Girls Basketball: Jacobs ready to go under coach Joe Benoit

Updated: November 10, 2012 6:00PM

Although new Jacobs girls basketball coach Joe Benoit has plenty of experience within the Golden Eagles program, and several potential standout players returning from last year’s team, this years’s squad will hardly resemble those of the recent past.

“I’ve taken some things from styles of those coaches I worked under, but it’s going to be a fresh look for the kids with new systems,” said Benoit, who coached as an assistant at Jacobs the last five years.

Benoit, a former St. Edward athlete, has a lack of height with a group that is trying to improve on last year’s 7-20 record, but doesn’t mind.

“It’s no secret we’re not going to be the tallest team in the area, which lends itself to going up-tempo, especially at the defensive end of the floor,” he said. “And I enjoy coaching that style.”

With 5-10 senior guard Tori Tamburrino, 5-4 senior guard Nikki Chapa, and 5-5 senior guard Payton Berg all returning, the backcourt appears in good hands and very able to push the ball up the floor.

“We’ll probably go with a point guard by committee early on to see how that plays out and mix and match them based on what we’re doing and seeing from the defense,” Benoit said.

Junior 5-4 guard Kelly Grady and Chapa are both strong defensively. Also aiding the Golden Eagles in their attempts at a faster pace is the presence of Lauren Van Vlierbergen, a sophomore who just finished seventh in the state Class 3A cross country meet.

“I think her speed and quickness is going to benefit us greatly,” Benoit said.

Jacobs is not without a threat on the interior. Senior 5-10 post player Jackie Bartolai should be an asset on the boards and challenging from in close.

Berg and Tamburrino look to be the primary outside shooting threats. Benoit said Tamburrino could be his most versatile player, with an ability to get inside as well as shoot from the perimeter.

“We’re establishing roles with the rest of the players right now,” Benoit said.

Jacobs opens Tuesday at Barrington, then goes with the boys team on a road trip to compete at the Quincy tournament. As an experienced assistant, Benoit knows his team will be up against strong odds in the Fox Valley Fox this season.

“It’s always strong,” he said. “Huntley and Cary-Grove, maybe Prairie Ridge with their new coach, will all be a challenge,” he said. “We have a lot of enthusiasm and are working hard to get the program up to where it can be successful.”

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