BUFFALO GROVE — Midway through the third quarter against state-ranked Hersey Saturday, Buffalo Grove junior Madeline Callahan hit a short-range shot. On the way back up the court, she called out to her teammates on the defensive end. It’s something that comes natural to Callahan.
“We always give her a hard time, because she never stops talking,” Bison coach Steve Kolodziej chuckled. “She’s the mouth of the team with a constant motor.”
He lauded her communication abilities on the court to help keep everyone in the proper place.
“I’ve always been pretty social. Everyone has their role on the team and my role is the talkative one,” Callahan said. “[Practice or game], I’m trying to help everyone out. Encourage them.”
Callahan also leads by example. She scored a career-high 21 points against Hersey (16-1) in a 52-47 loss by Buffalo Grove (8-11). That included two 3-pointers and a number of inside baskets, as she scored from all areas on the court.
“We didn’t have an answer for her,” Hersey coach Mary Fendley said. “It’s very difficult for one kid to stop her. We were throwing stuff at her and she responded to everything.”
“If you put a guard on her, she can go down low,” Kolodziej said. “And if you put a forward on her, she takes them to the perimeter.”
Callahan once was primarily an inside player.
“I was always one of the biggest girls, so I played inside,” Callahan said.
But at 5-foot-8, she is smaller than most high school opponents on the frontline.
“I needed to move outside,” Callahan said. “I was never a shooter, but I practiced a lot and started to get three-point range.”
Callahan was brought up to the varsity as a sophomore last year, but she battled injuries throughout, including a high ankle sprain at the beginning of the season. Then she suffered a concussion.
“It was kind of a waste of a season last year with all the injuries,” Callahan said. “I really just wanted to prove myself that I could become a starter [this year].”
She is second on the team in scoring at 9.3 points per game and is averaging 2 assists and 5.9 rebounds, including seven against Hersey.
“I knew it was in her the whole time,” said Maddie Welter, Buffalo Grove’s leading scorer. “She just struggled last year because she was hurt. She’s really improved.”
Welter said Callahan drives her to practice every day.
“She’s always talking,” Welter said. “That’s just her personality. So much fun to be around.”
So is there a time that Callahan isn’t chatting it up?
“The only time she stops talking is when she’s eating pizza,” Kolodziej said.
And her favorite?
“Cheese,” Callahan said.