Sun-Times girls basketball Player of the Year: Fremd’s Haley Gorecki

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When Fremd’s Haley Gorecki had to narrow her athletic pursuits to one sport, Mother Nature cast the deciding vote.“Soccer used to be my favorite sport, but it would always be so cold,” she said. “I used to play softball, too, but sometimes it would get so cold it wouldn’t be fun at all. So when I decided to get down to one sport, I chose basketball.”Gorecki made the right decision. The 6-foot guard and two-time all-area selection has been named the 2014-15 Sun-Times Player of the Year.

It’s another honor in a litany of honors for Gorecki.

The Duke recruit is a two-time Mid-Suburban West Player of the Year and a four-time all-conference selection. She was named to the all-tournament team at the NIKE Tournament of Champions in Phoenix, Ariz., in December. She has led Fremd to three straight MSL titles and four MSL West championships.

“Haley is the most complete basketball player in Illinois,” Fremd coach David Yates said. “Others do different things well, but nobody does it all as well as Haley. She makes those around her better, and always brings it for big games. I am very fortunate to have had her in our program for the past four years.”

She may have saved her best for last. During the regular season, Gorecki averaged 22.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 3.7 steals per game while shooting 48 percent from the floor and 77 percent from the free-throw line. She had 15 points, four assists and three rebounds to lead the Vikings past Huntley 50-34 in the supersectional.

At least part of the credit for Gorecki’s success goes to her older brother, Adam, who played basketball for Fremd until he graduated in 2010.

“When I was younger, whatever he did, I just did,” she said. “I wasn’t into basketball at first, but when he started playing, I started playing. We still play against each other. We always liked to compete against each other. But he was always a little bit taller than me.”

This season, nobody has stood taller than Gorecki, who had 21 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three steals in Fremd’s 50-29 win over Hersey in the sectional championship game. The win avenged one of two in-state losses for the 28-4 Vikings.

“The loss to Hersey really got us because we were on a big winning streak going in,” she said. “We just didn’t have a good game. But I think that loss really helped, not just for playing Hersey again, but for all the other games.”

Now the Vikings have two more games remaining on their schedule as they make their first appearance in the state semifinals since 1977 and their first trip to Normal since 1990.“This means the world to us,” Gorecki said. “It hasn’t been done in forever. It’s awesome.”

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