Senior Captains Play Major Roles Jedd, Bergmann, Steffens Offer Leadership in Conant's Big Year

Article excerpt

Byline: John Leusch Daily Herald Sports Writer

The state basketball tournament is often referred to as the "second season."

If that's the case, Conant's girls basketball team had a truly wonderful ride through the "first season."

The Cougars fashioned a sparkling (26-2xmxmxm27-1) record during the regular season, including , an MSL South title, the Conant-Wheeling tourney championship and the Machesny Park-Harlem tourney crown.

While the major players in this success story were aware the Cougars would be a good team, they weren't quite certain they would be this good.

Just ask the three senior captains Sheryl Jedd, Jill Bergmann and Kristy Steffens, all graduates of Mead Junior High.

"Truly, I didn't think this would happen," said Jedd, whose record as a Conant starter heading into this week was 35-3.

"I thought we'd be decent but never 26-1," she added at a practice before the MSL title game.

"It's been a nice surprise."

It probably shouldn't be a surprise that one day Jedd would like to be a coach.

Her father Jeff was a co-coach with Pete Sauter at the now-closed Sacred Heart High School in the early 1980s and currently is the assistant for the Harper women.

"I want to study education and coach, following in my dad's footsteps," said the 5-foot-10 all-conference forward, who pulled down a career-high 23 rebounds against Hoffman Estates two weeks ago.

"That was unbelievable," said Conant coach Jarrett Cunningham.

"Sheryl just has a knack for being where the basketball is. She has so much enthusiasm and hustle."

Like Jedd, Steffens also would like to coach and study

Like Jedd, Steffens also would like to coach and study education.

"I love all sports but I'd prefer coaching basketball," said the 5-8 senior guard.

"This season has really been amazing. The key is that things have worked like a two-way street. We have the outside and the inside game and they help each other.

"Everyone knows what the next player is going to do," Steffens added. "If you get beat on defense, you know someone will be there to help out. If you miss a shot, you know someone will get the rebound. We're not individuals and that's what has really made us successful."

Steffens plays a key role in floor leadership.

"She's kind of the glue to the team," Cunningham said. "Nothing flashy, but she has a nice outside shot and a really good inside shot, but she doesn't get to use it much."

That's because Jedd, junior Jennifer Pettyjohn and Bergmann are the ones shooting in the paint.

Bergmann couldn't be happier performing on the frontline with Jedd and Pettyjohn. …