Hare makes instant impact in 1st year at Naperville North
To some degree, Kenzie Hare was a natural fit at Naperville North.
An iconic player to replace an iconic player.
A dynamic scorer to replace a dynamic scorer.
A Division I recruit to replace a Division I recruit.
A conference player of the year to replace a conference player of the year.
In late July, Hare made headlines by announcing her transfer to Naperville North from Bartlett.
The Huskies were returning a talented group of veteran players, led by senior forward Sarah Crossett and junior guards Abby Drendel and Layla Henderson. Yet the Huskies had a gigantic hole to fill following the graduation of McDonald's All-America Greta Kampschroeder, one of the best players in program history.
Kampschroeder, a freshman forward at Oregon State, scored 1,735 points and racked up 853 rebounds, 267 assists, 273 steals and 75 blocks at Naperville North.
Enter Hare, who averaged 30 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 4.3 steals in her junior season en route to being named the Upstate Eight Conference Player of the Year.
But it was a bumpy transition for Hare.
"It was definitely an adjustment for her," Naperville North coach Erin Colletti said. "She came in with a positive mindset and excited to play with so many talented players that she had played with in AAU. It was not a difficult adjustment with people, just more the style of play that she was used to."
Hare, who averaged 20 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 3.0 steals in her lone season with Naperville North, admitted it was difficult to leave Bartlett.
Hare, the 2021-22 Daily Herald DuPage County All-Area Captain, was in new territory -- a different school, conference and teammates. She relied on her vast experience in the sport, picking up basketball in kindergarten and learning from her older sister and parents who coached her for several years.
"They were so welcoming right away in summer camp and made me feel right at home," said Hare, a Saint Louis signee. "(Transferring) had its ups and downs. I really enjoyed my time at Bartlett. The transition to Naperville North was very smooth and I was able to fit in right away."
Roughly four weeks into the season, Colletti said the coaching staff realized that Hare needed to have the basketball more in her hands. At Bartlett, Hare rarely went more than a possession or two without the ball touching her hands.
And then, there was Hare's adjustment on defense.
"We started her at shooting guard, but we found out she wasn't getting enough touches, so we moved her to point guard with Abby," Colletti said. "She was able to bring the ball up more, create for others and get the ball back.
"We also play a lot of man and 2-3 zone defense. Kenzie had never really played zone before. She was not getting the rotations at the top. We moved her to the bottom of the zone, right around the same time as the point guard change. After losing Greta, we got a nice replacement with Kenzie."
Hare, a dynamic scorer capable of piling up points in minutes, sparked the Huskies with her solid play on both ends of the court.
The Huskies (30-4) won the DuPage Valley Conference with an undefeated record, losing a thrilling Class 4A sectional final against Benet. Hare, the DVC Player of the Year, admitted it's been a strange feeling that her four years in high school are finished. Her numbers are staggering: 2,494 points, 575 rebounds, 312 assists, 298 steals and 398 3-pointers.
"It's very surreal," Hare said. "I didn't want it to end, even though we didn't reach our goal of going to state, I'm super proud of our team and how much we accomplished. I hope I'm remembered as a player who gave it my all and who worked hard and was a great teammate."
The DuPage County All-Area team
Lenee Beaumont, Benet, guard, junior
Quiana Birmingham, Addison Trail, guard, senior
Shannon Blacher, Montini, guard, junior
Mariann Blass, York, guard, junior
Katie Anne De Craene, St. Francis, forward, senior
Sarah Crossett, Naperville North, forward, senior
Taylor Curry, Waubonsie Valley, guard, junior
Morgan Demos, Benet, center, senior
Kate Gross, Downers Grove North, forward, senior
* Kenzie Hare, Naperville North, guard, senior
Gracen Haska, Fenton, forward, sophomore
Claire Hyde, Wheaton North, guard, senior
Eleanor Monyek, Hinsdale Central, forward, senior
Kylee Norkus, Neuqua Valley, guard/forward, sophomore
Khaliah Reid, Metea Valley, guard, junior
Grace Roland, Timothy Christian, center, junior
Kylie Russell, Lisle, center, senior
Sophia Sullivan, Willowbrook, guard, senior
Claire Wagner, IC Catholic Prep, forward, senior
Ryann Wendt, Downers Grove North, guard, senior
* DuPage County All-Area Captain
Honorable mention Lizzie Baldridge, York, guard, junior
Sara Balli, Lake Park, guard, senior
Kennedy Brandt, Glenbard West, forward, junior
Elle Bruschuk, Willowbrook, guard, sophomore
Ella Burke, Naperville Central, guard, junior
Catey Carney, Glenbard East, guard, sophomore
Abby Drendel, Naperville North, guard, junior
Maggie Fleming, Downers Grove North, forward, junior
Sophia Haska, Fenton, forward, senior
Haley Hayes, Naperville Central, guard, senior
Lily Huntzinger, Wheaton Warrenville South, guard, senior
Hannah Laub, Waubonsie Valley, guard, sophomore
Amelia Lavorato, Hinsdale South, guard, sophomore
Victoria Matulevecius, Montini, guard, sophomore
Brooklynn Moore, Glenbard South, forward, freshman
Jillian Paulson, Wheaton Academy, guard, junior
Emily Petring, Downers Grove South, guard, junior
Nina Sarros, Hinsdale Central, forward, senior
Margaret Temple, Benet, guard, senior
Sawyer White, Montini, guard, senior