SOUTH HOLLAND | Seton Academy girls basketball coach Kevin Green refers to sixth man Robin Campbell as his team's silent assassin.
Campbell, a senior resident of Crete, has always anchored her game around her defensive play and is a strong enough defender that Green has no qualms matching her up against any outside threat a team has on its roster.
This year, under Green's guidance, Campbell has unveiled a talent as a perimeter threat. She leads the Sting in 3-point shooting percentage heading into tonight's Class 1A DeKalb Super-Sectional showdown against Freeport Aquin.
Seton's road to the Elite 8 has been all the more remarkable since the feat has been accomplished with a new coach and a starting lineup entirely different than the senior-laden squad of last season.
"We knew coming in to this season it was possible to reach this far," Campbell said. "It was our turn to shine and show our talent. Having a new coach has really brought out the best in us."
One of the first things Green did when he took over the program was to do away with the ready-made labels the girls were willing to embrace that described their style of play. Every player, Green insisted, would be able to handle the ball, expected to crash the boards and to score. In the case of Campbell, she approached Green and told him she was a defensive player because she didn't shoot well. Green listened, but would have none of it.
"We had to build up her confidence to shoot the ball," Green said. "Last year, she had been told not to shoot, but this year was going to be different."
Campbell said the turning point for herself and the team came Jan. 14, when the Sting were drubbed by Case High School from Racine, Wis., 70-22.
"They were a really good team that took us by surprise," Campbell said. "After that, we made sure to trust each other when we played, starting with our defense."
The confidence in each other paid off in Thursday's sectional championship game against Westminster Christian. The Sting trailed 24-19 at halftime, but grabbed the lead by the third quarter on its way to a 45-42 victory. Despite the early deficit, Campbell said she was never worried.
"When we started the game, we just wanted to get it over with because last year we lost the (sectional game)," said Campbell, who is also the top-ranked student in her senior class. "At halftime, we knew we could win the game and get on to state."
Tonight's opponent, Freeport Aquin, has won 29 of its 33 games this year and features a strong front court.
"Our attitude going into the game has been our motto all year," Green said. "If we are in it, we might as well win it."