Girls Basketball: Romeoville eyeing next big stepRomeoville coach Julio Carrasco is drawing up plans for an upgraded nonconference season in 2012-13. | Jeff Vorva~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 21, 2012 6:17AM
Romeoville’s players woke up early Tuesday and played three games in the morning and early afternoon at the Morris Shootout, with the first game at 9 a.m.
Then they headed to Joliet for three more late-afternoon and evening games at Joliet Catholic, with the final game scheduled for 8:30 p.m.
Why go through this insanity?
“Every year I’ve been here, people say we’re the best of the weakest,” senior Abby Smith said. “We finally want to be the best of the best. If we keep practicing hard and playing six games in a day maybe we can change that.”
For his part, Spartans coach Julio Carrasco is beefing up his nonconference schedule in the winter to include an appearance in the strong Montini Christmas Tournament. The team also got an invitation to the 23rd Chicagoland Girls Prep Classic in January. Bolingbrook, Plainfield North and Providence also are invited to return to that showcase this season.
For the Spartans, who have won more than 20 games the past two campaigns, it’s a big accomplishment to get the invite.
“I told the girls that this means a lot and we have to step up,” Carrasco said. “If we’re going to win 20 games this year, we’re going to have to beat some quality teams. The last couple of years we’ve been beaten up with the rankings in the regionals because people felt our conference wasn’t as strong. Our conference is going to be strong this year, and with the seniors we have, I felt we had to step up and play quality teams.”
After winning 21 games in 2010-11, the Spartans enjoyed a 22-win season in 2011-12 and shared the Southwest Prairie Conference title with Oswego East. It was the first time a Romeoville team in any sport won or shared an SPC title since the league formed in 2006.
The Spartans ended the season with a two-game losing streak — both losses coming at the hands of Plainfield East. East helped deny the Spartans a shot at the outright league title with a 51-42 victory to close out the regular season.
The two squads locked horns again in the Class 4A Lockport Regional semifinals, and taking a 27-19 halftime lead, the Spartans were upended by the Bengals 50-42.
“It took us about a month to get over it,” Smith said. “It wasn’t the way I wanted the season to end.”
Kiera Curry, who averaged 16.2 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.9 steals and 2.3 assists per game last season, Smith (9.8 ppg), Brianna Harris (10.5 ppg, 6.2 rebounds per game) and Angelica Osusky (8.2 ppg) figure to be the team leaders this season.
Carrasco is hoping a six-game marathon can bring out the best in some of his bench players and some of his younger athletes. The Spartans have four sophomores and a freshman getting work in during the summer.
The Spartans are one of 16 teams alive in Wednesday’s championship round of the 32-team Morris tourney after going 2-1 in pool play. They lost 43-47 to Homewood-Flossmoor, then recovered to beat Kaneland 38-20 and Andrew 36-16.