Hersey downs Stevenson in Grow the Game Classic
Mary Fendley was five years old in 1972 when Title IX was established to provide equitable sports and educational opportunities regardless of gender.
By the time she was 13 years old, she was beginning a high school career at Rolling Meadows as a top-notch swimmer, basketball and softball player.
When she was 23 years old, she was the head coach of the Hersey girls basketball team.
Suffice it to say, no one enjoyed the inaugural Grow the Game Classic at Glenbard West High School more than Fendley.
In fact, she arrived five hours before her own Huskies took the floor in order to soak in the atmosphere of the all-day shootout in Glen Ellyn.
All 14 teams were led by female coaches and almost all the games were officiated by only females.
"It's been really fun just to be here," said the hall of fame coach prior to her team's game with Stevenson. "It's just a great vibe and great support and appreciation for high school girls sports."
And Fendley had more fun when her game finally began as she directed the Huskies to a 57-45 triumph over a very good Stevenson team, led by another former Mid-Suburban League great, Ashley Sandstead Graham. who starred at Buffalo Grove and Illinois State.
Freshman Katy Eidle starred for the Huskies with a game-high 20 points while Stevenson senior Avery King tossed home 17, putting her in elite company with Patriots who have scored 1,000 points.
Junior Mary McGrath added 14 points for the Huskies (13-6) while classmate Mary Kate Fahey added 7 with more than handful of assists.
"This was awesome," Fahey said about the being able to participate in the girls' showcase event. "We knew Fendley was very excited about for this game.
"It's a statement event and awesome for girls sports. We really enjoyed just representing girls basketball and I know Fendley and (assistant coach Julia) Barthel loved it. It was great."
The Huskies made a great move in the second quarter right after a nice move to the basket and left-handed layup by Stevenson junior Lydia Lueck her team to within 14-13.
Natalia Kubsik answered with a layup that ignited an 11-2 run that put Hersey in front for good.
The Huskies gained their biggest lead at 40-23 following a 3-pointer by Eidle and bank shot by McGrath with 4:20 left in the third quarter.
A 3-pointer by Nikki Ware (11 points) and a free throw by Simone Sawyer (8 points) got Stevenson (12-6) to within 54-45 with 3:06 left.
Hersey then scored the game's final 3 points with 2 free throws by McGrath and one from Fahey.
"Stevenson has a really nice team," McGrath said. "They have a lot of good players. But we actually matched up well with them because we also have a lot of good players, not just one standout.
"So we just had so prioritize our defense. Everyone had to work hard one-on-one on the player they were defending. No one was going to be able to play 'help defense' as usual since we all had to worry only about the person we were guarding."
"It was a very good win for us," Fahey added. "We really needed to get this one. We were pumped for it. It got a little hectic at the end but we stayed in control."
Stevenson's King went into the game needing 11 points to reach the 1,000 milestone. She now has 1,006 points.
"What a huge feat for her," Graham said. "She had only 30 points as a freshman so what she has done as a sophomore, junior and the start of her senior year has been tremendous.
"Not many players at Stevenson have accomplished the feat. I'm just so happy for her and her family. What a wonderful athlete and wonderful kid. And she did it in a nice atmosphere with a good crowd. It was an all-around game for her."
Eidle, who recently received an offer from the University of Michigan, had her second- highest scoring game of the season. She hit for 32 earlier this season against Bartlett.
"That Katy Eidle is the real deal -- she had such a nice game for them," Graham said. "We had a nice comeback but it's unfortunate that we had way too many turnovers and missed too many layups. But credit Hersey. They came right at us."
"They have such a tough fight in them at all times and they can all score. They capitalized on our mistakes so that is just a good team for you."