Dunlap Girls Hunting First Mid-Illini Crown

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DUNLAP, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — The season was delayed, full-team practices were on hold for weeks and Dunlap went into the season shorthanded.

It hasn’t stopped the Eagles from a terrific start to the girls basketball season.

“We only have 18 players (for varsity and JV) now because we lost several to COVID,” said Dunlap girls basketball coach Heather Cassady. “But it’s been nice. They’ve played hard and enjoy each other.”

The conference-leading Eagles also like the fact they’ve won six of their first seven games this year. Dunlap says it’s short on numbers, but on heart.

“It definitely brings our chemistry together, especially the underclassmen getting a feel for the team,” said the lone senior on the team Gabby DiGiallonardo. “It gives them a sense of sisterhood with us.”

DiGiallonardo and junior Lily Sutter have taken over the reigns of leading the team. Sutter says she’s taking cues from her sister Elle, an all-conference star who graduated last spring.

“I learned a lot from Elle. How to lead the team,” Sutter said. “Watching her for two years, being a starter, all-conference. Seeing her do so well made me want to do better.”

Her coach agrees.

“She’s kind of stepping out of her sister’s shadow and it’s been great to see. She wants the ball at the end and she wants to lead this team,” Cassady said.

Dunlap is now hoping this is the year it steps out of the shadow of all the other teams in the Mid-Illini.

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