Maggie Nick leading Loyola by example

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WILMETTE — Loyola senior Maggie Nick seemingly has only known success in her high school athletic career.

As a sophomore, she was a key reserve on the Loyola girls basketball team that went 26-9 and reached the semifinals of the Class 4A state tournament. Last season, the Ramblers finished 21-8.

Nick also has been a star on the Loyola girls lacrosse team that captured the last two state titles. Nick is scheduled to play lacrosse at Stanford next year.

This winter, Nick finds herself as the top player on a Loyola girls basketball team that has been inconsistent.

The Ramblers dropped to 5-5 with a 52-45 home loss to Evanston on Saturday. It was a game in which Nick finished with 25 points, but no other Rambler reached double figures.

“Starting off the season, we didn’t win as many games as we wanted to. We have to get going,” said Nick, who lives in Chicago’s Sauganash neighborhood. “But I’m not perfect either, we all have to improve in every way. It’s more of a challenge [than on other teams I’ve been on], but it’s not a bad challenge. We’ve been tested by some tough teams and it’s going to be exciting when we do conquer them. But, it’s going to take time. That’s different [than in the past], but it’s not a bad thing.”

Nick, a 5-foot-9 guard, plays nearly every minute of every game and, according to coach Jeremy Schoenecker, has upped her scoring average from 12 or 13 ppg as a junior to 17 or 18 ppg this year. She is averaging about eight rebounds per contest. Nick also is one of three team captains alongside seniors Mary Kate Herion and Grace Gavula.

“I think [Nick] is willing to take on that leadership role, to take big shots and get to the basket,” Schoenecker said. “She plays defense so hard, and is one of the better rebounding guards. She’s a joy and a pleasure to coach.”

Nick also served as a tri-captain last season and said her leadership style was influenced by the girls who were seniors when she was a sophomore, including Lauren Kriz, Colleen McShane, Michelle Rocolcol, Kathleen Stralka and Mary Kate O’Malley.

“My sophomore year, all the seniors were good leaders,” Nick said. “[Now] if something needs to be said, I’m comfortable saying it. But I’m not comfortable getting on peoples’ backs, though. I lead by example. I try to work hard and hope other people follow my example. I try to be encouraging, but I’m not too big on the voice part.”

Nick’s younger sister Annie is a junior on the basketball team, and she said Maggie Nick is a role model as an athlete and a leader.

“I admire her as a player because she’s always the person trying the hardest,” Annie Nick said. “Being a captain is hard, but she does not come off as rude. She always says things in a really nice way.”

Annie Nick regularly offers insights about her sister’s game, and Maggie Nick said the advice is appreciated.

“Every game at halftime, if we’re losing and I’m stressed, I go to my sister and ask what I can be doing differently and what I’ve been doing wrong,” Maggie Nick said. “She tells me to remember to get more rebounds, or box out, or that a certain girl is left-handed, so guard her that way. She gives me tips on what to do better. It’s really nice to have her on the team.”

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