Girls Basketball: Oak Lawn’s Janet Haubenreiser SouthtownStar 2012-13 Coach of the Year
By Tony Baranek firstname.lastname@example.org March 19, 2013 10:30PM
Oak Lawn coach Janet Haubenreiser. | File photo
Updated: April 21, 2013 6:17AM
Janet Haubenreiser made a bold prediction as a senior basketball player at Oak Lawn in 1991 when she said that some day she was going to come back to coach the team.
It got some laughs, but she was serious.
Today, she’s leading the Spartans program to some of its highest highs.
Oak Lawn posted a 21-6 record in 2012-13, beating out percentage-wise the previous highwater mark of 21-7 posted by Haubenreiser’s 2002-03 squad.
“I knew we had a lot coming in and I thought we would have a good year,” the Beggars Pizza/SouthtownStar 2012-13 Girls Basketball Coach of the Year said.
“We showed some signs in the summer. We beat Hillcrest, and even though it was just summer I think it kind of gave our kids a little bit of confidence. As the (regular) season progressed, people started stepping up and it all kind of came together.”
In 14 years as coach at Oak Lawn, Haubenreiser has a 228-150 record. During her career as an all-conference player, she was a three-year varsity member. Later, she played at Moraine Valley.
Almost straight out of college, Haubenreiser returned to Oak Lawn as an assistant coach under coach Chuck Davelis. She spent four years in that role before accepting the head coaching position when Davelis stepped down.
“I used to get so frustrated early on (as head coach),” she said, chuckling. “One day (assistant coach) Skip Sullivan said to me, “We can’t trade ’em. This is our team. We’ve got to work with what we have.’
“That always stuck with me. The most pride we take out of the program is getting the most out of our players.”
The Spartans this season were led by juniors LaTondra Brooks, Jannah Mahmoud and Brooke Annerino, who represented a rare Oak Lawn trio of basketball-only starters. Many Oak Lawn athletes are multisport participants. That’s just fine with Haubenreiser.
“I don’t discourage kids from playing multiple sports because I think you get something out of everything you play,” she said. “It makes you competitive, and so many of the skills you use in basketball you also use in volleyball and softball.
“At a school like Oak Lawn, that’s the only way we can be competitive. We have to share athletes and make the best of it.”
This season the Spartans beat every South Suburban Conference foe except one. And against that one — Hillcrest — they ferociously battled without Brooks (out with a concussion) before losing by six.
“It was a lot of fun,” Haubenreiser said of the season. “I was lucky to have such a great group of kids this year that played hard and bought into what we (coaches) wanted as far as the system was concerned.
“You look at LaTondra. She could easily do whatever she wanted scoring-wise, but she was a team player. It was the same with Brooke. They understood what we wanted to do, and they stuck with it. That made it fun.”