Girls Basketball: Kerns bringing player's mentality to Lady Hubs

Rochelle head coach Tony Rowan and assistant coach Abby Kerns work through a play with sophomore Lucy Bunger. Kerns is in her first year as a coach after playing four years for the Lady Hubs and two years for the Kishwaukee College women's basketball program. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Former Rochelle point guard back with program as varsity assistant coach

ROCHELLE — Former Rochelle point guard Abby Kerns remembered starting each varsity basketball season at the Forreston Thanksgiving Tournament when she played for the Lady Hubs. Kerns was back on the sideline during Rochelle’s game against Eastland on Thursday, only this time she was giving instructions to the Lady Hubs as opposed to receiving them.

Kerns was named the varsity assistant coach before this season, and the tournament opener marked her first game as a high school coach after spending four years with the Lady Hubs and two years with the Kishwaukee College women’s basketball program as a student-athlete. The RTHS graduate didn’t want to give up basketball after completing her time with the Kougars.

“I’ve always loved basketball,” Kerns said. “Coach [Tony] Rowan asked me about the position before the season and I told him I would try coaching out to see whether or not I like it. It’s a lot more fun than I imagined it would be… This is the same program I came from and I’m helping the girls through a lot of the same things I went through in high school.”

Kerns played under head coach Tony Rowan for three years before graduating from Rochelle Township High School in 2017. She said her experience as a point guard will help inform her coaching abilities, and she’ll have the chance to work with a young roster featuring many promising guards when the Lady Hubs take the court this season.

“I understand where the girls are coming from when they’re confused about something and I know how to explain things back to them,” Kerns said. “When we’re running plays, I can give the point guards tips on what to do rather than holding the ball. I’m really excited for the first game… We’ll see where the girls are at since we’ve only seen them scrimmage each other.”

Kerns played two full seasons totaling 56 games at Kishwaukee College, averaging 6.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per contest. The former Lady Hub has already been active with the team, helping prepare practice plans and offering advice on team drills. She will be looking to help the Lady Hubs improve on their 7-24 overall record this past season.  

“Coach Rowan and I have a different level of trust now,” Kerns said. “We’ll discuss plans for practice and I’m able to give my input on suggestions for other drills we should be running. A few days ago, we weren’t doing many box-out drills, and the shortest girls were getting all of the rebounds. He asked me for my input, and I told him we need to run more box-out drills.”

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