Frank and Barb Reaber have it all figured out.
Some parents drive hundreds of miles in opposite directions to watch their children compete in college. For example, Bruce and Mary Kelsey’s daughters Kristen (Michigan State) and McKenna (Illinois) rarely frequented the same college volleyball court once they left St. Francis.
The Reabers have three daughters all in one place.
Taylor, Kasey and Brittney Reaber all are members of Illinois Wesleyan’s women’s basketball team. Taylor, a senior guard, and Kasey, a junior guard, both played in 18 games for the Titans squad that won the 2012 Division III national championship. Brittney, a freshman guard cutting her teeth on the junior varsity, arrived in Bloomington Jan. 6 after spending her first semester at College of DuPage.
Frank Reaber said his wife mainly sticks to the weekend travel, but he has no qualms heading to a College Conference of Illinois-Wisconsin game at Augustana in Rock Island on a Wednesday, for example. If Wesleyan is in Maryland or Texas he flies.
“I’ve never missed a game,” said Frank, in his fifth year as softball coach at IC Catholic Prep. He came over from Driscoll after that school closed, and he also coached in the Highlanders’ girls basketball program.
Not surprisingly, the three Reaber girls spent at least one year at IC. A fourth, Madison, is in fifth grade at the IC Catholic’s elementary school.
Kasey Reaber holds the distinction of being a Daily Herald All-Area selection at three schools. She and Taylor helped Driscoll win the 2009 Class 2A title, and Kasey then went to Montini, where she played for the 2010 Class 3A champions.
“There’s not many people who can say, like Kasey, they’ve got two championships in high school and one national championship,” Frank said.
Illinois Wesleyan got the ball rolling by recruiting Taylor when she was senior. She liked what she saw and stuck with it.
Frank Reaber said Kasey had some Division I interest entering her senior year but then tore her ACL. She started every game for Montini that year, then decided to join her sister at Wesleyan where she’s since had two other knee surgeries.
“If she tears it again she’s done,” Frank said.
And that would break up this sister act in its finale. In Wesleyan’s top seven of every statistical category except 3-point baskets, Kasey and Taylor have each played in all 21 games, averaging 7.4 and 5.3 points, respectively. Brittney, at 5-foot-5 tied for shortest on the team, has gotten in one game while playing a JV schedule — “which is actually good for her,” he father said.
“They’ve been playing with each other so long they play well together,” Frank Reaber said. “But don’t get me wrong, they will jaw at each other the whole game.”
Ah, sisters. Frank said Titans coach Mia Smith once ordered Taylor and Kasey to hug because they were yelling at each other so often in practice. But off the court each of the three sisters lives within a block of each other. Brittney’s in a dormitory and the two older girls live in houses — though separate houses.
“They enjoy being around each other,” Frank Reaber said, “like any sisters.”
Given their overall athletic abilities, it’s easy to see why Hinsdale Central’s boys basketball team enters Friday with a 16-6 record.
Five of coach Nick Latorre’s Red Devils have already committed to Division I programs — none of them will be playing basketball.
Guard Jacob White (Ball State) and forwards Ian Bunting (Michigan State) and Max Hartzman (Colgate) will play football. Guard Chase Hamilton (Valparaiso) will play tennis. Another forward, Grant Lillard (Indiana), will play soccer.
Cool at the Duel in the Pool
Neuqua Valley graduate Kevin Cordes, a junior at Arizona, made Sports Illustrated magazine’s always fun “Faces in the Crowd” section on Jan. 27.
The 6-foot-5, 180-pounder earned citation for setting American records in the 100-meter breaststroke (56.88 seconds) and 200 breast (2:02.38) at the Duel in the Pool in Scotland in December. He also owns American records in the 100- and 200-yard breast.
Cordes also swam on the 400 medley relay and 200 mixed medley relays that gave Team USA the win over Team Europe.
Last weekend Downers Grove South graduate Bryan Mullins and his parents, Mike and Gayle, were back at Southern Illinois University for the presentation of the Salukis’ All-Century Team for men’s basketball. Any list that includes Walt Frazier is a good one.
“It’s a really great honor and recognition to be on that,” said Mullins, honorary captain of the Daily Herald 2005 DuPage County All-Area Boys Basketball Team.
Mullins excelled particularly in distribution and defense and could hit 3s like his older brother, Brendan, now an assistant coach at Wright State.
Bryan ranks first at SIU in assists and steals and was the Missouri Valley Conference defensive player of the year in 2008 and 2009 — the same years he earned Academic All-America.
In 2006-07 Mullins helped the Ramblers reach the NCAA Sweet Sixteen, and in 2009 the finance major received the MVC’s President’s Council Academic Award.
After four years playing professionally in France, he’s now director of basketball operations at Loyola, working under Ramblers coach Porter Moser.
Mullins and his all-century peers were given a standing ovation Saturday during halftime of SIU’s 72-54 win over Missouri State, the biggest crowd of the year.
“All-century anything is pretty special,” he said.
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