Bartlett's Hare makes most of shortened season
It only makes sense that the shortened basketball season would throw a wrench in kids trying to chase milestones and school records.
That certainly seemed true for Kenzie Hare, a deadly 3-point shooter and scorer at Bartlett. The junior blistered the nets in her first two seasons, scoring 1,296 points.
But with half her junior season wiped out because of COVID, it figured there went Hare's chances at chasing the school scoring record, set at a high bar by Lindsay Schrader who scored 2,422 points before going on to a standout college career at Notre Dame.
Hare had other ideas.
Even in half a season, Hare put the pedal down harder. She scored 542 points in 18 games, a 30.1 average, and will head into her senior season with 1,838 points -- and that all-time mark in her sights.
Hare, the Captain of the 2021 Fox Valley Girls Basketball All-Area team, was unstoppable. She scored 39 points and 37 points in two different wins over South Elgin, and 32 against Streamwood. Even against teams like Fox Valley Conference champion Burlington Central doing all it could to slow her, Hare tallied 26. She had 27 against Geneva.
"All my teammates have my back," Hare said. "They are really good passers. They hit me in my shooting pocket as well. It was really fun this year. All our hard work paid off from quarantine. We had a lot of months off when we could work on skill work."
Hare spent those months working out at M14 in Aurora, and she credits her coach Ryan Haun for taking her game to "a whole other level." She improved her scoring average from 22 points per game as a sophomore.
And for passing, nobody was better than senior teammate Lexie Sinclair, the 2018 All-Area captain who averaged 9 assists a game.
Both will play Division I college basketball, Sinclair at St. Bonaventure and Hare at St. Louis.
"Lexie and Kenzie entered this season as two of the best guards in the state and lived up to those high expectations in each and every game we played this year," Bartlett coach Kristi Ragan said. "They play off of each other incredibly well, creating shots for themselves and others, while competing against any defense thrown their way.
"The duo is truly one of a kind and we are happy they were able to get in a final season of games together."
When the 2021-22 season rolls around, Hare knows she's in for a big adjustment without Sinclair.
"We've been playing together for six, seven years," Hare said. "Sad it's over. We had a lot of fun together. We always find each other. We know where each other are. We know each other's strengths and weaknesses. It's always a lot of fun playing with her."
Hare picked St. Louis over UAB, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Missouri-Kansas City, Florida International and Nebraska-Omaha.
She comes from a basketball family. Her parents Chris and Joan played high school basketball, coached basketball, and her mom played two years of junior college basketball. Hare's older sister Kayla Hare also was a standout at Bartlett now playing at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Hare did more than score this season. She also averaged 5 assists, 4.3 steals and 4.1 rebounds a game.
Bartlett bounced back from early losses to Geneva, Neuqua Valley and Naperville North to finish 15-3, ending the season with an 11-game winning streak and their third straight UEC title.
That gives Hare, who wants to coach college basketball when she's finished playing, a good feeling about this season and what's to come her senior year.
"We took some tough losses to some really good teams but I felt we fought them hard," Hare said. "Super happy how my team bounced back from those losses, we never lost two straight, being undefeated in conference and beating Glenbard South twice was good for us.
"Next year we will be a really young team. Skill work will be huge for us. Getting a four-peat, getting another conference championship, is a big goal for us."
Getting to know Kenzie Hare
Favorite class: P.E. Right now I'm undefeated in badminton.
Favorite movie: Pitch Perfect.
Favorite type of music: Country.
Pregame meal: Mac and cheese.
Any superstitions? I listen to the same five songs. I do a pregame warmup in my basement. And I listen to the same song when I'm getting off the bus, it's the last song I listen to. I am very superstitious.
What I like most about basketball: That you can continue to get better. And you become family with your team.
Favorite moment in basketball: Beating Geneva freshman year in the sectionals.
Ten years from now, I'll be: A college basketball coach.
Anna Griffin, Sr., F, Aurora Christian
*Kenzie Hare, Jr., G, Bartlett
Riley Mont, Jr., G, West Aurora
Lexie Sinclair, Sr., G, Bartlett
Elana Wells, Sr., G, Burlington Central
* -- All-Area captain
Alyssa Crenshaw, Sr., F/C, Dundee-Crown
Emily Lukowski, Jr., G, Cary-Grove
Kamsi Nwogu, Sr., F, Huntley
Kate Palmer, Sr., G, Geneva
Erin Stack, Sr., F, St. Charles North
Cassidy Arni, So., F, Geneva
Brooke Biggins, Jr., G, St. Edward
Gianne Boado, Sr., G, Dundee-Crown
Brooke Carlson, Fr, G, Batavia
Taylor Charles, Jr., F, Burlington Central
Caroline Croft, Jr., G, South Elgin
Kylie Holubecki, Sr., F/C, Kaneland
Alyssa Hughes, So., G, St. Charles North
Emily Hurst, Jr., F, Rosary
Baylei Johnson, So., C, Larkin
Torrie Kortan, Jr., G. St. Charles East
Emma Ludwig, Jr., G, St. Charles North
Thaya Luse, Jr., C, Aurora Christian
Jessie Ozzauto, So., G, Huntley
Lauren Passaglia, Sr., F, Cary-Grove
Tatum Settelmyer, Sr., F, St. Charles North
Tessa Towers, Sr., C, Batavia
Aspen Weeks, Jr., G, Aurora Christian
Ella Winterhalder, Jr., G, South Elgin