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Sandburg alums bring girls basketball teams they coach home for a shootout | Orland-park

Jeff Vorva, Times correspondent

In 2003, Sandburg’s girls basketball team won 27 games and a regional title.

Three players on that team were senior Kim Wensits, junior Erin Cattell and sophomore Jacqie Storm.

It’s been close to 20 years since all three have been back together on the Orland Park campus, but that happened June 13. On the surface, a summer shootout with Sandburg, Naperville North, Schaumburg and Yorkville at the campus might not get a lot of attention.

But Sandburg coach Nick Fotopoulos was able to gather those three teams and their coaches for a day of play. Wensits coaches Yorkville; Cattell, whose last name is now Colletti, coaches at Naperville North; and Storm, whose last name is now Strauch, is coaching at Schaumburg.

Fotopolous was the only coach of the bunch to not graduate from Sandburg as he attended Lincoln-Way East.

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But he enjoyed bringing the former Sandburg stars together.

“We talked about how we wanted to bring back some great alum coaches and have a little shootout with them back here at Sandburg,” he said. “I wish I could have them on my team — we would win a state championship.”

Two of the three came close.

After Wensits graduated, Cattell and Storm led a team to a 32-4 record, which included a trip to the Class AA state quarterfinals, where they lost to Bolingbrook, 55-43. It was just the third time in the history of the program the Eagles reached the Elite Eight.

Now these three are leading their own teams, which doesn’t surprise Storm.

“I knew we wanted to be teachers,” she said. “So it figured we would be coaches, too.”

Storm’s Schaumburg team has faced Cattell’s Naperville North squad in regular-season action.

“Erin and I go on vacation together, so we are still best friends,” Storm said. “We play each other in the season, and it’s good to have those moments. Erin and I don’t look at each other during the game because we would either laugh or get mad.”

The three try to get together during the state tournament to visit and during a recent trip, they huddled with Fotopoulos to hatch this idea.

“It was like ‘we should play each other. Let’s just do a pickup game — nothing formal,’ ” Wensits said. “Everyone was all on board.”

The trio was coached by Christine Bochnak (now Borst), who said Wentsis taught her a lot of life lessons.

The three are trying to make their marks at their respective schools.

Wensits has had some ups and downs at Yorkville, despite tying a program record of 26 victories in 2016-17, her first year at the helm.

Cattell owns two regional titles in the last three seasons for Naperville North. Before that run, North’s previous postseason title came in 2004-2005.

Storm is enduring a few rebuilding years at Schaumburg after opening her career with a 15-13 mark in 2016-17. She also coached the Saxon’s girls tennis team from 2015-2017.

But here they were back at the school where they had so much success.

Cattell had to think about when she last stepped inside the Orland Park school.

“When was I here last?” she said. “Five years? I do not know. It’s been a while. I feel like last time I was here was to see Naperville North play Sandburg in football. But I didn’t make it to the gym.

“Being here brings back memories. The smell is familiar. I’m happy to be back.”

Though a shootout is a friendly contest whose emphasis is beyond scores, Naperville North went 3-0 to win.

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