Deerfield Junior Point Guard Lexi Kerstein is getting reinforcements in the back court.
Standout Freshman Guards Nikki Kerstein, Lexi’s sister, and Aubrey Galvan have joined the program this summer, giving the Warriors three outstanding ball-handlers and distributors.
Lexi Kerstein, who is developing into one of the best players in Lake County, led the Warriors to 21 wins and their first Class 3A regional title since 2007 during her freshman season in 2019-2020. This past season, which was delayed and shortened, didn’t have a state series.
“We think we can do some special things this year,” she said.
The early returns have been nothing short of spectacular. Deerfield won its first 10 games in the Palatine summer league, which also included Stevenson, Barrington, Carmel and Libertyville, among many others.
“All three of us get along great, play great together and have great chemistry,” Lexi Kerstein said of playing with her sister and Glavan. “I know this is just summer league, but I think we will be able to take it pretty far this year. Our team is very strong. We’re going to be very good.
“We’re a fast and young team, and we’re able to run teams out of the gym, which will help us win games.
Deerfield Coach Danielle Hoveydai said she has enjoyed watching her young team create havoc for opposing teams.
“All three of them can shoot well, have great handles, and we get up and down the courts,” she said. “It’s a fun style of basketball to watch. You don’t see that very often.
We now have to get our team used to getting their hands ready all the time because I have phenomenal passers and sometimes they are not ready for those passes. It’s a long season, but I’m so excited.”
Lexi Kerstein, who said she is waiting for her first scholarship offer but has received interest from numerous college programs, once played on an AAU team with Galvan.
“We play really good defense,” Kerstein said. “We’re helped by steals and are able to get easy buckets. We play like an AAU team, where we push the ball all the time.”
Galvan’s game is eye-catching. She can thread the needle between defenders and plays at different speeds.
Steve Pratt, a longtime AAU coach who has mentored numerous college athletes, said a prominent women’s basketball coach compared Galvan to former NBA star Steve Nash. Pratt also mentioned a match-up against WNBA Jewell Loyd, a Niles West graduate.
“Aubrey love to play and is a highly skilled ball-handler with great vision,” Pratt said, “She’s very creative, an outstanding on-ball defender. I look at her like a cross between Steve Nash and Jason Williams. She’s got the flair and the moves and the steady ability to find the open man and make the right play.
“We had Aubrey scrimmage against Jewell Loyd this winter. Jewell picked her up on defense, and Aubrey threw a pass between Jewell’s legs to a cutter for a layup. She sees the game differently than most people.”
Galvan said she’s trying to fit in with the talented Warriors.
“Me and Lexi have been playing really well together from the start,” Galvan said. “I’m more of a creator, getting the ball to other people, but also try to find myself shots too. Lexi is a great player. She gets the ball to everybody on the team and can get us points.”
(Bob Narang is a freelance reporter for the News-Sun)