Delavan-Darien High School senior Kenna Timmerman goes after loose ball following a shot attempt during Delavan’s season-opening loss to Clinton on Nov. 17. (Madeleine Freitag photo)

Delavan-Darien High School senior Kenna Timmerman goes after loose ball following a shot attempt during Delavan’s season-opening loss to Clinton on Nov. 17. (Madeleine Freitag photo)

Coach’s daughter tore ACL playing club ball

By Kevin Cunningham

Correspondent

Two seasons ago, Delavan-Darien High School’s girls basketball team finished the season with a 3-19 record overall. Last year, in head coach Jose Lopez’s first season as the man in charge, the Comets finished 13-10, marking a 10-win turnaround.

His daughter, Kat Lopez, came in as a freshman a season ago as the team’s starting point guard and finished second on the team in points per game while leading in assists and steals. The team’s leading scorer, Jennah Speth, graduated over the off-season, and Kat Lopez was all but set to lead the Comets into this year.

“Kat tore her ACL while playing in Cincinnati,” the second-year head coach said. “That’s a big loss. That happened in the beginning of July. It happened in her final game (during a travel team’s tournament). She’s doing very well. We’re looking at the end of December for a possible return, but it could go into January.

“It just depends. It’s a total reconstruct, so, she has to re-train the whole leg. She’s at the point now where she’s shooting, she’s jumping and she can run. She just hasn’t been cleared for contact. There can be a setback very easily. They put a timeline on it, but it’s a major injury.”

With that injury, the team’s leading ball-handler will be out until she’s cleared to return, and five of the team’s 13 players from a year ago graduated. Jose Lopez said because of the team’s overall lack in numbers, the Comets have a varsity and a freshman team.

He said he expects Kenna Timmerman and Jaida Speth to lead the team in scoring and rebounding until the team’s point guard returns.

“I’m looking for that girl to step up like Jennah Speth did last year,” Jose Lopez said. “Jennah went from averaging 3.7 points per game her junior year to being our leading scorer her senior year. Now, we need to find that next Jennah Speth – a person who will take that lead.

“You can count on four returning girls that contributed heavily from a year ago. The expectations are that once Kat gets back, Kat, Jaida and Kenna to be the leaders. Alex (Gonzalez) is playing great defense right now. We’re going to be looking for greater contributions from Reece (Torkelson), Alex and Jackie (Damrow).”

To start the season in Year 1 of Jose Lopez’s guidance, the Comets went 3-5 in their first eight games. The team then got more adjusted to his offensive system and went 10-3 the rest of the way.

This year, he said, might look fairly similar, as the team is now installing plays to go along with its offense and because of injuries and lack of depth due to sheer numbers, the Comets could turn it on later in the season once again.

“We work very hard on rebounding,” he said. “We set a conference record in rebounding last year and we’ll continue to be great rebounders. And we need to continue to build on our offense. We’re just really looking for another scorer.

“We’re going to miss Kat. Jaida has been working her tail off. Every day we walk out of the gym, we want to be better. We’re preparing for the playoffs. Every game we play is just another practice. I’m not so sure it’s going to be different this year. The point is, there’s a lot of early season teaching as we go. We have to take it step by step. It just takes some time to get rolling.”

Delavan-Darien’s season began Nov. 17 against Clinton, a team the Comets narrowly defeated a year ago. This time around, Clinton pulled away in the second half to go on and win 62-41.

The game was tighter than the final score indicates, as, at halftime, the Comets trailed by three and with eight minutes to go, were still in the game, Jose Lopez said.

“We hung with them,” he said. “They just made a little run, and we’re short-handed right now. I’m really only carrying seven varsity players. We’re not conditioned yet. What we’re missing right now are all of the little championship details we had a year ago.

“We got a little bit tired and sloppy. We forced some passes. We weren’t making proper passes into the post. We had zero fast-break points, and we had fast-break opportunities. That’s a big difference – is that last year we were able to get out and run, push with Claudia (Nieuwenhuis) and Kat. (Kenna Timmerman) had an amazing game.”

Despite the woes offensively of trying to set up better shots, Timmerman stood out for the Comets. The 5-foot-11 senior forward scored 27 of the team’s 41 points while grabbing 14 rebounds and making 11 of her 12 free throws.

The team was scheduled to play on the road against East Troy on Tuesday and then will be at home to face Wilmot Union on Tuesday.

“I want to see us grow,” Lopez said. “We need to be more patient in our set offense. We need to be disciplined on defense. There’s a lot of missing details. We’re practicing on all of it. It’s just habits that have to be built. It’s something we do in practice every day.”

 

 
 

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