12th Annual Battle of the Programs (09/27/16)

Michael Seberger’s Lady Lightning program flourished again this summer, with a talented wave of players in the 2018 and ’19 classes on the way, led by posts Aaliyah Patty (6-3, 2018) and Lindsey Jarosinski (6-5, 2018).

“We had a great summer,” Seberger said. “Both big kids have got BCS schools up and down the line that they’re on. All five of my 2018s had offers.

Jarosinski has long been regarded as one of the top posts in the 2018 class.

“She’s extremely young; she just turned 16 on Aug. 4,” Seberger said. “Big kids take longer to develop. She’s got a real nice list: Stanford, Duke, San Diego, Wake Forest, Wisconsin, Michigan, DePaul. She’s getting tougher, she’s getting quicker, and she’s doing the right things that she has to work on.

“Same way with Aaliyah Patty. Louisville’s on her, Maryland, South Carolina.”

The 2019 class is headed by point guard Julia Martinez (5-10) and versatile 5-10 Zoe Zacker.

“I think she’s a big-time point guard,” Seberger said of Martinez. “She’s got to get better offensively and that’ll come with time. But her court vision and defense, the motor she drives us with is amazing. And it’s great to get Zoe. Zoe would have been on my top team last summer but she tore her ACL in December of her freshman year. She had three Big Ten offers going into her freshman year. In December she was leading her high school team in steals, assists, was second in rebounding and was the top three-point shooter, and that’s pretty impressive for a freshman.”

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Lightning’s Kaylee Bambule Listed as a “Quickhitter” by BlueStar Media at USJN Hoops in the Heartland (04/20/16)

This tournament had many great shooters, but Bambule was one, if not the most, clutch shooter this past weekend. The talented Lady Lightning team played very well this weekend and needed some timely shots to force overtime. In a game against the Kentucky Premier EYBL squad, Bambule hit big three’s down the stretch to cut the lead and to send it to overtime. Although she is a great shooter, she doesn’t really force shots. The next day, they needed a big three and, when she was double-teamed coming off a screen, she made a pass for a game tying tripple. Bambule has a strong build and continues to improve. She has expanded her game and can also attack off the dribble and use shot fakes for jumpers.

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Lightning’s Lindsey Jarosinski Confirmed To Attend 2916 USA Women’s U17 World Championship Team Trials (04/19/16)

Thirty-five of the nation’s best, young basketball players have accepted invitations to attend trials for the 2016 USA Basketball Women’s U17 World Championship Team. Trials will take place May 26-30 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“This group represents a tremendous amount of talent,” said Carol Callan, USA Women’s National Team Director and chair of the USA Basketball Women’s Developmental National Team Committee, which is responsible for issuing the invitations. “Many of these players have USA Basketball experience from last year – from trials or from the U16 national team, and we hope that helps raise the level of competition for everyone.”

The invitee’s roster includes all 12 players who helped USA Basketball to a bronze medal at the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championship this past summer, including: Jayda Adams (Mater Dei H.S./Irvine, Calif.); Desiree Caldwell (Frenship H.S./Lubbock, Texas); Aquira DeCosta (St. Mary’s H.S./Stockton, Calif.); Andra Espinoza-Hunter (Blair Academy, N.J./Ossining, N.Y.); Destiny Littleton (The Bishop’s School/San Diego, Calif.); Lauryn Miller (Kirkwood/Kirkwood, Mo.); Alexis Morris (Legacy Christian Academy/Beaumont, Texas); Valencia Myers (Solon H.S./Solon, Ohio); Sedona Prince (Liberty Hill H.S./Liberty, Texas); Honesty Scott-Grayson (Blair Academy/Brick, N.J.); Bexley Wallace (Pickerington Central H.S./Pickerington, Ohio); and Jade Williams (Prestonwood Christian Academy/The Colony, Texas).

An additional 15 invitees took part in trials for the 2015 USA Women’s U16 National Team: Caitlin Bickle (Cactus Shadows H.S./Cave Creek, Ariz.); Rellah Boothe (IMG Academy/Ocala, Fla.); Jenna Brown (The Lovett School/Marietta, Ga.); Chloe Chapman (Our Lady of Good Counsel H.S./Mitchellville, Md.); Charli Collier (Barbers Hill H.S./Baytown, Texas); Amira Collins (Paul VI Catholic H.S., Va./White Plains, Md.); Maya Dodson (St. Francis H.S./Alpharetta, Ga.); Katlyn Gilbert (Heritage Christian H.S./Indianapolis, Ind.); Alexis Gordon (L.D. Bell H.S./Fort Worth, Texas); Zarielle Green (Duncanville H.S./Dallas, Texas); Destanni Henderson (Fort Myers H.S./Fort Myers, Fla.); Lindsey Jarosinski (Montini Catholic H.S./Medinah, Ill.);…

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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.”

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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
itself.

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.

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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.

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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…

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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, Kia 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.”

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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.”

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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.