Girls basketball notes: Marian Central’s Ella Notaro commits to Saint Mary’s to play 2 sports

Hurricanes senior excited to be 2-sport athlete in college

Marian Central’s Ella Notaro finds the hoop in Northern Illinois Holiday Classic championship girls basketball game action at  McHenry High School Thursday.

Marian Central’s Ella Notaro couldn’t decide between basketball and golf, so she found a school that would allow her to do both.

The Hurricanes senior recently announced her commitment to NCAA Division III Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana, which will allow her to continue the two sports she’s played for most of her life.

“I’ve been playing basketball and golf my whole life, both of them for as long as I can remember,” Notaro said. “It would have been really hard to decide between them.

“I like spreading out my time doing multiple things, and I think I’m better at managing my time when I have a lot things going on. I think it’s going to actually help me adjust to college life. I just love both sports so much, so I really want to keep playing both of them.”

Notaro was a Northwest Herald All-Area girls golf first-team selection in the fall, where she advanced to state for the second year in a row and took 21st in Class 1A. She won the inaugural Chicagoland Christian Conference title and also finished first at the McHenry County Tournament.

This basketball season, Notaro is averaging 10.4 points and 5.3 rebounds a game for the Hurricanes, who won the inaugural CCC Tournament and enter the postseason with a program-record 25 wins.

Marian Central opens the playoffs at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday against Winnebago in the Class 2A Rockford Christian Regional semifinals. The championship game is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday.

Notaro’s oldest sister, Ava, currently is a sophomore at Saint Mary’s College. Ella Notaro has gone on multiple visits to the school and got to meet the women’s basketball team and a few golfers on her latest visit.

Crystal Lake Central’s  Kathryn Hamill, right, tussles with Marian Central’s Ella Notaro, left, in Northern Illinois Holiday Classic championship girls basketball game action at  McHenry High School Thursday.

Notaro said she was a very energetic kid growing up and always had to be moving around and doing something.

“I was crazy. I was always moving around, and I don’t know how my parents handled it,” Notaro said. “My parents were my first coaches, and I fell in love with both sports when I was probably 3 years old. I think both sports are kind of like the best of both worlds. Golf is a little more individual and basketball is more about the team.”

Notaro said she likely will major in business and minor in sports management.

“I’m so excited,” Notaro said. “I’m so thankful for the coaches at Saint Mary’s for allowing me to play both sports.”

Huntley, Marengo wrap up conference titles: Huntley and Marengo wrapped up conference titles in the Fox Valley Conference and Kishwaukee River Conference, respectively, as both teams finished with one loss in league play.

Huntley (23-6) won its third consecutive conference championship, finishing 17-1 in the 10-team FVC. The Red Raiders only loss was to Cary-Grove 50-17 on Jan. 19, which ended a 37-game conference winning streak.

Marengo (21-9) captured back-to-back KRC championships and its fifth in six seasons. The Indians finished 13-1 in league play with its only loss to KRC runner-up Woodstock 46-40 on Dec. 1. Marengo bounced back to beat Woodstock 34-27 in their rematch.

Exciting turnaround: Woodstock’s quest to win a conference championship for the first time since 2015 came up just short as the Blue Streaks (17-10) finished a game out of first place in the KRC.

Woodstock ended the regular season last Wednesday with a 43-31 win against crosstown rival Woodstock North. One of the the Streak’s two KRC losses this season came against Woodstock North.

Woodstock's Keira Bogott breaks away from Woodstock North defender Caylin Stevens during their game on Wednesday, February 7, 2024 at Woodstock High School. Ryan Rayburn for Shaw Local

“I was really looking forward to this one, not only because it’s our crosstown rivals, but because of the environment and all of the little girls that came to watch, as well,” said junior guard Keira Bogott, who led the Streaks with 14 points.

“I was excited and knew that we were going to win this game 100%. I felt it, and I knew it.”

Woodstock finished 8-19 last season but returned an experienced team with seven seniors and four juniors.

Bogott leads the team at 9.2 points a game, followed by senior Natalie Morrow (7.4), senior Anna Crenshaw (6.8), junior Lily Novelle (6.5) and senior Allie O’Brien (6.0). Crenshaw is averaging a team-best 8.4 rebounds a game, and senior Savannah Griffin leads the Streaks with 23 3-pointers.

Woodstock, a No. 6 seed, plays top-seeded Crystal Lake Central in a Class 3A Woodstock Regional semifinal at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

“We’re hard to score on when we’re doing the right things,” Woodstock coach Jay Fuller said. “Crystal Lake Central’s got some really good players and it’s going to be a challenge, but we’ll be up for it.”