February 22, 2024

Varsity basketball is slowing down significantly for Homewood-Flossmoor’s Aunyai Deere.

That couldn’t come at a greater time for sophomore guard, particularly with the state playoffs simply across the nook for the Vikings.

Nevertheless it’s in all probability dangerous information for opponents, who will now should cope with one more younger shooter and defender who’s solely bettering.

“My freshman 12 months, the tempo was a little bit quick,” Deere mentioned. “I couldn’t actually regulate. I used to hurry my pictures, and I was nervous.

“Now that I’m in my sophomore 12 months, I’m getting a little bit extra snug. The sport is beginning to get simpler for me as a result of I’m extra relaxed.”

Deere scored 18 factors Tuesday evening because the Vikings put collectively a 16-0 run within the third quarter en path to a 56-47 SouthWest Suburban Blue victory over Lincoln-Manner East.

The factor that can elevate some eyebrows is how Deere picked up her third foul for H-F (16-6, 4-1) within the first quarter.

That didn’t matter to her in any respect — she nonetheless scored 14 factors within the ultimate three quarters. That doesn’t imply it was simple, although.

“It was extraordinarily laborious as a result of I had to determine a technique for me to to not get a foul,” she mentioned. “I simply stored shifting my palms and my toes.”

The Griffins (20-4, 2-3) received an enormous effort from senior ahead Hayven Smith, the Illinois recruit who posted a double-double with 18 factors and 12 rebounds. Senior guard Lilly Dockemeyer added 11 factors, together with a pair of 3-pointers.

Within the relative scheme of issues, the 5-foot-8 Deere received concerned later in basketball than her friends, starting at age 10 with the Woman Reign program. However that doesn’t imply she didn’t have her eyes on a prized varsity spot even again then.

She credit Syracuse standout Alyssa Latham, the previous H-F star, for uplifting her together with senior guard Jaeda Murphy, Deere’s teammate,

“Alyssa was an enormous a part of the explanation I got here right here,” Deere mentioned. “I favored the best way she performed and likewise the best way that Jaeda was enjoying, too, as a result of I noticed what she may do as a guard and the way she received higher over time.”

The sensation is mutual, in keeping with Murphy.

“Aunyai is a very robust participant,” she mentioned. “She has an incredible shot. She’s an all-around participant. She has nice power and brings it on protection. She will guard the 4 or the 5.

“It doesn’t matter who you placed on her, she’s going to protect them.”

H-F coach Tony Smith mentioned Deere has needed to develop up shortly as he has given her increasingly accountability, even on par with an upperclassman in Murphy.

Generally, the stage has been massive for Deere when the expectation is to not solely contribute however take over a sport like Tuesday’s matchup.

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“She’s greater than succesful,” Smith mentioned. “We’ve simply to get her to consider it on a regular basis that she’s able to be that. She will go in and get it completed.”

Homewood-Flossmoor's Aunyai Deere (3) goes to the basket on a a fast break as Lincoln-Way East's Maddie Yacobozzi (13) tries to block during a Southwest Suburban Blue game in Flossmoor on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024.

Smith mentioned the management torch was handed from Latham to Murphy, and it’d very effectively find yourself in Deere’s palms ultimately.

That’s high-quality. She’s prepared along with her personal management philosophy for the Vikings.

“It might in all probability be speaking and speaking with the staff,” she mentioned. “It’s serving to them each time they need assistance offensively and defensively.”

Deere additionally has massive plans for the longer term. She’s already getting school seems to be however has her eye on one college specifically.

“I need to go to UConn,” she mentioned with a smile. “I feel’s an excellent program, and it’s simply the model of play they’ve, the tempo, the best way they run up and down the courtroom.”

Gregg Voss is a contract reporter for the Every day Southtown.