Girls Basketball: Bolingbrook sends eight to D-IBolingbrook's Morgan Tuck signed a National Letter of Intent on Wednesday with NCAA women's powerhouse Connecticut. | File photo
Updated: November 9, 2011 7:35PM
A few years ago, the Bolingbrook girls basketball program boasted the unthinkable.
Six seniors signed for Division I scholarships.
The Raiders pushed that feat to the ridiculous level Wednesday when eight seniors celebrated National Letter of Intent Signing Day, casting their lots with the D-I schools of their choice. The school library, where the signings took place, looked more like a bakery with all the congratulatory cakes, supplied by parents and family, that lined the tables.
“We were very fortunate to have six before,” coach Tony Smith said with a smile. “But eight is always great.”
“When we came in as freshmen I was the only one on varsity,” said All-America forward Morgan Tuck, the class headliner who will play at Connecticut, one of the top women’s programs in the country.
Now, she definitely has company.
Bolingbrook has won three straight Class 4A state championships, so Tuck is in line to lead the way toward an unprecedented fourth title. “Four for four, that’s our plan,” she said. “A girls team in Illinois has never done it.”
The keys this season will be to replace all-state point guard Ariel Massengale, now at Tennessee, and keeping everyone pulling in the same direction. Is there enough floor time for eight Division I players?
“We want to be national champions — we haven’t done that yet — and everyone understands what we all have to do to make this team better,” Tuck said.
“It’s all about team ball and not worrying about individual things,” Smith said. “Each kid here today realizes she is going where she is going because of teamwork. They all realize that they make each other better.”
The others who signed were forward Cabriana Capers with Auburn, forward Nia Moore with Illinois, forward Annaya Moore with Alabama-Birmingham, forward ChaRosese Williams with Stetson, guard Keiera Ray with Pennsylvania, guard Allie Hill with Texas-Pan American and guard/forward DeLacy Anderson with George Washington.
“These are great kids and they have great parents,” said Smith, who demands his players maintain a 3.0 grade-point average to remain eligible. “They came to me ready to go. I have the easy part. I have to help keep them on the path they already are on when they get here.”
Tuck, who plans to major in sports management at UConn, also had Tennessee, Illinois and Duke among her final four choices. When she attended UConn’s game against Baylor last November, she knew that’s where she wanted to be.
She’s not overlooking the goals for her senior season at Bolingbrook, not by a long shot.
“This season is different with my sister (Taylor Tuck), Ariel (Massengale) and Falon (Edwards) gone,” she said of last year’s seniors. “So we have to focus even more. It’s very important to us that we win another state title.”