Rochelle junior Abby Lundquist has always been able to score the basketball, but the Lady Hub standout will be working to spread the wealth this winter as the varsity girls basketball team progresses through the 2017-18 season.
Lundquist has already upped her scoring load from last season, averaging 17.6 points per game over Rochelle’s first seven games this year after recording roughly 15 points per game her sophomore season in which she earned All-Conference First Team recognition from the Northern Illinois Big 12. She scored 26 points to lead the Lady Hubs over Forreston on Nov. 18 before locking down a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds against Winnebago on Nov. 20.
“I want to do what’s best for the team, and if that means scoring the ball, then I’ll score,” Lundquist said. “I want to improve my 3-point percentage because I think that plays a key role in being successful… I really like shooting, but I want to be known as an all-around player so I know I have to finish better and I want to get better on defense. I’ve been working on rebounding, and over the summer I really went hard on increasing my vertical.”
The Lady Hubs are off to a 2-5 start after fighting a rigorous battle against the Ottawa Lady Pirates on Friday. However, Lundquist said that she and her teammates still have high expectations for the 2017-18 season, and she said the key to more wins will be making the right plays and closing out tough opponents.
“We were looking to win the Forreston tournament but that didn’t happen,” Lundquist said. “But I think we’re getting into a groove. We took a big step forward in the Kaneland game… We’ve seen what we can do and we’ve seen that we can win games. We just need to execute and we have to be able to finish games. This year I think we can be a winning team.”
A three-year varsity basketball player who frequently competes in the AAU program against other local standouts such as AFC’s Jaynee Prestegaard and Boylan’s Ashley Reyes, Lundquist grew up participating in nearly every sport available to her. She ran track and field, she swam, she joined cheerleading and she played softball, volleyball and even flag football throughout her childhood before finally deciding on basketball as her primary high school sport.
“I like being with my teammates and it’s a really good team sport,” Lundquist. “Bonding with your teammates and the memories you make with them are what you’re going to remember for the rest of your life.”
Lundquist began her basketball career in third grade with the Rochelle Youth Basketball Association (RYBA). Following in the footsteps of her father Dan, who played basketball at Lewis University, and her mother Tracy, who is in the Rochelle Township High School Athletic Hall of Fame, Lundquist said she still recalls watching her parents on the court when she was little.
“I’ve been around basketball for probably my whole life,” she said. “I watched my parents play when I was younger and I just fell in love with the game… My mom really knows how to interact with me, and she knows how to motivate me in school and in basketball.”
While most high school athletes are rostered at the freshman or sophomore levels when they enter high school, Lundquist was immediately pulled up to varsity during her first year at RTHS. She was the only freshman on the team, and even though she said she was slightly intimidated, her experience with the AAU program and the leadership of her older teammates helped her persevere.
“It was definitely a little scary,” Lundquist said. “I just wanted to come in and have everybody like me. I was just trying to fit in… AAU basketball is played at a much faster pace and that definitely helped prepare me for the next level. Some of the girls who jumped in and helped me feel comfortable were Abby Kerns, Caylee Turner, Kellee Parker, Jacie [Wyatt] and Morgan [Baker].”
Now an upperclassman, Lundquist will be asked to fill more of a leadership role, and the junior said she’s ready to help Rochelle’s younger players succeed the same way she was brought up by her current and former older teammates. Abby’s sister Josie is in eighth grade, and she chuckled when asked about the possibility of playing basketball with her younger sibling next year.
“I want those girls to look up to me and work hard at everything they do,” Lundquist said.