Hersey's Fahey draws inspiration from mom's experience

  • Hersey's Mary Kate Fahey shoots over Wheeling's Tommy Helms earlier this season.

      Hersey's Mary Kate Fahey shoots over Wheeling's Tommy Helms earlier this season. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

Updated 1/31/2019 12:37 PM

Before she got to high school, Mary Kate Fahey walked into a storage closet in the basement of her home and discovered a significant piece of hardware.

"I didn't even know what it was," said the Hersey sophomore guard. "I said 'mom what is this for' and then she went into the details."


The specifics made an aspiring young basketball player even more eager to reach the high school level.

Jenny Fahey explained to her daughter the stored hardware was the 1989 IHSA Class AA third-place trophy won by Immaculate Heart of Mary. Fahey was a wing/forward for that Tigers' team coached by hall of famer Dave Power.

Fahey's family had purchased the trophy at an auction when IHM closed in 2005.

"It was really cool to learn about my mom's experiences on that team," said Mary Kate, who is this week's Daily Herald Player of the Week for the Northwest suburbs. "I've seen a few film clips of the team from my grandpa, but I'd like to see more."

Now, Mary Kate is providing plenty of highlight reels for Jenny and her husband John, a Fenwick grad.

Not even halfway through her career at Hersey, Mary Kate has proved to be one of the top backcourt players in the Mid-Suburban League.

"I think it's really cool she was at this level as a freshman," said Jenny, who joined the IHM varsity as a sophomore. "It's been fun to watch. It's nerve-wracking to watch her in every game but it's been awesome."

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It had to be both nerve-wracking and awesome for Jenny last Friday when she watched Mary Kate go to the free throw line twice in the final 27 seconds of Hersey's big game at Prospect.

Calm as a cucumber, she made 4-of-4 free throws -- against what has said to be one of toughest backgrounds around (the Jean Walker Field House) -- to lift the Huskies to a dramatic 48-45 win.

So was that daughter following her mother's advice in that pressure situation?

"I give her lots of tips but she does not want them." Jenny said with a laugh. "She does not want to hear what I have to say. I have to be 'mom' now. It's a hard role to take on but it's the role I need to take on for her."

Like her mother at IHM, Mary Kate also takes her cues from a hall of fame coach in Mary Fendley.

Fendley affectionately calls Mary Kate a 'gym rat'.


With that in mind, you know she's put in plenty of hours practicing free throws, just like the player for whom she wears No. 33.

That would be Boston Celtics hall of farmer Larry Bird, who said that in high school he would shoot 500 free throws every morning before his first class.

"Last year, I was the last one to pick my jersey," Mary Kate said. "I took No. 33 because my dad and I always watched Larry Bird highlights so he was definitely one of my favorite players. We even have a picture signed by him."

Mary Kate said it is very exciting to be following in her mother's footsteps.

"She (Mary Kate) is a much better player than I was," Jenny said.

Now that's something Mary Kate wouldn't mind hearing her mother say.

Power prize: Dave Power has won two state titles at Fenwick, in 2001 and 2007, but his first one came at Immaculate Heart of Mary (Westchester) in 1987.

Hersey guard Mary Kate Fahey's aunt Joanne Murphy Carnagio started at guard on that team.

After the school closed in 2005, Carnagio was at an auction and purchased the state trophy from that Tigers' title team. Joanne then presented it to Power, with whom the trophy resides.

MSL update: Heading into Friday's final day of conference play in the Mid-Suburban League, the East division is led by Rolling Meadows (6-2) followed by Hersey (6-3), Prospect (5-3), Buffalo Grove (4-5), Elk Grove (4-5) and Wheeling (1-8).

Fremd has already clinched the West with a 9-0 record followed by Barrington (6-3), Schaumburg (4-5), Conant (4-5), Hoffman Estates (3-6) and Palatine (0-9).

Finish line: Rolling Meadows will try to close out a fifth MSL East title or co-championship on Friday and Saturday when it has back-to-back games to close out conference play.

The Mustangs hit the road to face Buffalo Grove on Friday and Prospect on Saturday. Both games tip off at 7:30 p.m.

"It's obviously a unique way to finish the conference season," said Meadows coach Ryan Kirkorsky, who has won the last three Meadows' titles while Todd Hatfield won the first in 2012. "We talk to our kids about controlling the controllable things. It will be a tough challenge but our kids will be ready."

Meadows lost to Buffalo Grove 55-53 and to Prospect 48-43 in the first round of conference play.

Home sweet home: When Hersey kept its MSL East championship hopes alive with Tuesday's 55-40 win over Buffalo Grove, it was the first time the Huskies played at home in their Carter Gymnasium in six weeks (Dec. 21).

They'll be right back at the Carter on Friday night to wrap up MSL East play and for their Senior Night to honor Brianna Luciano, Emily Collins, Maddie Jacobson, Chelsea Manoj, and Emily Born.

Has been missed: Wheeling has played the last month without junior Morgan Collar, who was scheduled for surgery on her knee on Wednesday at Northwest Community Hospital.

"I've been doing rehab now so it's strong going into surgery," said Collar, who was on the bench with her teammates on Tuesday at Elk Grove. "After surgery, it will pretty much be like when I first tore it, a little weak, but with rehab it will get stronger."

Collar suffered a torn ACL, partial MCL tear and tore her cartilage against Elk Grove the first time the teams played this season. She was a key cog in the Wildcats' offense. The 6-foot forward averaged 10 points and 5 rebounds per game.

Back in form: After missing three games with a partially torn meniscus, 5-foot-10 Elk Grove sophomore Isabella Tierney was back in action for the Grens' last two games.

She hit two key 3-pointers to give her team a 16-12 lead over Wheeling on Tuesday and finished with 12 points in a 49-34 MSL East win. In her first game back, she scored a bucket against Rolling Meadows.

"She's getting there," said Grenadiers coach Jen Buxton of Tierney's return. "You could tell the difference from the last two games that she is starting to get more comfortable. It's just getting used to playing with that feeling of the knee. But her shot looked a lot better (against Wheeling) which I was proud for her."

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