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Loyola (12) Maggie Nick is guarded by McAuley (22) Elizabeth Nye in second half action. Mother McAuley plays Loyola Academy in a girls varsity basketball game at Loyola Academy at 1100 Laramie, Wilmette, IL on Thursday 1-17-13.|Judy Fidkowski~Pioneer Pres
Maggie Nick was graceful, charming and endearing as she spoke to reporters after Loyola’s 60-57 loss to Mother McAuley.
She answered questions about the devastating defeat. She talked about her lacrosse career. She spoke amicably of her dad’s flank steak and her close friend’s missed free throws on Jan. 17.
The only item the junior guard didn’t know how to address was her outstanding 22-point effort. Her coach tried his best, though.
“It’s funny because we’ve told Maggie all year we know how good she is,” Loyola coach Jeremy Schoenecker said. “It’s just Maggie believing how good she is. I think a night like tonight really showed Maggie that she can play against any of the top teams in the state and be real, real effective.”
When told of Schoenecker’s comments, Nick didn’t have much to say. If her breakout performance against the Mighty Macs changed her in the least, Nick said she certainly didn’t feel any different. For the first time all night, Nick stumbled. There was a long pause as she fumbled for an answer.
“I just work hard and I play hard, and I don’t try to think about, ‘oh, you’re good, you’re not good.’ I just try to do my best in everything I do,” Nick said. “They’re always telling me to have confidence in myself, and I guess that’s the most important part, and when they’re telling me that and my teammates are helping me out, then it gives me confidence. I’m not going to let this one get to my head.”
Perhaps Nick didn’t realize how remarkable her performance was. She was predictably strong on the glass. She played nearly the entire contest. She sprinted back and disrupted several Mighty Macs fast breaks. To top it off, she scored nine points in a wild second-quarter run.
For Nick, however, all of this running is routine. As a midfielder on the Ramblers lacrosse team, which won the state championship last season, Nick is used to breaking a sweat.
“Lacrosse definitely helps with endurance and running far and running fast,” Nick said. “Usually, I get pretty tired after the first quarter, and then you just hit that hump and you can just play the whole game.”
If Nick wasn’t particularly impressed with her performance against Mother McAuley, everyone else in the gym was.
“It’s amazing,” Schoenecker said. “We barely ever take her out. She plays probably anywhere between 28 and 30 minutes and she’s going to guard the best player on the other team. So, it’s amazing what kind of shape she’s in and how hard she can work for those 28 to 30 minutes, because she’s not taking a break on the defensive end.”
One of her closest friends on the team, senior guard Anna Schueler, has known Nick for many years and is used to seeing Nick at her best.
“She just has a knack for playing basketball. She finds the ball, and she puts it in,” Schueler said.