Hampshire girls basketball teams have been scrappy, smart, shorter teams with versatile performers, and this year’s version promises to fit that mold.
The Whip-Purs, coming off a 17-16 season, are relatively young with three experienced players returning in Jennifer Dumoulin, Liz Panzica and Sara Finn; but this year they also have one thing they haven’t had too often.
“We’ve finally got someone with height,” said Whip-Purs coach Ed Haugens.
That comes from Emma Benoit, who is 5-foot-11, but is a freshman.
“She doesn’t play like one,” Haugens said. “She’s very athletic, does a really nice job and she earned her place this summer against older kids when we played (at Dundee-Crown).”
The strength of the team will be its veterans. Panzica, a senior, is an inside presence and battler at 5-8.
“She’s very good on the boards and defensively,” Haugens said. “We’re hoping she opens it up offensively. She’s been working on her shot.”
Finn is a floor leader at guard.
“She handles the ball well, penetrates and makes good decisions,” Haugens said. “She’s very unselfish.”
Dumoulin is a versatile, athletic player who can score inside or outside and hit the boards.
“She understands what we’re trying to do and helps the others on the team,” Haugens said.
Some of those she’s helping will be family members. The Dumoulins, Hampshire’s first family of basketball, have three more players on the team who play guard. Sophomore Patricia, junior Rebecca, and freshman Nikki all bring slightly different talents to the backcourt.
“Nikki is more of a point guard, Trish more of a slasher, and Becky more of a shooting type of guard,” Haugens said, and added of the Dumoulins, “They do love basketball.”
Anna Baxter, a 5-7 forward, and 5-5 guard Sam Okubo are two less experienced seniors who figure to contribute. Hannah Detiveaux, a 5-7 junior forward, will also play.
“We’ve got really good speed,” Haugens said. “We’ve got a real melting pot of talent. So many kids are good at different things. If they work together and bring their own thing to each play, we’re hoping we can take advantage of their strengths.”
The Whip-Purs will be tested right away at the Dundee-Crown tournament. They open with South Elgin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. The tournament includes McHenry, Hononegah and Streamwood.
“We didn’t sign up to play a bunch of cupcakes, that’s for sure,” Haugens said.