Girls Basketball: Hayenga gaining confidence with Lady Hubs

Senior Elise Hayenga goes up for a shot during Rochelle’s varsity basketball game against Plano this past season. Hayenga said she’s looking to show more leadership and confidence with the Lady Hubs this year. (Photo by Marcy DeLille)

Senior forward eager to lead in second varsity season

Lady Hub senior Elise Hayenga saw plenty of action during her first varsity season with the Rochelle Township High School basketball team. As a forward, Hayenga battled her opponents down low, fighting for rebounds on both ends and earning extra possessions for her team.

Hayenga made her first major impact on the team during Rochelle’s win over Morrison in the Forreston Thanksgiving Tournament, where the senior forward totaled 12 rebounds and scored 10 points for her first varsity double-double. With a full season under her belt, Hayenga said she’s ready to show more leadership and play with more confidence this coming season.

“I was new to the varsity team last season so I was pretty shy and I wasn’t exactly sure what was going to happen as far as my role,” Hayenga said. “I felt like I warmed up as the season went on and I want to try and be more of a leader this year since I’m a senior now. I want to work hard and push the other girls to work harder too... We all picked each other up last year and we always tried to help each other and congratulate each other when we made shots.”

Hayenga will be one of multiple seniors in the Rochelle frontcourt who are looking to guide the Lady Hubs to a winning season this coming year. While the COVID-19 pandemic forced the basketball program to adjust many of its offseason routines, Hayenga said she capitalized on at-home workouts, shooting hoops at home and staying in touch with the team through an online classroom. Hayenga said she hopes to shoot the ball better and score more points next season.

“I tried to go outside and shoot on my hoop as much as I could,” Hayenga said. “We had a virtual classroom over the summer where coach [Tony] Rowan would give us workouts and ideas to do on our own. I tried to run as do as many of those workouts as I could… I thought we all played together as a team last season. We worked hard in practice and we had as much fun as we could. Even with COVID-19, we want to have the best time we can.”

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