Patch sports reporter Ross Jacobson ranks the North Shore’s basketball teams.
The girls season got off to a quick start on Nov. 14 with local teams getting their first games in with holiday tournaments. The boys got their last practices in before opening the year this week so the movement and analysis in these rankings is only about the girls teams. New Trier made its opening statement with a dominating effort against Phillips and a quality win on the road at Loyola. Our first five saw no movement as the top teams took care of business and didn’t lose in the opening week.
Last week’s ranking is in parentheses.
PATCH PRESEASON RANKINGS
1. (1) – The Trevians are looking to play a more up-tempo style this year, relying on defense and athleticism. New Trier shutout Phillips in its first quarter of the season: a promising start for a team that had some defensive issues last season.
2. (2) – The Hawks went 3-0 last week behind a dominating defense. Having every starter back from last year gives Maine South a huge advantage early in the season as other teams try and figure out lineups and rotations.
3. (3) – Jewell Loyd was, well, Jewell Loyd through Niles West’s first three games. The senior guard scored 38 points against Evanston in the Wolves’ 56-36 victory. They should be the favorites to win the title of the Deerfield Thanksgiving Tournament this week.
4. (4) – The Titans don’t seem to be having too much early-season trouble after replacing two starters. Glenbrook South is 3-0 and defeated host Schaumburg 53-37 on Saturday. Three Titans scored in double figures.
5. (5) – Behind the play of Rachel Blitt, Glenbrook North got off a great start with two straight wins, including a good victory over Highland Park. Senior Gracie Sanchez will give the Spartans another scoring option to complement Blitt.
6. (11) – Lena Munzer has been on an absolute tear for the Giants, scoring 45 points against Grayslake North in the Mundelein Thanksgiving Tournament. The Giants capped the week by squeaking out a 48-46 win and Highland Park improved to 3-1 on the year.
7. Loyola Academy (7) – There will be some growing pains for Loyola early in the season as the Ramblers learn to play without Katie Faught. Loyola got a win over Warren in its season opener, but lost to New Trier on Friday.
8. (6) – The Wildkits lost a pair of games to start the season, but faced a couple of tough matchups in Zion and Niles West. Evanston should improve markedly once transfer Sinclair Cunningham is able to play.
9. (9) – Niles North lost its opener in a 67-61 decision against Proviso East. The Vikings will use these early-season games to work in a couple of new starters and piggy-back off of last year’s successful season.
10. (10) – The Warriors lost their first two games of the season before finally getting in the win column with a 50-30 victory over Lake Forest. Deerfield will continue to host its Thanksgiving tournament this week.
11. (8) – Maine West will have to get some help on the offensive end from other players besides Brittany Collins. The sophomore center will score her fair share – as shown in Maine West’s opening game – but she won’t be able to do it all.
12. (12) – North Shore won its first two games, playing at home in its annual Thanksgiving tournament. Kim Kahnweiler will likely be the Raiders’ go-to scorer throughout the season.
(Covering the Patch communities of Skokie, Evanston, Wilmette, Winnetka, Niles, Highland Park, Glenview, Deerfield, Morton Grove, Des Plaines and Northbrook.)