Guerin’s Brodner knows her stuff on defense

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Guerin senior Sara Brodner has been playing volleyball for a long time and hopes to continue in college.

She credits some of the skills she learned with helping her become a record-setting basketball player as well.

Brodner set the basketball program’s career record for blocked shots in the first quarter of the regular-season finale against Wheaton Academy Feb. 5 and capped her career with 411 blocks.

“It’s an awesome feeling,” the 6-foot Brodner said of the record. “I think it’s a lot about timing. Shot blocking is a lot like blocking in volleyball. It’s about timing and tracking the ball. Defense is really important. It’s my favorite thing to do. I love shot blocking. I get an adrenaline rush from it.”

Brodner, a four-year varsity player, was presented the basketball and honored for the achievement during the game. She led the Gators in blocks all four of her seasons.

“She can change a game with her blocking,” Guerin coach Johnnie Gage said. “She has quick feet, good reach and long arms. Being 6-foot doesn’t hurt either. She’s not a klutz. She’s a 6-foot coordinated athlete that really jumps in the air.”

Becoming the program’s all-time shot blocker was not something Brodner even thought about when she first entered the program.

“I had no idea,” she said. “In grade school, I was OK, but once I got to high school I remember getting five blocks in a game and it started to become something I was really good at.”

Brodner was one of seven seniors to end their prep career Feb. 13 when Guerin lost to North Chicago 46-32 in the Class 3A Johnsburg Regional semifinal. Allison Stieber, Liz Bielecki, Cara Yacobucci, Melanie Gorny, Jasmine Simmons and Margaret Klich also played their final basketball game for the Gators.

“I love this team,” Brodner said. “I learned a lot from Coach Gage. He brought me out of my shell as a person.”

Guerin may have had its three-year regional championship streak snapped, but Gage was still pleased with what the team was able to accomplish. The Gators finished 15-14.

“It was an up-and-down season,” Gage said. “We did a lot better than we thought we would after losing what we did. I wish we could win on defense, but you have to have offense as well. I was pleased with the way the team played defense.”

Yacobucci, who will play basketball at Dominican next season, was emotional after seeing her four-year varsity career come to a close.

“I was crying after the game,” Yacobucci said. “[Playing in college] makes me not so sad about playing my last game.”

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