Stipanovich stepping up
ST. LOUIS -- Sydney Stipanovich has the bloodlines to be a basketball standout. Now she just needs to add the physique.
Stipanovich is a 6-3 post for the St. Louis Flight 17U squad, and if the name sounds familiar, it should. Her uncle, Steve, was a standout at Missouri before landing an NBA job with the Indiana Pacers. His daughter Sadie – who at 6-3 is eight inches shorter than her dad – also plays for the Flight. It’s the first time the cousins have played together since the fourth grade.
Sydney Stipanovich, a junior standout at St. Joseph Academy, has attracted interest from Missouri and Boston University, among others. If she can develop her upper-body strength, the interest could become even more widespread.
“She needs to hit the weights a little bit,” Flight coach Michael Taylor said. “Needs to get a little stronger. The rest of her game is outstanding. She passes the ball well, she catches the ball well, she shoots the ball well. She plays good defense. She just needs to get a little stronger.”
“I’ve been doing agility and lifting a lot,” Stipanovich said. “I feel like as the summer progresses I’ll get better.”
She’s not doing badly now, though.
“She played extremely well,” Taylor said after a 35-33 loss to Team Adidas at the Gateway Challenge. “Without her rebounding we would have lost by 20.”
Stipanovich said she hopes to make a college decision before her senior season begins. She has taken unofficial visits to Mizzou and Boston University, and also to a horde of California schools, including Pepperdine, UCSB, Santa Clara and San Diego.
Eclipse rolls on
It wasn’t hard to pick out Saturday’s most impressive team. The MoKan Eclipse Red 13U team won its three games by an average of 44 points. The highlight was a 57-6 win against Missouri Impact in which the Eclipse didn’t allow a basket until eight minutes remained.
The reason it’s so hard to score against this batch of eighth-graders: Length. The roster includes 6-1 Maggie Lawrence, 6-1 Mya Mertz, 6-0 Emily Engelken, 5-10 Meghan Maher and 5-10 Brenni Rose.
Eclipse will face Kansas Running Angels 14 Red in Sunday’s semifinal.
Deineses make it a family affair
Once track and field season is complete, the Deines family’s focus will be squarely on basketball. For now, divided loyalties are the order of the day.
“We haven’t had hardly any practices, and we’re doing what we can,” said Deines, coach of the Flight 16U team from Missouri.
Deines’ daughter Megan, a 6-foot guard, has signed with Louisville and will report to the Cardinals on May 27. His daughter Kimberly is a 5-9 guard who plays for Deines’ team.
Kimberly Deines is in the middle of her track season.
“(She’s) hard to judge right now because she’s running track with her big sister,” Deines said. “We’re working on trying to get her better at her ballhandling skills. She’s playing out of position.
“We’re just trying to get through the tournament by surviving. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
As for Megan, Deines said, “They’re going to put weight on her. I think they’ve got high expectations for her because they’re not going to play her at the point guard. She can play the point but it would be difficult for her.”
Eclipse 16u pick up steam
Coach Kevin Hill’s MoKan Eclipse Red 16U squad was among the last teams to get on the court during Saturday’s action. But once 1 p.m. rolled around, Hill wasn’t crazy about what he saw.
The Eclipse, led by Kansas State commit Marissa Ellis and Missouri State-bound Mikala McGhee, had to overcome a first-half deficit to rally past Valley Magic 17U 53-48.
“We’ve been here all day and hadn’t played. We watched four or five games,” Hill said. “We weren’t ready to play. I always blame that on the coach.”
Hill’s situation wasn’t so dire later in the day, as Eclipse beat Team Adidas 72-47.
“We try to give them a lot of freedom, and sometimes that equates to no discipline,” Hill said. “We were a little undisciplined, but we played hard.”
Long day for indiana elite swish
In 10 years of coaching club basketball, Indiana Elite Swish coach Phil Kessler hadn’t experienced anything like Saturday.
His team went 0-3, losing by an average of 15 points.
“I’ve lost three games in three years; I lost three games in a row today,” Kessler said.
In fairness to his 17U squad, the Swish played without star Tyra Buss, tbhe Mount Carmel, Ill., guard who was the fastest to reach 2,000 career points in Illinois prep history. They also missed 6-3 post Shelby Merder.
“I’ve got the talent with the kids out there to win that,” Kessler said. “They just laid an egg. I’ve never had a team do this.”
Tony Bleill covered the Illinois women’s basketball team for 14 seasons for the Champaign News-Gazette. He was 1 of 40 voters in The Associated Press Top 25 poll during that period as well. He resides in Illinois with his wife and three daughters.