Skye Echols wasn’t completely shut out from the basketball court this summer while completing her transfer from Homewood-Flossmoor to Andrew.
She had her travel team.
But the waiting process, which took until just before school started in August, was tough. And then there was the hardest part.
“I didn’t get to have that little team chemistry during the summer,” Echols said. “When I finally had a chance to start, we had our ups and downs.
“I just remember to do one thing — when I play, give my all. Whatever comes in a game comes. I just continue to be a team leader and grow my game.”
Echols, a 5-foot-8 senior guard/forward, is averaging 11.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.8 steals this season for Andrew (13-11).
On Jan. 17, Echols hit for a career-high 25 points to lead the Thunderbolts to a 62-59 victory over Sandburg. She followed that up with a 13-point effort on Jan. 21, as Andrew toppled Oak Lawn 44-25.
To say that Echols has been like a gift from the sky for the Thunderbolts wouldn’t be an exaggeration.
The wait, however, was just as frustrating for Andrew coach Bobby Matz.
“We didn’t know officially that she was coming until school started,” Matz said. “Her mom had reached out, but they were still in the process of moving.
“Without her being an Andrew student, she couldn’t do anything with us. We had to develop everyone else.”
Then came the good news.
“When you add a talented player like her, you just grow,” Matz said. “You are being groomed to do something, and then somebody else comes in and kind of helps with that.
“Some of the pressure on you before is a little bit off. There are more people to share the load.”
Make it four: Argo now has a Mount Rushmore of 1,000-point scorers.
On Jan. 17, Argonauts senior Apple Guerrero achieved the magic number with a 3-pointer during a 54-12 South Suburban Red victory over Eisenhower.
Guerrero joined Chatori Tyler, Tadriana Heard and Breana Dugans as the only players in program history to reach four digits in scoring. Tyler is the all-time leader for the Argonauts with 1,993 points.
This winter, the 5-foot-10 small forward is averaging 21.4 points and nine rebounds for the Argonauts (10-8).
The points don’t come easy.
“This season, every team has schemed for her,” Argo coach Dan McCarthy said. “She has seen multiple nights of box-and-one defenses, and when she has the ball, there are usually two or three players waiting for her.
“Apple has had to change her game. She posts up a lot more, does a lot more inside scoring, and her three ball has improved this season to where she leads the team in 3-point makes and percentage.”
Family flair: Providence coach Eileen Copenhaver is always glad to have a Knight on her roster.
Sophomore Molly Knight, the point guard of the present, is fitting right in for the Celtics (17-8).
Knight, who’s averaging 8.2 points and three assists, scored 12 points Saturday in a 66-38 win over Joliet Central.
Compared to her sisters?
“She’s a real nice mixture of the two,” Copenhaver said. “Last season, we played her on the JV to get her every possible minute that we could. And now she’s bringing us some intangibles that is making us very tough.
“First of all, she can defend. She’s slight, she’s skinny, but she’s long and brings court vision. And like all the Knights, she can shoot deep threes. Yet, she has this way to slither in and attack the rim. I feel like she’s just getting stronger as time goes on.”