For Rochelle Township High School senior Lilly Portzen, playing for the Lady Hub basketball program was about more than the action happening on the court.
Portzen spent four years with the basketball program including two seasons on the varsity level. While the wins may have been tough for Portzen and her teammates to obtain, she said the team bonding experiences and the tight-knit atmosphere of the basketball program are the two things she’ll remember most about suiting up for the Lady Hubs.
“I enjoyed being closer than a normal basketball team,” Portzen said. “I became close with all of the girls. A few of my favorite moments would have to be the bus rides with the team and our last-minute talks under the basket after pregame warmups.”
Portzen, who started playing basketball when she was 8 years old, was primarily a post player before high school. Although she was smaller than most post players at the high school level, she said she adapted to the higher level of competition by developing her perimeter shooting skills and gaining more confidence handling the basketball.
“I never played sports before going out for basketball, but I had family members who played, so I gave it a shot,” Portzen said. “Coach [Tony] Rowan always emphasized focusing on schoolwork and staying healthy. With basketball happening six days a week, I really had to juggle school with practice and games, but coach Rowan was always there to help me with my academics, which has helped me improve my time management abilities.”
Portzen’s efforts to improve herself and her team spirit resulted in her earning the Coach’s Award for the 2019-20 season. She said her goals for after high school are to attend Kishwaukee College and major in science. Portzen, who said she’s considering continuing her basketball career with the Lady Kougars, said she wants to become an anesthesiologist.