Girls Basketball: Lincoln-Way East’s Kara Krolicki grows into a sharpshooter
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media December 24, 2013 4:54PM
Kara Krolicki, of Lincoln-Way East | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 26, 2014 6:20AM
Lincoln-Way East’s Kara Krolicki could see the writing on the wall.
Growing up playing basketball, she saw there would be no huge growth spurt in the future.
Instead, Krolicki worked on a part of her game that would be essential to her success as a guard: her shooting.
“I wasn’t much of a shooter when I was little, just playing to play,” Krolicki said. “Once I got older, I was still on the smaller side so I was going to have to come up with an outside game. Coaches, my brother Tommy, they all helped me working on my shot.”
The years of hard work certainly are paying dividends. One of the premier long-distance shooters and players in the area, Krolicki is averaging 21.6 points per game on 44 percent shooting from the floor and a 35 percent clip from three-point range.
“First, we have good practices, a good team,” Krolicki said. “It’s also a lot of work in the offseason, not just practices (in season). Before and after practice, too, working as much as I can because it’s senior year.”
The 5-foot-7 guard has led the way for the Griffins through the early going. East improved to 9-1 with two wins Monday at the Medieval Classic.
Lincoln-Way East coach Jim Martin never had to sit down and tell his star senior her role. She just knew it.
Looking for additional scoring, Martin has given Krolicki “the green light” to bomb away.
“Kara is just smooth, so you’re not worried about her doing something stupid,” Martin said. “She works hard on her shot, wants that role, wants to be that leader. She understands so well and just loves the game.”
Playing on the varsity as a junior last season, Krolicki was East’s leading scorer, averaging 11.8 points as one teammate after another went down with serious injuries. Krolicki was the constant, the momentum rolling over into her senior season.
“Last year with the injuries it was a bit of a wake-up call,” Krolicki said. “It was an awesome experience to come in as a junior and make a difference. This year, I knew I was going to have to step up, be a captain, a leader.”
As for the green light Martin and his coaching staff have given her, it helps put everyone, not just Krolicki, at ease midgame.
“It’s awesome knowing I don’t have to think about my coach yelling at me if I shoot it,” Krolicki said. “That helps our whole team because we’re not second-guessing each other or ourselves.”
Martin has seen the trickle-down effect work as Claire McMahon (9.9 points), Dana O’Grady (6.9), Haley McCabe (6.3) and Jill Connolly (5.0) play more comfortable.
Krolicki is far from a one-dimensional player as well in leading the way for the Griffins. She’s improved as a ballhandler and slasher while working on her defensive game, too.
“I’m happy where my game is at, but I don’t want to settle,” Krolicki said. “As a team, we’ll take it game by game and see where it takes us. We’ve got some tough competition, but we’re capable of winning a lot of games.”