Girls Basketball | Daily Chronicle

Hinckley-Big Rock, Hiawatha get in early reps with girls volleyball-basketball doubleheader

Hiawatha's Crystal Haack sets the ball Thursday, June 30, 2022, during a summer volleyball match against Hinckley-Big Rock at Hiawatha High School in Kirkland.

KIRKLAND – Summer competitions are meant to help athletes and coaches get a better assessment of their rosters for the upcoming season. On Thursday, Hinckley-Big Rock and Hiawatha got an early look at some potential faces joining their rosters this fall.

“I think it was a good first experience for those younger players,” said Jason Haack, who serves as both Hiawatha’s volleyball and girls basketball head coach. “It gives them an idea of what the high school level will look like, what to prepare for and what the season might look like.”

The Royals and Hawks squared off in a volleyball-basketball doubleheader Thursday as both teams continued their summer preparation.

Both programs compete in the Class 1A postseason and the opportunity to see similar sized competition gives them a good baseline comparison for how they could match up come fall.

Hiawatha senior Crystal Haack said the chance to get early reps in before the season will help change past performances of struggling early in August.

“We always have a struggle a little bit in the beginning of the year,” Crystal Haack said. “So having that lookout and having coaches be able to come out, it’s just a lot more helpful than during the year.”

For some, the ability to get competitive reps in both sports is beneficial not just for skill improvement but for building chemistry with teammates before the scores count.

“The summer really helps out,” Crystal Haack said. “I think playing back-to-back with the same team was good. Getting to know the girls and just playing all together was a really good experience.”

Hinckley-Big Rock's Anna Herrmann grabs a rebound during a summer game against Hiawatha Thursday, June 30, 2022, at Hiawatha High School in Kirkland.

For both schools, most of the girls competing Thursday were freshman or sophomores, and exhibitions like Thursday’s allow them the chance to establish themselves for a varsity roster spot.

Royals volleyball and girls basketball coach Douglas Brewington stressed that opportunity in a timeout during the volleyball exhibition.

Jason Haack took the exhibition as a time to stop play and explain to players some of the offensive skills and sets the Hawks had been working on during practices, reinforcing the practices during a game-like situation.

After Thursday’s exhibition, both teams will continue with summer camps and prep for the upcoming IHSA volleyball season, which is slated to begin in August.