ROCHELLE — The fans who filled the gymnasium for Rochelle’s varsity girls basketball game against Mendota on Friday witnessed something that may never be repeated by another Lady Hub player.
After setting Rochelle’s new single-season points record on Wednesday, Lady Hub senior Abby Lundquist returned to her home floor for one final home game before beginning the IHSA Class 3A Regional at Mendota next week. Lundquist needed 10 points to become the program’s all-time career scoring champion, surpassing RTHS Hall of Famer Olivia Heitter who previously set the mark at 1,839 points during the 1992-93 season.
Lundquist began the first quarter with a 3-pointer from the top of the arc before converting two consecutive 3-point plays to come within one point of tying Heitter’s record. After a few missed shots from the perimeter, Lundquist put the ball on the floor, using her trademark left-handed dribble before turning and firing a right-handed shot off the glass.
The ball rattled around the rim before falling through the net, putting Lundquist in uncharted territory as Rochelle’s all-time leading scorer. Rochelle head coach Tony Rowan called timeout soon after, as the crowd applauded Lundquist for her efforts.
“Abby’s a kid who has always trusted the process,” Rowan said. “She’s always known that her hard work would play off somehow or someway. Tonight, we saw one of the accomplishments where that happened, and I know it’s an individual accomplishment, but she would be the first to say she couldn’t have done it without her teammates over the last four years.”
The senior hugged Rowan and her teammates on the sideline before entering the stands and sharing hugs with family members and friends. Lundquist finished the game with 32 points, and while the Lady Hubs lost by a final score of 65-55, all eyes were on Lundquist as she achieved a feat that no Rochelle girl has ever reached.
“This was really special,” Lundquist said. “I’ve been frustrated many times, but this moment proved that all of my hard work paid off. It was insane, and I’m so grateful for everybody who has supported me. I wanted to take that moment and show my appreciation for everybody who’s been a part of my journey… They’ve done a tremendous amount of work to help me be here and be in a position to succeed.”
Emotions inside the Rochelle locker room were high after the game as signs recognizing Lundquist’s achievement decorated the hallway outside the gymnasium. Lundquist, who continued wearing Heitter’s No. 22 uniform after first putting the jersey on Wednesday evening against Geneseo, received a FaceTime message from Erik Heitter, Olivia’s brother, after the game congratulating her on her accomplishment.
“It was bittersweet because I know Olivia was a great lady and I know that if she were here today, she would be one of my biggest fans,” Lundquist said of Heitter, who passed away from cancer several years ago. “That’s what my mom always told me. Erik has been a huge part of this program… He’s supported me ever since my freshman year.”
The milestone moment put a positive end on Rochelle’s regular season, with the Lady Hubs finishing 6-23 overall. For Rowan, who has been coaching girls basketball for many years, watching Lundquist make history was an incomparable moment.
“I don’t even know what to compare it with,” Rowan said. “This is a very rare and special moment, and I don’t even want to compare it to anything else. I’m just so excited that Abby was able to accomplish something that will go down in history at Rochelle Township High School.”