SCHAUMBURG – Yorkville junior guard Alex Stewart is attempting to make a name for herself this season.
A three-year varsity player, Stewart is slated to play a bigger role for the Foxes following a season learning the ropes as a varsity starter last winter. Stewart was one of the shining lights in an otherwise dreary game for the Foxes on Tuesday.
The 5-foot-8 multi-dimensional guard scored a team-high 16 points and five steals in a 59-43 loss to Deerfield in the Schaumburg Thanksgiving Basketball Classic. Kenzie Phillips added 11 points and Ava Hendershott nine for the Foxes.
Even with her big game, Stewart said she’s not resting on her laurels — even tonight.
“I learned today that defense is key,” Stewart said. “Even if you have a good offense, you have to play defense because you are nothing without defense. My goal is to be one of the top players, but it all starts with practice. You have to get in the gym and do what you can to get better.
“I’m going to shoot tonight, at a gym about five minutes away from my house. My dad rebounds for me. But I’m not sure how long I’ll shoot tonight.”
Stewart is not your typical guard/point guard. She’s strong with the ball, can drive fast and hard to her left hand and not afraid of contact. In fact, Stewart embraces contact, evidenced by her numerous drives to the basket against Deerfield.
“My game is always to drive, but I look to pass,” Stewart said. “If I’m feeling good, I can shoot a bit, but driving is the main thing. I learned today not to be scared. If you drive, there’s a chance to score or get fouled and get free throws.”
Stewart, who runs cross country and track, admitted she never gets tired in basketball games.
“I”m always energetic in everything,” Stewart said.
Stewart participated in the state cross country meet as an alternate in her freshman year, but helped lead the Foxes to a fifth-place finish in the Class 3A state meet in November. Stewart, who placed 176th in the state cross country meet, runs the 400, 800 and 1,600 in track.
Stewart showed off her next-level speed by outracing Deerfield’s talented trio of guards — Lexi Kerstein, Nikki Kerstein and Aubrey Galvan — down the court for several layups in Tuesday’s game. Stewart said she benefitted from her fall cross country experience.
“The opportunity to run state (cross country) was really awesome,” Stewart said. “It really helped my stamina. Obviously, basketball is a whole different sport, with more sprinting up and down the court. But it helped me. Cross country is about pace.”
Yorkville coach Kim Wensits said Stewart is a solid up-and-coming player.
“Alex has very high goals and not afraid of anything,” she said. “She wants to be a top notch player. She went hard and had a lot of really good steals and finished very well tonight.
“Her thought process is to get deep in the paint as she can. She’s a rhythm shooter. Shooting is probably the one missing piece in her game. Defensively, she can guard just about anybody. You add that three-point shot on a consistent basis and she can be deadly.”
Deerfield junior guard Lexi Kerstein, a three-year starter, scored a game-high 18 points and added eight steals against the Foxes (0-4). Kerstein admitted Stewart was a tough player to stop.
“I was very impressed,” Kerstein said. “She was very fast. She was very good with the ball and very patient and was all over the place. She did a very good job finishing her layups to help keep her team in the game.”