Timeout girls basketball: Bondi, Markovich seeking another unbeaten GSSC title
By Ryan Haskell Post-Tribune correspondent January 3, 2013 11:12PM
Whiting's Abby Bondi makes a layup over Boone Grove's Sarah Brown during their game held at Boone Grove High School on Saturday December 22, 2012. | Charles Mitchell~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 5, 2013 6:41AM
Whiting’s Abby Bondi and Lauren Markovich have been talking about their senior season since their days at St. John the Baptist Catholic School.
Expectations were raised last year when the team won 16 games and captured the school’s first conference championship, finishing 7-0 in the Greater South Shore Conference.
But not even these two best friends expected the Oilers to be 13-1 overall and 5-0 in the Greater South Shore Conference coming into their matchup Friday at Wheeler.
“Last year we had a lot of potential and I knew this year coming in we would be even better,” Bondi said. “But being 13-1 is by far past our expectations.”
The Oilers aren’t just beating teams, they are manhandling their opponents, averaging almost 60 points a game while giving up 30 points.
Bondi is one of those leading the charge for Whiting, averaging 17 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3 steals and 2.5 assists per contest.
That was to be expected.
Bondi, a four-year starter, has been playing valuable minutes on the varsity since she walked through the doors at Whiting.
“She had a little poise about her when she came up to the varsity,” Whiting coach Kevin Moynihan said. “She was able to step on the floor right away and make her presence felt. And the thing I love about her, she’s grown every year since her freshman year.
“It seems like every year she’s developed a (part of her) game that was lacking from the previous season. She has always been a good shooter. But we needed her to slash a little bit more and she improved on that; we needed her to be a better shooter and we improved that, too. Those are things that are impressive.
“She’s also sneaky quick and anticipates things pretty well defensively. She probably gets four to six points off steals a game.”
Markovich has also stepped up her senior year.
That wasn’t exactly expected.
Markovich, who averaged just two points a game last season, spent most of her first two seasons on the varsity bench. She started to see consistent playing time junior year until an ankle injury put her out a couple games and hacked off some of her confidence when she stepped back on the court
“I started at the beginning of the season,” the future Purdue University student said. “Then I hurt my ankle pretty bad. I think I was scared (when I came back) so I wasn’t performing as well.”
Markovich wanted to make her senior year count, though, so she went back to the drawing board to improve her game.
“You could see it right away doing the summer stuff with us,” Moynihan said. “We talked to her about developing her offensive game so we worked hard with my JV coach, Abby Gazda, working on post moves and working on her confidence so when she got on the floor she could make something happen.”
Bondi said her play has improved 100 percent.
“I give her a lot of credit,” she said. “Lauren is just an inch taller than me (5-foot-8) and she’s giving their tallest player a hard time in the paint. It’s very cool since she’s only an inch taller than me so for her to be against a 6-foot girl and get more rebounds. That took a lot of work (in the offseason) and she’s doing great out there.”
Markovich is averaging almost six points a game, while pulling down about eight rebounds a contest.
She said she’s just trying to pull her own weight. She knows Bondi, Bri Blackwell and Citali Lopez are the team’s top offensive threats and stays out of their way.
“I wanted to do something for my team,” she said. “I know I’m not the team’s leading scorer but I felt like I could help with the little stuff; I thought rebounding would be my way to contribute.”
Her contributions have given her a chance to play on the court with her best friend more… sort of like back in the St. John the Baptist days.
“It’s nice to be able to play with your best friend,” she said. “We have a good chemistry on the court and can usually find each other open; we just do whatever we can to help each other out.”
It’s worked out for the team’s benefit too as the Oilers head into tonight’s game against Wheeler (6-6).
A win over the Bearcats tonight and a victory over Bishop Noll on Jan. 12 would give Whiting back-to-back perfect conference championships and the favorite’s label heading into the conference tournament and sectionals.
It’s the sectional title that would be the perfect ending to their senior season, according to Bondi.
“That would be the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae,” Bondi said. “Last year we won conference for the first time in history and that was awesome. Winning sectionals would be the greatest feeling in the world.”
“It’s something we haven’t done in a long time,” Markovich said of the team’s last sectional championship in 2004. “Our JV coach, Abby Gazda, was on the last one to win when they did her freshman year. So it would obviously be something special to be the next team to do it.”