With a season of experience as head coach under her belt at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences (CHSAS), Coach Maureen Mulchrone-Griffin has seen plenty of improvement in her girls basketball team.
The skill level has increased for the Cyclones, and the girls also gained invaluable experience at the varsity level.
Now, it’s just a matter of putting it all together on the way to some wins.
Despite leading by 10 points in the second half, host CHSAS lost 43-39 to Shepard on Nov. 19 in a nonconference game.
“We’ve been discussing the importance of understanding the ups and downs of a game,” Mulchrone-Griffin said. “We do a lot of good things where we force a steal, but now we have to be more calculated than fast. We’re playing much better than we were last year.”
Mulchrone-Griffin is a Beverly native who attended Christ the King Elementary School, Marist High School and DePaul University. She was also an assistant coach at Mother McAuley High School.
“Last season, we put a lot of work in on skills,” Mulchrone-Griffin said. “Now, we’re finally able to run an offense where they’re seeing all their different options. It’ll take some encouraging and some learning as they grow through it.”
Senior Demyka Tyler (9 rebounds) and junior Britni Reardon (6 rebounds) scored 11 points apiece in the Shepard game.
Tyler (Beverly, Sutherland) is a four-year varsity player. With an experienced but still young roster, she’s doing her best to lead the way.
“I’m always up for the challenge of being a leader,” Tyler said. “I try to be valuable for the team any way I can.”
Off a slow start late into the first quarter, CHSAS regrouped in huge fashion with an extended 28-12 run over the game’s next 13 minutes.
Tyler scored on a runner on a quick pass from Alexandra Dimas, and Reardon scored on a back-cut with Izzy Horvacky getting the assist as the Cyclones went up 30-20 with 3:43 left in the third.
Reardon (Beverly, Sutherland) spent her freshman year at CHSAS, transferred to Mother McAuley as a sophomore and is back at CHSAS this season. She’s hoping to be a major contributor for the Cyclones.
“We want to make sure we’re running all our plays and know what we’re doing in all game situations,” Reardon said. “We want to keep working hard, step up and make a move to get better throughout the year.”
Down the stretch however, the Cyclones couldn’t hold off the Astros charge. Shepard tied things at 36 midway through the fourth and then went up for good on a hard drive inside at the 1:35 mark.
With several chances to tie or go up in the final 90 seconds, CHSAS was undone by 3 turnovers.
“With the game on the line, we had some crucial turnovers that could have been points,” Tyler said. “We could have slowed the ball down and gotten the momentum and gone from there.”
Dimas (6 rebounds) and Horkavy (7 rebounds) scored 6 points apiece for the Cyclones. Junior Kaleia Maxey had a big day in the post with 5 points, 13 rebounds and 2 blocks.