Girls Basketball: Haley Videckis created special memories with Bartlett

Story Image Bartlett's Haley Videckis (22) and Janessa Baker (14) react after their sectional victory at Hoffman Estates High School in Hoffman Estates, Ill., on Thursday, February 23, 2012. | Andrew A. Nelles~For Sun-Times Media |

Updated: March 14, 2012 8:48PM

All those nights practicing jump shots under the tutelage of shooting coach Mike DiNuno at St. John Lutheran’s gym in Schaumburg paid off for Haley Videckis, even if she often chose not to use the skill she’d developed.

The technique she developed with a release that was strong, quick, and from the angle a ball should be shot served Videckis and her Bartlett Hawks well. The end result was a basketball scholarship to Indiana, a third-place finish for the Hawks in the state tournament, and numerous awards for her play, including Courier-News Player of the Year.

“Mike DiNuno — I met him through a friend — I have to thank him a lot for spending so much time helping me get better with my shot,” Videckis said. “All those nights in the rusty little church gym when I dragged myself over there after practice late and shot maybe what seems like millions of jump shots, I guess I would have to say it was worthwhile.”

Videckis put up very good numbers with her shot, but not gaudy ones. She averaged 18 points and hit an area-best 74 three-pointers, while sinking 78 percent of her foul shots (97-of-124).

Bartlett coach Denise Sarna pointed to two reasons for this: herself and Videckis realizing the importance of team.

“I have fretted over this for years with a lot of scoring records and things like that because I believe in rewarding the other kids with playing time,” Sarna said. “There were so many times this season that our starters came out and they sometimes played half a game because the score was so lopsided.”

Sarna recalled a victory during the Hawks’ run to the Charger Classic Christmas tournament title at Dundee-Crown.

“She started off making five three-pointers in the first half and I took her out,” Sarna said. “That’s our school record and she’s tied it several times, but I’ll always feel bad because I never really gave her the chance to break that record.

“But it never seemed to matter to her because she always wanted what was for the good of the team. She appreciated sitting and letting teammates get the chance for playing time.”

Videckis could take over a game at any time, and could do it in ways that scoring didn’t always show. Her blocked shot at the end of overtime in a sectional title-clinching win over Wheaton-Warrenville South was an example. She finished the season averaging 6.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.1 steals and a blocked shot per game.

“Mostly our offense was get the ball to whoever is open,” Videckis said. “So I was just following what we needed to have done.”

Her highlights of 2011-12 included a 30-point, 10-rebound game against South Elgin; a 20-point, 10-rebound, three-assist effort in a win over Benet; and 25 points, eight rebounds, four, steals and four assists against New Trier.

“She’s a very smart player,” Sarna said. “She basically took what the other team gave her for the good of our team and very often we benefited more by her passing or by her posting up low instead of shooting a three-pointer. She wasn’t that kind of player concerned individually, although high scoring was always a possibility for her.

“I think her best basketball, and realizing her potential, are all ahead of her at Indiana.”

Videckis, who will major in business with an emphasis on marketing, thanked her teammates for making her individual and the Hawks’ success this season possible, and added her opponents in her thoughts, as well.

“I have to thank all the defenders who tried to shut me down with double teams because it made me better as an individual player and helped us as a team more by freeing up my teammates,” she said.

Videckis started out as a two-sport athlete before becoming a four-year varsity player. She originally had the potential to star in soccer, as well.

“I loved playing soccer but I was playing a lot of basketball with (Geneva star, Marquette-bound) Ashley Santos on an AAU team and her dad (Joe) was coaching and they made me really fall in love with the game of basketball,” Videckis said.

While Videckis may have a great deal more to show on the court in college, she’ll always have the run to a team state trophy to fall back on in her future thoughts.

“I’ve had so many laughs and memories with these girls and it all seems to blend in to what’s been amazing times,” she said. “Whenever I want to find a comfort zone, I’ll have great memories about my senior season of basketball.

“It’s been an incredible experience and I’m sad to know it’s all over.”

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