2016-'17 Season Coverage
updated: 1/6/2017 3:01 PM

Warren's Foley making a habit of overachieving

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  • Warren's Bekah Foley takes a shot against Grayslake North on Wednesday.

      Warren's Bekah Foley takes a shot against Grayslake North on Wednesday.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Warren's Bekah Foley, left, take the ball up court with Grayslake North's Sidney Lovitsch defending Wednesday night at Grayslake North.

      Warren's Bekah Foley, left, take the ball up court with Grayslake North's Sidney Lovitsch defending Wednesday night at Grayslake North.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Warren's Rebekah Foley, left, blocks the shot of Grayslake North's Savannah Guenther on Wednesday at Grayslake North.

      Warren's Rebekah Foley, left, blocks the shot of Grayslake North's Savannah Guenther on Wednesday at Grayslake North.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 
 

Like others, the boys on the baseball field did it.

"I think they underestimated me," Warren senior Bekah Foley said.

Foley played baseball (not softball) with boys up through fourth grade. She was a pitcher.

"It was fun. I was pretty competitive," Foley said. "I don't think the boys expected that."

The same could probably be said of the players on the Loyola girls basketball team three years ago. They probably didn't think much of Foley when she took the floor against them.

Foley was just a freshman for Warren back then, quiet, thin and rather unassuming, even at 5-foot-9.

And yet, Foley exceeded expectations there, too. She hit the very first shot she took in a varsity game, a 3-pointer in the corner. And she played plenty of minutes.

"I remember my parents went crazy when I hit that shot," Foley said with a laugh. "That felt good because I was terrified about being on varsity as a freshman, and I was so nervous for that first game.

"I really didn't expect to play much, but I was the first person off the bench. I think the coaches liked my versatility. I didn't see it then, but I do now."

As Foley, who has grown to be 5-foot-11, has evolved and improved, so has the entire Warren girls program.

Now a four-year starter (she eventually earned a starting spot as a freshman), Foley has seen the Blue Devils go from a struggling team that won just nine games her freshman year, to one of the best teams in Lake County this season.

Warren is 14-3 and fresh off a decisive 26-point win on Wednesday against Grayslake North, one of the other top teams in the area. The Blue Devils also won their second straight Blue Devil Holiday Classic tournament at the end of December.

Foley played a major role in five victories over the holidays, just as she did with 13 points and 2 blocks against Grayslake North. She has been a rock for Warren, starting all but three games over her career, and she missed those due to illness or injury.

"I would consider Bekah our unsung hero," Warren coach John Stanczykiewicz said. "She's very low-key, just steady. She doesn't really seek the spotlight. She just wants to play basketball well and have a good time."

Foley is at her best when she is shooting well.

She has put hours into the perfection of her shot, and attended the highly regarded Dick Baumgartner shooting camp in Indiana over several summers.

Baumgartner, a former coach, is a shooting instructor who has been teaching the game for more than 50 years. His camps attract hundreds of players every year and he frequently works with college and professional players one-on-one.

"My dad (Jim) is good friends with the head girls basketball coach at Antioch (Tim Borries) and (Borries) told my dad about this camp (Baumgartner) when I was in seventh grade, so we tried it out and really like it," Foley said. "The first year, just me and my dad went, then I got a couple of my teammates to go.

"It was a really good camp. I learned the fundamentals of shooting. We'd do shooting practice for like six hours a day. I think that really helped me a lot."

Foley, who still shoots regularly in her driveway, hasn't met a 3-point shot she doesn't like. "Who doesn't like shooting 3s?" Foley said with a laugh. She has made herself a consistent shooter from that range.

Meanwhile, she is tall enough to score inside and rebound and block shots and guard taller players. Her versatility is so valuable to the Blue Devils that Stanczykiewicz finds it tough to take her off the floor.

"I think the best part about me is that I'm a little bit of everything," Foley said. "When I was younger, I used to be a point guard, so I can also handle the ball. You could use me as a 1, 2, 3 or 4. I can go in for pretty much anyone.

"The team counts on me in various ways."

As a four-year starter, the Blue Devils definitely count on Foley, a team captain, for her veteran experience and leadership. She says she appreciates good leadership, because good leadership is what helped her get through her freshman year.

"There were some really good seniors on the team when I was a freshman and they helped me so much. They were good role models," Foley said. "I remember thinking a lot about whether or not I was good enough to be on varsity and the seniors, especially our captain that year, Kristen O'Brien, were really encouraging. She was a really good captain."

Foley can't believe that she's now in the same position to be offering her support to the younger players. It's been a long four years, but at the same time, they've flown by.

When Foley plays her last game for Warren, it will be the end to a family love affair with basketball at the school. Her older brother Kyle played basketball for the Blue Devils and is now a sophomore playing at Knox College. Her dad coached Foley and many of her teammates through the Warren feeder system, and mom Sara has been the team mom for the last couple of seasons. She has organized team parties and meals and has decorated the inside of the team locker room.

"It's bittersweet being a senior," Foley said. "It's fun, but I've been playing basketball my whole life and I'm not sure if I'm going to play in college or not, so this could be the end and that's sad. It's like, 'What am I going to do now?'"

Whatever Foley does, it would be a mistake for those around her to underestimate her. Usually not so much on 3s … but she tends to overshoot.

pbabcock@dailyherald.com

• Follow Patricia on Twitter: @babcockmcgraw

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