Boys Basketball: Hickey helps Hubs surge late in season

Rochelle senior Ben Hickey drives to the basket. Hickey saw his role expand throughout his final season with the Hubs. (Photo by Marcy DeLille)

RTHS guard sees role increased during playoff run

The Rochelle boys basketball team pieced together one of its strongest second-half season stretches in recent history this past winter, finishing 20-12 overall behind a 16-3 run over its last 19 games. Senior guard Ben Hickey played an integral role in helping the Hubs turn their early-season struggles around.

Hickey, who spent four years with the RTHS basketball program, was primarily a reserve during the 2018-19 season before becoming a key role player during his senior campaign. His defense, rebounding and occasional scoring provided Rochelle with much-needed depth this past winter, and his improvements garnered positive feedback from head coach Tim Thompson.

“Ben had a very solid senior season,” Thompson said. “He was a pleasure to coach and he always had a smile on his face. I wish Ben the best of luck with his future endeavors. I know that Ben will be successful in anything he chooses to put his mind to.”

As Rochelle geared up for the postseason, Hickey was part of a largely six-player rotation that pulled together an enormous upset against the Sterling Golden Warriors in the IHSA 3A Regional Semifinals at the Musgrove Fieldhouse. While the Hubs fell just short against another high seed in Geneseo, Hickey said the regional atmosphere is something he’ll always remember about his career with the RTHS basketball program.

“I enjoyed all of our games,” Hickey said. “I feel that my communication improved the most throughout my time with the team. The playoffs during my senior season will be my favorite memories from playing for the Hubs. Overall, the basketball program taught me how to be the best student-athlete I can be, both in the classroom and on the court.”

A multi-sport athlete, Hickey also competed with the cross country and track programs at RTHS. He finished his track and field career with personal-best times of 12.86 seconds and 1:04.01 in the 100 and 400-meter dash, respectively. Hickey also competed in the high jump, posting a personal record clearance of 5 feet 8 inches in 2019.

An Interstate 8 Academic All-Conference honoree this season, Hickey first began playing basketball in seventh grade to compete alongside his friends. After high school, Hickey said he plans to attend Northern Illinois University to study engineering and technology.

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