For Alyssa Hughes, it’s an honor to be part of the St. Charles North history books.
St. Charles North’s junior guard on Jan. 20 passed 2016 graduate Kyla Helsel’s mark for career three-pointers made in a 54-44 win over Wheaton Warrenville South. Hughes is currently at 115 made threes, eclipsing Helsel’s 112.
“I’m really humbled to set the career record, but I think it’s more of a reflection of how the game is changing and the importance of three-pointers,” Hughes said. “As a team, we’re taking so many more threes than we had in any of my years at North. I’m super thankful for the opportunity to play for North and just super grateful for all the support from my teammates.”
Even more impressive is that Hughes set the new record in less than three full seasons, including the abbreviated 2020-2021 school year’s season.
“For her to be able to do that, in what, 2.5 seasons? It’s pretty cool,” North Stars coach Mike Tomczak said.
Hughes will have the potential to pad her totals with the remainder of her junior season and her senior year remaining.
“There’s definitely a lot more games to go, I’d say,” Hughes said. “Honestly, having the [record] wasn’t even really a goal of mine. My goal, just for our team, is try and win a regional. I feel like if we’re successful in achieving our team goals, I know the individual accolades will come. [That’s partially possible from] my teammates really supporting me and looking to get me the ball in positions where I’m able to shoot the three really helps a lot, too.”
Tomczak has seen Hughes mature on and off the floor throughout her three seasons for the North Stars.
“Maybe there’s something to be said about COVID. Everything being terrible, but it’s [also] forced kids to grow up a lot more,” Tomczak said. “She had no choice but to start working independently and doing things without the guidance of coaches when we couldn’t be around them. She’s brilliant in the classroom, [too]. AP across the board, so that’s not a concern.”
During the IHSA sports shut down, Hughes played an active role in different virtual team challenges and activities.
Additionally, Tomczak says, “no one is more critical of Alyssa Hughes than Alyssa Hughes.”
“Alyssa is very critical of herself to the point where she’ll identify weaknesses [and] she’ll identify areas that she needs to grow in, and then she’ll spend the summer in the weight room,” Tomczak said. “Or she’ll spend the summer on her left hand [handles or] on-ball defense.”
“She’d come back a stronger player; not really expounding on the things that she does well because those continue to grow,” Tomczak continued. “But really shoring up perceived weakness in her game to the point where, now [as a] junior, she’s so much more of a complete player than she was a couple years ago and she just continues to do that.”
Batavia’s Brooke Nazos shows she can play
In her first varsity basketball season, from the beginning of it to this point in mid-January, Batavia senior Brooke Nazos has learned she’s “better at basketball” than she initially thought.
“[And] I shouldn’t doubt myself or anything in the sport,” said Nazos, who primarily competes in cross country and track. “I’ve learned a bunch of different things about the team.”
Nazos doesn’t play basketball outside the high school season due to her running sports obligations, but has flashed her athletic potential throughout the season for the Bulldogs.
In a win over Wheaton North on Jan. 20, Nazos had six points and six rebounds. It was a performance that wasn’t lost on her cousin and fellow senior, Claire Nazos.
“I’m so proud of her,” Claire Nazos said following the game. “I couldn’t be more proud of her. I know she’s my cousin, but she’s a sister. She’s one of our most physical rebounders on our team. It really showed.”
It’s a relationship, however, that clearly extends to the basketball court.
“I love it. I love having [Claire] out there,” Brooke Nazos said. “I know that she always wants me to do the best that I can and I always want her to do the best she can. I just really have fun with it, especially since this is the last year that we will be playing together and I enjoy every minute of it.”
Source: The Daily Chronicle