The transformation Huntley girls basketball coach Steve Raethz saw Sam Andrews go through this past basketball season was a significant one both for the program and for the junior forward.
“She became more vocal than last year, as one of our co-captains she was a leader by example both on and off the floor and someone whose talents we could always rely on,” Raethz said.
The addition of her sister to the team this year, the Red Raiders maturing overall along with both Sam and Ali Andrews, and the complete improvement in her game helped Sam Andrews lead Huntley to its firstgirls basketball state trophy for fourth place in Class 4A. As a result, the sharp-shooting 6-footer has been named Courier-News Player of the Year for 2012-13.
“She is a gym rat, someone who plays all year long,” Raethz said. “She definitely is one who will continue to get better because she works so hard on her game.
“We’re so fortunate to have her back for another season.”
Andrews’ reputation as a gym rat started at a young age.
“I can remember when we were little, my dad taking Ali and myself to the rec center (in Huntley) and letting us shoot baskets and we just found it was something we really liked,” Andrews said. “We tried different things in sports, but we kind of settled on basketball.”
Andrews put together impressive numbers in earning All-Area status as a sophomore with a 13-15 Red Raiders team, averaging 14.9 points. She upped that in 2012-13 to a 15.7-point average with 535 total points and became even more adept at the foul line, improving from 78.2 percent last year to 81.8 percent (135-of-165) this season. The free throw percentage is even more impressive considering she got to the line more times than anyone in the area over the past two years (330 attempts).
Another real improvement in her shooting was at the three-point line, where she hit 52 total treys after making just 24 last season.
“She took it upon herself to improve in the offseason and really worked at shooting from the perimeter and extending her range,” Raethz said. “She really stepped it up as a jump shooter.
“But she’s a really versatile player and scorer who can now step out and hit the three-pointer and extend the defense. She already was very good posting up and going to the basket.”
Hard work paid off in this case.
“A lot of it is just repetition, getting in the gym and doing what I needed to do,” Andrews said. “I improved my agility a lot and that helped my overall scoring.
“My sister and I have a personal trainer in Buffalo Grove and we’ll keep working with him in the offseason once a week.”
Another aspect of it was having her sister on the team this year as an offensive threat who tied her for the area lead in scoring at 535 points.
“It helped a lot,” Sam Andrews said. “It got me open looks. She gets everyone open looks because she can score or pass.
“We both look offensively to score, but we know our roles on the team and really were doing what was best for the team.”
Andrews also gave credit to senior Haley Ream, who got her the ball many of the times she hit a field goal. Ream finished second in the area in assists with 124.
“We couldn’t have made it here (to state) without her,” Sam Andrews said. “She’s all about team.”
Ahead for Andrews is more work with the basketball. She and her sister will resume constant attempts to improve with Midwest Elite in AAU ball. She has 952 points scored and will be expected to join the 1,000-point club early next season.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if we see even bigger things from her and Ali next year,” Raethz said.
COURIER-NEWS PLAYER OF THE YEAR HONOR ROLL
1981: Cheri Bacon, Crystal Lake Central
1982: Jackie Huszti, Crystal Lake Central
1983: DeDe Holt, Dundee
1984: Stephanie Miller, Dundee-Crown
1985: Anne Rotundo, St. Edward
1986: Beth Hasenmiller, St. Edward
1987: Beth Hasenmiller, St. Edward
1988: Donna Groh, Streamwood
1989: Renee Kanak, Streamwood
1990: Laura Demke, Cary-Grove
1991: Michelle Russell, Dundee-Crown
1992: Corry Carter, Larkin and Amy Reinhard, Woodstock
1993: Jennifer Kiefer, Elgin
1994: Melissa Parker, Elgin
1995: Leslie Schock, Elgin
1996: Melissa Parker, Elgin and Leslie Schock, Elgin
1997: Sara Ettner, Marengo
1998: Morgan Bahe, Hampshire
1999: Rita Castans, Streamwood
2000: Stephanie Smith, Hampshire
2001: Melissa Tarrant, Dundee-Crown
2002: Rachel Markham, Hampshire
2003: Lindsay Schrader, Bartlett
2004: Nicole Watzlawick, Hampshire
2005: Lindsay Schrader, Bartlett
2006: Kiley Holtz, Larkin
2007: Meghan McGuire, Burlington Central
2008: Kelsey Smith, St. Charles North
2009: Katie Yohn, St. Edward
2010: Jacki Gulczynski, Bartlett
2011: Jacki Gulczynski, Bartlett
2012: Haley Videckis, Bartlett
2013: Sam Andrews, Huntley