Hare makes instant impact in 1st year at Naperville North

  • Naperville North's star player Kenzie Hare warms up before playing DeKalb in girls basketball.

      Naperville North's star player Kenzie Hare warms up before playing DeKalb in girls basketball. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • DeKalb's Kailey Porter stands her ground as Naperville's Kenzie Hare maneuvers past her in girls basketball at Naperville North on Thursday.

      DeKalb's Kailey Porter stands her ground as Naperville's Kenzie Hare maneuvers past her in girls basketball at Naperville North on Thursday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Kenzie Hare, right, pictured high-fiving teammate Layla Henderson, averaged 20 points in her first season at Naperville North.

      Kenzie Hare, right, pictured high-fiving teammate Layla Henderson, averaged 20 points in her first season at Naperville North. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Naperville North player Kenzie Hare plays Neuqua Valley in girls basketball.

      Naperville North player Kenzie Hare plays Neuqua Valley in girls basketball. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
By Bobby Narang
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 3/3/2022 4:04 PM

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.

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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."

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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

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