ROCHELLE — Abby Lundquist has always worn No. 15 for the Rochelle varsity girls basketball team. When Lundquist walked onto her home court for Wednesday’s conference game against Geneseo, however, the senior guard had a different set of numbers on the front and back of her Lady Hub uniform.
For the first time, Lundquist dressed in the team’s No. 22 jersey in honor of Olivia Heitter, Rochelle’s all-time scoring champion who passed away from cancer several years ago. Heitter ended her high school career with both Rochelle’s single-season and career scoring records, and no Lady Hub had come close to topping her for over two decades.
That was, until Lundquist arrived.
Lundquist has worked her way up the all-time scoring ladder over the last four seasons, and on Wednesday, the senior broke Heitter’s single-season points record (655) when she scored a team-high 29 points in Rochelle’s 56-39 loss against Geneseo. Lundquist now stands alone with 683 points and counting, surpassing Heitter’s record that was set during the 1991-92 season.
“I wanted to honor her and remind people of her legacy while making my own legacy,” Lundquist said. “I think it’s really important that people recognize her because she made such a huge impact on our program. There isn’t enough I can say to fully appreciate what she did for me and for the program.”
The Maple Leafs stymied the Rochelle offense early, utilizing their full-court pressure to disrupt passing lanes and force Lady Hub turnovers leading to quick baskets on the other end. Geneseo led Rochelle 17-5 after the first quarter and 27-9 at halftime, with Lundquist scoring seven of the Lady Hub points. Senior Makenna Ferrari put up Rochelle first two points of the half.
Lundquist channeled her inner Olivia Heitter in the second half, however, carrying the scoring load for Rochelle with 22 points over the third and fourth quarters by knocking down multiple 3-pointers, free throws and layups around the basket. Five different Rochelle girls scoring in the third quarter including junior Gabrielle Harding, sophomore Afi Gati and freshmen Zoey Tabor and Josie Lundquist, who all finished with two points.
“I think it was about having confidence as a team,” Lundquist said. “I think we came out a bit timid, but after the first half I knew that we had nothing to lose. We just had to go out there and bust out butts, and that’s what we did. We started running our offense correctly and we were hustling more on defense.”
Despite picking up their pace on offense, the Lady Hubs were unable to slow down the Geneseo attack, as the Maple Leafs pushed the ball in transition and used their superior size to grab several offensive rebounds. Geneseo led 46-28 after the third quarter behind Maddi Barickman, who led the Maple Leafs with 14 points and four 3-pointers.
Rochelle (6-22) will host Mendota on Friday before beginning the IHSA Class 3A Regionals against Genoa-Kingston next Monday. Lundquist, who now has 1,829 career points, needs only 10 points to tie Heitter’s all-time career record. The senior will be looking to make history for the second straight game on her home floor.
“I’ve put a lot of hard work into the game and I’ve been practicing for high school basketball since I was little,” Lundquist said. “It means a lot to me and I can’t thank my parents and my grandparents enough because they’re the reason I’m here today.”