Hersey's Fahey 'great player, but an even better leader'
Hersey sophomore girls basketball standout Katy Eidle's favorite memory of senior teammate Mary Kate Fahey comes at the expense of Fahey herself.
"My favorite memory of her is when she tripped on her own feet while we starting our warmups before a game," she said. "It had the whole team laughing and was funny to look back on video at."
What isn't a laughing matter is the extreme positive impact Fahey has had on players such as Eidle and the entire Hersey girls basketball program over the last four seasons.
"MK did little things that lead a long way," Eidle said. "It's been a great experience to watch her and learn from her talent over the years. MK is a great player, for sure, but an even better leader. She has led us to compete at a high level, while also having fun doing it. She knew how to come to practices or games with a great mindset to get things done, no matter the circumstances. She's a great person off the court, too. She's always thinking of other people and how to make others feel good."
On the court, Fahey, an easy choice as the captain of the 2021 Daily Herald Northwest Suburbs All-Area Girls Basketball Team, was a key spoke in the steamroller that was Huskie basketball this season. Fahey's deft play helped Hersey win the overall Mid-Suburban League championship, finishing a perfect 16-0 and earning the top spot in The Associated Press' Class 4A media poll.
The New York University-bound Fahey, a two-year captain at Hersey, averaged 11.8 points per game, while hitting on 46 percent of her field goals and 78 percent of her free-throw attempts in this year's abbreviated campaign. A member of the Hersey career 1,000-point club, she started all four years at point guard, playing in 105 out of a possible 107 games (2 missed due to injury), leading the Huskies in assists every year and finishing with a nearly 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
"She broke her hand sophomore year and missed two games," Hersey coach Mary Fendley pointed out. "She played through a bunch of injuries that would have sidelined others."
Fendley then let loose with Fahey superlatives.
"MK is the ultimate point guard," she said. "She is and has always been willing to assume the role her team needs to be successful. She does this on and off the court. I wrongly believed this season would be disappointing just based on the fact it was shortened. MK and her senior teammates never let any disappointment sneak in. I really think MK made the most of every day, loved being her every day and the rest followed her lead."
Fendley pointed out Fahey, thanks to the pandemic, will earn four varsity letters this year in tennis, basketball, volleyball and track. Tennis was made possible by volleyball's fall cancellation. Fahey ended up playing No. 2 doubles.
"There are staff members at Hersey that would agree she is one of Hersey's all-time greats, as a student, athlete and a person," Fendley said.
Count Fremd coach Dave Yates, whose team lost twice to Hersey this year, including in the MSL title game, as a member of the Fahey fan club.
"She impacts the game in so many ways," he said. "She makes those around her better, which is the best trait a player can have. She has improved offensively each year and her efficiency is amazing in terms of scoring on limited attempts, and taking care of the basketball while finding others."
Longtime teammate and good friend Mary McGrath feels Fahey is cemented as one of the storied program's absolute all-time elites. "I think she will go down as one of the best point guard Hersey ever had," she said. "She's been my point guard since second grade. She made such a big impact on everybody on the team."
Conversely, Fahey tried to deflect any credit away from her. "This team I was part of will be remembered for a long time," she said. "I am one piece of it. I just want to be remembered as someone who wanted to win more than anything and always put teammates first. I tried my best to lead on and off the court.
"My hope is the younger kids step up into bigger positions next year and use me as an example to continue to lead and continue to bring success to this program for years to come."
Joy Bergstrom, G, Jr., Saint Viator
Katy Eidle, G, Soph., Hersey
*Mary Kate Fahey, G, Sr., Hersey
Ruthie Montella, F, Sr., Fremd
Sophie Swanson, G, Soph., Barrington
* All-Area captain
Emily Galvan, G, Jr., Rolling Meadows
Grace LaBarge, F, Sr., Fremd
Mary McGrath, G-F, Sr., Hersey
Emily Pape, F, Jr., Maine South
Madi Stark, G, Jr., Palatine
Gwen Adler (Barrington); Nora Ahram (Saint Viator); Becky Colmenares (Leyden); Maddie Fay (Fremd); Niamh Gardiner (Maine South); Nicole Gardiner (Maine South); Roisin Grandberry (Rolling Meadows); Briana Hernandez (Maine West); Kara Kipley (Buffalo Grove); Avery Larson (Hersey); Natalia Kubsik (Hersey); Laura Mahlum (Barrington); Emma Morrisey (Saint Viator); Madi Niedbala (Rolling Meadows); Ashley Oliver (Hoffman Estates); Molly O'Riordan (Barrington); Alyssa Orozco (Schaumburg); Jaclyn Riedl (Maine West); Kim Stuercke (Buffalo Grove); Brianna Wooldridge (Fremd)