Stockton was the primary nice NUIC soccer energy, due to John O’Boyle going 279-74-1 in 35 years from 1963 to 1997 as coach.
Stockton additionally was the primary nice NUIC ladies basketball energy, due to Tracy Boyer.
The Blackhawks had one regional title at school historical past earlier than Boyer, a 5-foot-Three level guard, led them to a 103-18 file in 4 years that included a regional title yearly, three straight sectional titles and the NUIC’s first state trophy, a fourth-place end in 1993.
“She simply wasn’t going to lose,” mentioned Terry Korth, Stockton’s head coach in Boyer’s senior season.
Stockton has remained an annual energy in each sports activities. The women basketball workforce is 84-15 the final three years. And it began with Boyer, our alternative because the fifth-greatest ladies basketball participant in Freeport-area historical past.
Stockton would go on to win 11 regionals in 12 years from 1991 to 2002.
“When you’re youthful and enjoying a sport, you look as much as whoever is forward of you and excelling,” mentioned Stephanie Heid, who succeeded Boyer as Stockton’s level guard and, like Boyer, went on to attain greater than 2,000 profession factors. “I seemed as much as see what Tracy did.
“After I consider Tracy Boyer, I consider a scorer. Her dedication to attain and her drive and the way in which she would will her option to rating is what I bear in mind.”
Boyer led Stockton in a pair of basic Class A supersectional showdowns with Stillman Valley within the outdated two-class system that led to the very same rating. Stockton gained the primary one 72-70 with Boyer scoring 28 factors and scoring the successful basket within the closing seconds on a steal. Stockton then misplaced the subsequent yr 72-70 regardless of Boyer pouring in 47 factors in what was picked as the best native ladies basketball sport in historical past. And he or she virtually had 50: Her desperation half-court heave in heavy site visitors on the buzzer bounced off the rim, one or two inches away from being the game-winner.
“There was loads happening at half courtroom,” Boyer mentioned within the biggest video games story in Might. “Numerous our bodies. However the shot needed to go up. There was not time for an additional dribble.”
Boyer had made 18 of her final 27 photographs in that sport.
“Every thing she put up went in,” Stillman Valley’s Karyn Myrvold mentioned. “She was unstoppable.”
Virtually 30 years later, Stillman gamers can’t overlook feeling their hearts of their throats watching that seemingly unattainable shot virtually finish their season.
“That,” Stillman star Angie Patzner mentioned, “is what I bear in mind most from that sport, watching that shot in sluggish movement.”
However sluggish movement is one thing that might by no means describe Boyer, who would later return and be an assistant coach on the faculty for a number of years.
“She had a knack for attending to the rim, driving into the timber, even for as little as she was,” mentioned Nicole Brinker, who coached Eastland to the Class 1A state title this yr and confronted Boyer for 4 years throughout her enjoying days at Eastland, the place she is the Cougars’ second all-time main scorer. “She was capable of end via contact. She obtained the old-school three level performs. However you needed to respect her on the Three-point line, too. You by no means knew when she was going to tug up.”
Not like the opposite gamers on this checklist, Boyer didn’t have a lot of a school profession, enjoying sparingly for 2 years on a pair of St. Ambrose groups that gained its NCAA Division III convention title each years. However her affect in highschool rivals that of any guard in Freeport-area historical past. Her 2,530 profession factors are second in NUIC historical past, solely 11 behind Aquin’s Sophie Brunner, who was a three-time first-team All-Pac-12 ahead at Arizona State.
“She is the one you don’t overlook,” mentioned Stillman Valley’s Shelly Johnson, who performed in opposition to Boyer in these back-to-back supersectional classics.
Korth mentioned a few of her favourite recollections of Boyer have been when Stockton’s star had shootouts in opposition to Pearl Metropolis star Cari Pacey, who barely missed our top-10 checklist.
“They have been each scoring within the 30s,” Korth mentioned. “They might come throughout half-court and simply shoot that night time. It was unbelievable. And he or she didn’t miss a free throw. Generally her sport was driving to get to the free-throw line. If she went to the road, it was automated.
“And Tracy wasn’t only a shooter. That complete workforce prided themselves on protection, clamping down on the opposite groups’ scorer and forcing turnovers. Most of our offense was from quick breaks and urgent. Tracy would shine within the half-court offense, however your entire workforce took on that defensive position and a supporting position on offense. You didn’t get the ball inside on them fairly often. They’d be down on the opposite finish capturing layups (after a steal).
“That was the start of the teams that adopted them and tried to emulate how these groups performed.”
Boyer obtained her basketball begin earlier than there was such a factor as a youth or middle-school ladies basketball program in Stockton.
“Tracy grew up enjoying with the boys, all the time with the boys,” Korth mentioned. “She performed in a Holy Cross boys league. Even in junior excessive, she performed with the boys. Bob Wyssman (Stockton’s coach in Boyer’s first three highschool seasons) one of many first issues he did when he got here to Stockton was set up a junior excessive ladies workforce.
“Her sophomore yr, after they went to state, the offense was set round her. And rightly so. She had an excellent supporting forged, however she did a lot of the scoring. She wouldn’t all the time make every part she shot, however she wasn’t going to give up capturing simply because she missed.
“And he or she’d apply earlier than faculty. She’d apply after apply. She’d get off the bus and go work with Coach Wyssman. By no means earlier than in my life had I skilled one thing like that. Or since.
“After a sport,” Korth added, “she would collapse typically. Every thing she had, she left on the courtroom. She had an unbelievable work ethic and love and keenness for the sport.”
Matt Trowbridge: [email protected]; @matttrowbridge