Depth proves to be a difference maker for New Trier

GLENVIEW — When New Trier girls basketball coach Teri Rodgers announced at the end of tryouts how many players would be kept on the varsity roster, some players were taken back.

“When 20 girls made it, it was a bit of a concern,” said senior guard Isabella Bosco, who had initially worried about team chemistry without enough minutes to go around. “But we’re all so close, it was never an issue.”

Several returning players said that although chemistry was never an issue with last year’s team, that group wasn’t nearly as close-knit as this squad. Senior forward Kristen Stiffler partly credits a preseason lock-in at one player’s home where they did team-building activities, including a blindfolded, 2 a.m. trust walk.

“It forced everyone to get to know each other really well,” Stiffler said. “Our chemistry is the best of any team I’ve been on, and I’ve been playing since third grade.”

The Trevians have gotten out to a 17-0 start (5-0 in the CSL South), and one of the team’s biggest advantages has been its depth: New Trier uses a 10-player rotation.

“We have a deep bench, and we could really play even more girls,” junior guard Jackie Welch said. “It helps to keep everyone fresh.”

The team doesn’t have to rely on its starters, either. If someone is having an off game, there is another player who can step in and fill that void.

“It reassures the starters that they don’t have to worry about doing everything themselves,” senior guard Julie Ball said. “Everyone is extremely unselfish.”

“All the way through the 20th person, everyone knows their role,” Stiffler said. “Everyone knows what they can do to help the team.”

As the season continues and the games get more important, New Trier expects to see the depth of its roster continue to come into play.

“Anyone on our team is capable of being a big player in every game,” Bosco said. “We don’t have to rely on just one or two players.”

 

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About Jakub Rudnik

DePaul Journalism graduate student and Alma College alumni.