Girls Basketball: Homewood-Flossmoor gets defensive boostH-F's #22, Kiara Carter and Andrew's #15, Sarah Renaud fight for a ball during their game in the Morris Shootout at Morris High School in Morris, IL on Tuesday June 19, 2012. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media .
One in an occasional series on Southland athletes and teams gearing up for the 2012-13 high school season.
Updated: July 28, 2012 6:11AM
Chardae Greenlee’s coaches used phrases like “defensive specialist,” “floor leader” and “hard-working” when describing her style of play during the 15th Morris Ladies Shootout.
Come November, there will be another all-important word to describe Greenlee: Viking.
The hard-nosed guard recently transferred to Homewood-Flossmoor to play her senior season. It’s a return for Greenlee, who played her first two seasons at H-F before making the move to T.F. North before the 2011-12 season.
“It feels good to be back,” Greenlee said. “I’m still kind of getting used to playing with them again, but everything is going to fall into place by the time the season starts.”
Greenlee is known for her unrelenting ball pressure and ability to shut down opposing teams’ guards.
The fruits may already have begun to sprout. H-F won its first Shootout title June 20. The tournament featured 32 schools, all playing at least six games over the course of two days in muggy 90-degree heat.
The Vikings ran the table, winning all seven of their games en route to their championship. Along the way, they showed an ability to squelch the opposition’s offensive momentum at will.
During a hard-fought contest against SouthWest Suburban Conference foe Andrew, H-F erased a seven-point halftime deficit by ratcheting up its pressure and forcing several turnovers. Greenlee registered a handful of steals to help turn the tide in her team’s favor.
Vikings coaches were thrilled to see her impact on the floor.
“Someone with the energy like that, you have to have them — and she brings it,” coach Dana Noble said. “She’s not the best offensive player. But defensively, she doesn’t stop running. She will go after everybody, and there’s no challenge that she doesn’t want to tackle.”
Assistant coach Jason Cheeks was the Vikings’ sideline general during Day 2 at Morris. He said he’s already seen the benefits of having Greenlee back.
“She’s showing me a lot,” Cheeks said. “We knew what we were getting when she decided to come back over. She’s a returning Viking. I’d rather be playing with her than against her. She brings a lot to the floor defensively with her hustle and her heart.”
Offensively, H-F will rely on juniors J.V. Norris and Sydni Johnson, along with senior point guard Lauren Parker. Noble still is in search of the team’s go-to player after graduating three Division I seniors from last season’s team, which won a regional title.
That player may be Johnson, a 6-foot wing player who will start at shooting guard but has the versatility to play on the block. She scored 13 points in the Vikings’ championship victory at Morris. Norris also made her presence known at the tournament, scoring nine in the title game.
“For us it’s about chemistry,” Noble said. “That’s the big thing. We need to see those players that just want it. Who can actually get out there and not only want it, but then be able to perform in tight situations.”