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Girls Basketball: Courtney Hinsberger a welcome addition to Hillcrest coaching staff

Hillcrest girls basketball coach John Maniatis (left) assistant Courtney Hinsberger. | Tony Baranek/Sun-Times Media

Hillcrest girls basketball coach John Maniatis (left) and assistant Courtney Hinsberger. | Tony Baranek/Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 26, 2014 6:20AM



On a December night in 2003, just before Christmas, Oak Forest’s Courtney Hinsberger recorded probably the most important assist of her high school career when she threw a fourth-quarter pass that teammate Kathleen Dewan converted into a basket.

It gave the Bengals a lead over Hillcrest they wouldn’t relinquish. The Bengals’ 56-47 victory snapped Hillcrest’s winning streak in the SICA Central at 83 straight.

Beating an opponent never felt so good.

“It was an intense rivalry between us and Hillcrest,” Hinsberger said. “I don’t think it was so much that we didn’t like them, but because it was such a good competition and so competitive every time we played them. There was an adrenaline that always got us going.”

Some of it was provided by Hawks coach John Maniatis, who was anything but invisible when it came to directing his players during games.

“He was so intense when we played (during the games),” Hinsberger said. “He’d get into your head when you were on the court. But I still remember that he would always compliment me after we played. He was like, ‘No. 24, good game. Nice game.’ ”

No one would have predicted then Hinsberger would become a varsity assistant for the Bengals’ No. 1 rival.

“If you told me that seven years ago I would be working at Hillcrest and coaching next to John Maniatis I’d say you were (crazy),” Hinsberger said with a laugh. “But it’s honestly been a great experience for me.

“There have been nothing but positive things. I’ve learned so much from him, and he’s been so welcoming in taking me in, even though I’m a Bengal.”

Hinsberger joined the teaching staff at Hillcrest in 2011 as a special education teacher. For one season she was a volunteer assistant before being installed as the No. 1 varsity assistant when Rachel Gromala left the position to take a teaching and coaching job in Texas.

The transition was a smooth one, according to Maniatis.

“I think she can definitely appreciate the rivalry from a whole different perspective,” he said. “Coming from the Oak Forest community and being a player in that community ... she gives us a chance to see a little different perspective from where she was at for us.

“The intangibles she brings as an athlete, as a competitor, are things that enhance our coaching staff. And she’s a fun person. She’s a great young woman, an ambitious young woman who is going to make a very successful head coach down the road.”

Player of the Week

Ashton Millender, of Marian Catholic, is the SouthtownStar Girls Basketball Player of the Week.

Millender, a senior guard, earned Most Valuable Player honors in leading the Spartans to the title at the Oswego Hoops of the Troops Classic. In a 64-45 victory over Batavia, Millender scored 22 points.



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