It’s not endless cans of Monster or Red Bull that give Georgi Donchetz energy. It’s just the joy of the game.

“I love basketball and play hard,” said Donchetz, a senior guard for Burnsville. “When our team plays with energy, we play our best.”

Donchetz is the epitome of a team captain, and she’s looking forward to a strong season with the Blaze.

“Georgi is born to be a leader,” coach Larissa Parr said. “She is positive, encouraging, energetic and helpful.”

On top of that, she’s a darn good player with a high basketball IQ. So the team benefits in several ways.

“Her court vision is amazing, and she is able to relay what she sees to her teammates all the time,” Parr said. “So not only do they feed off her energy, but they benefit from her constant chatter because she sees everything so well.”

Donchetz can play and guard any position. She also has the ability to find her teammates for open shots.

She verbally committed to Valparaiso just three hours after visiting the campus in June. Donchetz’s sister is attending college in Chicago and her family is from Indiana, so that made the northwest Indiana-based school even more appealing.

“I loved that it was a growing program and the campus was beautiful,” Donchetz said. “Meeting the team made it a done deal.”

But now she’s focusing on her current team, which includes another important leader: Sam Connelly.

“Sam Connelly is a huge part of the team,” Donchetz said. “She doesn’t come out of the game because of her defense and how she sees the court.”

Connelly may be a little less vocal than Donchetz, but she’s equally reliable on the floor.

“I can always count on Sam to do whatever it takes to help her team succeed, whether it’s at practice or in a game,” Parr said. “She can anticipate incredibly well on defense, she sees the floor well and she is able to make the extra pass.”

Burnsville also has some young players to keep an eye on this year.

Sophomore guard Hannah Mitby, already with a year of varsity experience, is great off the dribble and defends well. Freshman guard Kristen Fredericks sees the floor and makes creative passes. Freshman center Emma Fee is strong and smart around the glass. Sophomore forward Sarah Gigstad is a smart player who can finish.

Parr is in her first year as head coach for Burnsville after serving one year as an assistant. Before that, she was an assistant coach at Augsburg. She’s already making her mark. The team is focusing on defense, along with other components of the program, including goal-setting, team-building activities and creating more synergy with Burnsville youth programs.

“Things that will bring us closer together as a team,” said Parr, who played Division I basketball at Boston University from 2001 to 2005. “We are revamping the program in the hopes of getting back to the old winning ways of Burnsville basketball.”