Freeman gives basketball her best shot
Nazareth's Kayla Freeman looks for an open teammate during their sectional semifinal against Glenbard South in LaGrange Park February 19, 2013. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Saturday Girls track: at Plainfield South Invitational, 9 a.m.
Girls track: at Plainfield South Invitational, 9 a.m.
Monday Boys basketball: vs. Montini in Class 3A Glenbard South Regional, 7:30 p.m.
Boys basketball: vs. Montini in Class 3A Glenbard South Regional, 7:30 p.m.
Updated: March 22, 2013 6:59AM
Nazareth senior Kayla Freeman is never completely satisfied with her play.
That may be in part because of a vision in her sleep.
“I had a dream that I would become a better player every single day and every single practice,” Freeman said. “I also got a lot of encouragement from my dad throughout grade school.”
Freeman’s work ethic helped her become the best 3-point shooter on her team and one of the top long-range shooters in the East Suburban Catholic.
Freeman drained her second game-winning 3-point shot of the season in Nazareth’s 47-44 win over Aurora Central Catholic Feb. 14 in the Class 3A St. Joseph Regional final in Westchester.
“It was a great feeling for sure,” Freeman said. “I still can’t believe it to be honest. I couldn’t have done anything without my teammates. We have a huge support system. I enjoy (the pressure). I’m confident in those situations.”
Thanks to Freeman’s heroics, Nazareth was scheduled played Glenbard South Tuesday in a Nazareth Sectional semifinal.
First-year Nazareth coach Kim Connell was not surprised by Freeman’s clutch performance.
“She really has no fear,” Connell said. “She’s a pretty quiet, determined young lady, who quietly goes about her business. When the team needs a clutch shot, her teammates look for her to get the ball.
“She’s put a lot of time into getting better, not just in practice. She’s in our gym constantly whenever she gets a chance. She works out at the Bulls-Sox Academy. It’s rewarding to see her have success. You want all the kids to be as dedicated to getting better and working on their skill set.”
Freeman has been working on her skills set for a long time.
“I took lessons in grade school and just fell in love with shooting,” Freeman said. “I’m good on defense, but shooting is probably my biggest (strength). I’m going to keep working on it, but so far I’ve been able to reach my dreams and my goals.”
The Chicago resident, who leads a balanced Nazareth team in scoring at 10 points per game, qualified for the state’s 3-point showdown as a sophomore. Although she never made it back to state, the achievement inspired her to work even harder.
“It was an awesome experience,” Freeman said. “There was a lot of adrenaline because I was so happy to be down there. It pushed me further. I just kept pushing hard every single day to get better.”