Rochelle freshman Josie Lundquist was grateful when she found out she would be playing varsity basketball with the Lady Hubs this season. It shouldn’t come as any surprise either, as her older sister Abby Lundquist also suited up for the varsity team during her freshman year.
Both sisters have been playing basketball for quite some time, but it wasn’t until this year that the two girls received the opportunity to play alongside each other on the basketball court. While the girls normally see each other on a regular basis outside the gymnasium, being together during practices and games has been both a refreshing and exciting experience.
“Coach [Tony] Rowan and I talked over the summer about us playing on the same team,” Abby said. “It’s good to know that I always have someone on the court who has my back. I definitely try pushing her during practice, and sometimes I get frustrated but I remember that she’s a lot younger than me.”
Josie began playing basketball in fourth grade through her local AAU program. She said that watching Abby play during games and on her family’s driveway inspired her to pursue the sport. Josie is one of several underclassmen earning time on both Rochelle’s sophomore and varsity teams, beginning a new youth movement that will hopefully benefit the program long term.
“Abby has really taught me what to look for and what to do when I’m on the court,” Josie said. “She’s kept me in the right direction and she’s helped guide me here… It’s nice to see her in the hallways and I’m able to interact with her more often. We’ve never been in the same school and I feel like we’re able to get to know each other more.”
The Lady Hubs have relied on Abby’s scoring and playmaking since she began playing varsity basketball. However, her role as a leader has evolved throughout her high school career, and the player who was once called “baby baller” as a freshman and sophomore by her older teammates now has a chance to display some leadership of her own.
“I was sort of like the baby of the team over the last few years,” Abby said. “I’m one of the oldest players now and I have a lot of girls looking up to me... I just want us to go out there and do the best we can do.”
Abby and Josie have a pair of strong role models to look up to. Their mother Tracy entered the Rochelle Township High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016 and finished her high school career as an all-time Lady Hub scorer. Additionally, their father Dan played collegiate hoops at Lewis University. After a few pressure-packed seasons with the Lady Hubs in recent years, Abby said that Josie’s presence on the court has had a sort of calming effect on her.
“Just knowing that she’s here has made me more relaxed,” Abby said. “She’ll reassure me when I’m frustrated with myself and that’s helped with my confidence this year.”
As for Josie, she said that playing alongside Abby has allowed her to improve her basketball abilities in many different areas. Mainly, she said that her scoring around the rim has been better since joining forces with her older sister, and she’ll be aiming to put those skills to use when Rochelle competes in the Forreston Thanksgiving Tournament this weekend.
“Finishing at the basket and getting to the basket have definitely been important for me,” Josie said. “My shooting form and knowing what to do when I’m shooting… Abby’s taught me a lot of what I know just from watching her play. I’m able to see what she does and then I’m able to go out there and do those same things myself.”