Cook County All-Area Girls Basketball Co-Captains: Katy Eidle and Sophie Swanson
For the past four years, Mid-Suburban League girls basketball fans were able to watch two of the most prolific scorers in the conference's 50-year history.
Hersey's Katy Eidle and Barrington's Sophie Swanson began their careers as freshmen on Nov. 18 of 2019.
They came into their stellar programs as highly-touted ninth graders.
Regardless, who could have predicted that some four years later, on the same day (Jan. 28 of 2023) both would reach the milestone of 2,000 points, and on that same day finishing at exactly 2,005.
"The same day, like within an hour of each other," said Hersey coach Mary Fendley. "And two kids that received Power Five offers, just so talented and great teammates."
And the 2022-23 co-captains of the Daily Herald Cook County girls basketball all-area team.
While Swanson's career sadly ended in the Class 4A regional semifinal with a knee injury, Eidle continued hers in leading Hersey to fourth place at the Class 4A state tournament after a loss to O'Fallon in the semifinals and Geneva in the third-place game Friday.
But also, there are so many similarities between the two offensive juggernauts, who were the MSL East and West Players of the Year the last three seasons and each led their teams to the final four one time.
Eidle left Normal with 2,223 points, second only to 2011 grad Megan Rogowski (2,365) in program history. She also holds the school mark for career steals (318) and single season-school records for 3-point shooting percentage (42.8 percent as a sophomore) and 3-pointers (104 this season).
Eidle has 504 rebounds, 411 assists and an 18.4 scoring average for her career.
Swanson, who led the Fillies to second place in the 2022 state finals, also placed second in scoring all time for Barrington with her 2,098 points, falling just 85 points shy of 2002 grad Lindsay Richards (2,182).
She averaged 22.7 points this season (18.0 for her career) with 705 points in 31 games along with 4 rebounds per game, 2 assists and 2.5 steals.
Career wise at Barrington, Swanson placed sixth in free throw percentage (76 percent), second in steals (305) and first and second in single-season scoring (750 last year and 705 this year).
She also placed first for single-season 3-pointers (113 this season).
Swanson scored 30 or more points six times with two games of 40 or more.
Eidle was the 2022 Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year while Swanson was Illinois' 2022 Ms. Basketball.
Both will continue their careers in the Big Ten, Eidle at Michigan and Swanson at Purdue.
Both were coached by hall of famers, Mary Fendley at Hersey and Babbi Barreiro at Barrington.
Fendley (25 seasons) and Barreiro (30 seasons) call their the standouts the best scorers they've coached and much more.
"Both of them (Eidle and Swanson) are such tremendous shooters," Fendley said. "They make it look effortless, however, they both put in so much effort it's almost not the right word to use. It's just a lot of time spent honing their craft to become among the elite players in the country, they're just that good."
Swanson, like Eidle, was good from the start.
"Honestly when Sophie started into Barrington, we all knew that she would be one of the best athletes to walk our halls," Barreiro said. "Being Illinois Ms. Basketball as a junior is a rarity and that coupled with the 2,000 points overall is indeed elite in my experience in Illinois.
"What separates Sophie from her peers on the basketball court is really her dynamic ability to score. She can be a silky smooth 3-point shooter or she can take you hard off the dribble and step back to create a ton of space to do what she wants to do. Her step back three has wowed many a crowd during her four years -- by the end they are ooing and aahing at what she does out there. She also has a whole other gear to get past a defender -- she goes one way, spins back and finishes at the rim before the defender knows what happened.
"I truly feel that had she not sustained the injury, she would have broken the all-time record here at BHS (she fell 89 point short, missing the Fillies' final five games)," Barreiro said. "Odds are she would have had it."
Barreiro said she feels fortunate to coach and work with a lot of incredible athletes.
"Ashley Berggren and Lindsay Richards were indeed game changers, and certainly I take nothing away from their game, but Sophie I believe is in a different boat," she said. "Her speed and scoring ability are extraordinary, more in line with the game of basketball today during her era. To me, she is a once-in-a lifetime talent I think most coaches would agree.
"I can't wait to watch her at Purdue. I think in a year or two people are going to be talking about the difference maker she is at that level. I will be watching too and I will be one of her biggest fans."
Like Barreiro, Fendley was a fan of Eidle well before she got to high school.
"I remember Katy as a fifth grader from our camp and she stood out back then," Fendley said. "She was special. She was just so skilled from such a young age and she never stopped improving. She set herself apart early but then she never stopped striving to get better and this is what happens when you do that."
And it happened in the exact same time frame as Swanson's career, treating MSL fans to nearly a half decade of watching two first-team all-staters grace the MSL girls basketball landscape.