There are a number of reasons why Fremd’s Haley Gorecki was named the 2014-15 Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year, and she put many of them on display last weekend during the IHSA state championships in Normal.
The Duke-bound senior dazzled during the Vikings’ 57-28 semifinal dismantling of New Trier, scoring 19 points with four rebounds, four assists and two steals. She amazed by almost single-handedly keeping Fremd in the championship game against Benet with 20 points, including three-pointers to open each half.
So it should not surprise anyone that the 6-foot guard heads the 2014-15 Sun-Times All-State team.
“Haley Gorecki is a tremendous player,” said Benet coach Joe Kilbride, who had a front row seat to Gorecki’s performance at Redbird Arena.
However, Gorecki wasn’t the only player to put on a show last weekend.
Benet junior Kathleen Doyle’s 18 points, five assists and two steals helped Benet overcome an early 24-21 second-half deficit in the championship game, and her 17 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and steady floor play helped down Homewood-Flossmoor in the semifinals.
“One of our plans was to chase (Benet) off the three-point line and not give them good looks, and I thought we did a great job of that,” Fremd coach David Yates said. “Then it turned it into Doyle breaking us down and locating kids under the basket. It’s kind of like pick your poison.”
Gorecki and Doyle are joined by Young junior Kiara Lewis, Marian Catholic’s Teniya Page and Hinsdale Central’s Gabrielle Rush on the first team. Rush, who passed Toni Kokenis to become Hinsdale Central’s all-time leading scorer, ended her career among the state’s top 10 three-point shooters.
The second team is led by Bloom’s Danielle King, who finished her career with more than 1,800 points, 500 assists and 350 steals. She scored 30 or more points six times this season, hitting 39 twice, to lead Bloom to the sectional semifinals.
Joining King on the second team are Huntley junior Ali Andrews; New Trier junior Jeannie Boehm; Belleville West’s Shay Fluker, the leading scorer in the St. Louis metro east area; and Rock Island’s Mercedes Jackson, who led the Western Big Six in scoring.
The 3A first team is headed 5-6 junior Chandler Ryan of state champion Morton, who had 20 points and went 10-of-10 from the free-throw line in the Potters’ 47-37 victory over Rochester in the state championship game after scoring 19 points and shooting 13-of-13 from the line against Montini.
Joining Ryan on the first team are Nicole Ekhomu of Joliet Catholic, Alyssa Jurges of Providence, Tierra Webb of Rich South and Akina Wellere of Brooks. Ekhomu is a two-time first-team selection, while Wellere averaged 30 points and 11 rebounds per game for the south side power.
Laryn Sapetti of state runner-up Rochester heads the Class 3A second team. Sapetti was the sparkplug of the team that reached the 3A championship game after being bumped up from 2A last year. She led the Rockets in points, steals, assists and free-throw shooting.
Joining Sapetti on the second team are Samantha Pryor of Burlington Central, junior state hurdles champion Chante Stonewall of Normal U-High, Peoria Richwoods’ two-time all-state selection Olivia Elger and Brittany Byrd of 3A semifinalist Bogan.
The Class 2A all-state team is led by Bishop MacNamara’s Khadaizha Sanders, who had 23 points and 14 rebounds to rally the Fightin’ Irish from a 23-18 halftime deficit to a 55-51 victory over Breese Central in the state championship game. The Rutgers-bound senior had 38 points in the semifinal win.
Sanders is joined on the 2A team by Breese Central’s 6-2 junior center Kendra Wilken, who averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds per game, Lexi Wallen of Champaign St. Thomas More, Brittin Boyer of Sullivan and Ellie Lehne of Byron.
Among the Class 1A selections is Annawan’s Jayde Van Hyfte, a 6-1 freshman forward, who averaged nearly 19 points and better than nine rebounds per game. She is the younger sister of teammate Morgan and Southern Illinois freshman Celina.
Joining Van Hyfte on the 1A team are 5-4 guard Corrie Reilly of Prophetstown, which defeated Annawan in the supersectional, junior Paulina Castro of Harvest Christian, junior guard Ryan Dooley of state champion Central A&M and two-time all-state selection Lexis Macomber of Lanark Eastland.
Sun-Times 2014-2015 Girls Basketball All-State Team
Kathleen Doyle, 5-9, Jr., G, Benet
Haley Gorecki, 6-0, Sr., G, Fremd
Kiara Lewis, 5-10, Jr., G, Young
Teniya Page, 5-7, Sr., G, Marian Catholic
Gabrielle Rush, 5-10, Sr., G, Hinsdale Central
Ali Andrews, 6-1, Jr., F, Huntley
Jeannie Boehm, 6-3, Jr., F, New Trier
Shay Fluker, 5-11, Sr., G, Belleville West
Mercedes Jackson, 5-10, Sr., F, Rock Island
Danielle King, 5-5, Sr., G, Bloom
Nicole Ekhomu, 5-7, Jr., G, Joliet Catholic
Alyssa Jurges, 5-8, Sr., G, Providence
Chandler Ryan, 5-6, Jr., G, Morton
Tierra Webb, 5-7, Sr., G, Rich South
Akina Wellere, 5-10, Sr., G. Brooks
Brittany Byrd, 5-9 Sr., G, Bogan
Olivia Elger, 5-7, Sr., G, Peoria Richwoods
Samantha Pryor, 5-10, Jr., F, Burlington Central
Laryn Sapetti, 5-9, Sr., G, Rochester
Chante Stonewall, 6-1, Jr., F, Normal U-High
Brittin Boyer, 5-11, Sr., F, Sullivan
Ellie Lehne, 6-2, Sr., F, Byron
Khadaizha Sanders, 5-7, Sr., G, Kankakee McNamara
Lexi Wallen, 6-0,.Sr., F, Champaign St. Thomas More
Kendra Wilken, 6-2, Jr., C, Breese Central
Paulina Castro, 5-6, Jr., G, Elgin Harvest Christian
Ryan Dooley, 5-7, Jr., G, Mowequa Central A&M
Lexis Macomber, 6-0, Sr., F, Lanark Eastland
Corrie Reilly, 5-4, Sr., G, Prophetstown
Jayde Van Hyfte, 6-1, Fr., F, Annawan