Delara’s speed, energy spark Wolves
Streamwood's Kiana Jeremiah (left) pressures Niles West's Katherine Delara on Dec. 26 at the Mundelein Holiday Classic. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 4, 2013 6:31AM
MUNDELEIN — Although the Niles West girls basketball team lost 11 of its first 13 games, it should be noted that eight of the 13 players are underclassmen. And at least one of them appears to have quite a future ahead of her.
Diminutive sophomore guard Katherine Delara is the spark plug that makes the Wolves offense run, and on the other end of the court she fires up the defensive intensity.
Though only a sophomore, the 5-foot-3 Delara has experience, seeing some minutes as a freshman.
“Katherine has been playing a long time (since fourth grade). She has good court instincts,” Niles West coach Tony Konsewicz said. “You’re not seeing many of the mistakes she made as a freshman.”
Konsewicz added: “She’s not playing scared quarterbacking the whole team. That’s not easy having to tell the seniors on the court.”
Senior Molly Kleppin doesn’t seem to mind.
“Katherine is real quick. Always getting her hands on the basketball,” said Kleppin, a co-captain. “We know she’s young and will make mistakes, but we have a lot of patience as a team.”
Delara’s quickness was evident on Dec. 27 in a 56-20 loss to Huntley in the consolation round of the Mundelein Holiday Classic. The loss dropped the Wolves to 2-11 on the season.
She had five steals and forced three other Huntley turnovers while also registering four points and four assists. She even went underneath against Huntley’s 6-2 and 6-0 forwards to grab an offensive rebound.
“I try to use my speed to get to the basketball. To deny the wing entry pass,” Delara said. “On offense I try to create space to drive to the basket or find my teammates.”
Delara is also finding time to do a little mentoring. Backup Wolves point guard Jalynn Estrada is only a freshman.
“I try to walk her through some things (in practice),” Delara said. “I know what it feels like to play on varsity as a freshman. It’s so much faster and really high pressure.”
“I like watching her play, especially with her speed,” said Estrada, who is also 5-3 and quite fast. “She plays with a lot of energy and confidence.”
In the Huntley game, Delara’s protégé showed she is learning her lessons well, getting two steals and disrupting the Red Raiders offense on several occasions.
“Katherine is going to be doing a lot of mentoring going forward,” Konsewicz said. “Something that Jewell Loyd (now a standout freshman at Notre Dame) did for her.”