MINOOKA – Athletes can’t play multiple sports.
When high school comes, it’s time to choose. If they play more than one, they certainly can’t excel in all of them.
Don’t tell Brooklyn Bachmann that.
The Minooka senior holds school records and has received countless accolades in track, volleyball and basketball. In the past four years, Bachmann has been viewed as an athlete who can do well at any sport she plays.
Now she can be viewed as something else, The Herald-News All-Area Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
Bachmann always has considered herself an underdog, and because there always were talented athletes around her, she considered herself to be a role player. In her senior year, however, she became the headliner. Despite the focus being on her, she averaged more than 20 points and was a virtually unstoppable force.
“This year, if we wanted to win, we needed someone to step up into that leadership role,” Bachmann said. “Being double- and triple-teamed and still being able to play under all of that pressure, I think I proved something to everyone.
“I know a lot of colleges were talking to me. A lot of the larger ones wouldn’t give me full offers because they weren’t certain since I played three sports.
“Having people doubt my abilities just because I don’t play basketball full time, because I don’t go to a big-time school that has won state, and knowing that I am an underrated player going into college, I want to prove everyone wrong. I want to show people that growing up, you don’t have to do what the majority wants you to do. You can play multiple sports and still be at the top.”
THE HARD WORK
It takes a lot to be the leading scorer in school history and to hold the season scoring record.
It takes more to hold the school pole vault record in indoor (9-6) and outdoor (10-6) track and field and hold the school and season assist record in volleyball.
Bachmann’s sisters – AnnMarie, Bethany and Cierra – all play basketball, and being exposed to the sport at a young age made her passionate. In fourth grade, she saw AnnMarie make it to state and realized that she wanted to be there one day as well.
People might believe Bachmann was able to make it to state for volleyball, track and individually for basketball (3-point shooting) because of her natural athletic ability. It’s more than that, however.
“I know that I was born with a natural talent, but it wasn’t just that I woke up and was athletic,” Bachmann said. “When I was younger, it would be snowing outside and I’d be in my garage ball handling. I’d run miles outside by myself. No one ever saw what I was doing. Everyone just thought that I was naturally an athlete. There is a lot of work behind the scenes.”
So what is behind the scenes?
She gets up every morning to do an ab workout and if there is time, she’ll fit in a workout. At school, she elected the strength-and-conditioning gym class that the football players attend. After school and practice, she does ladders in her garage then goes through ballhandling circuits.
Over the weekend, she will start by running a mile and then practices her shooting. In the summer, she’ll show up to practice two hours early and dribble for 30 minutes and shoot until practice starts.
On top of that all, Bachmann has had a fixed healthy diet since she entered her freshman year and essentially eats no junk food.
It has been the same routine throughout the past four years, and that has ended in similar results throughout her high school career.
“Brooklyn has always been a leader since she entered the building because her work ethic has always been at the top,” Minooka coach Ray Liberatore said. “Her love and enthusiasm for basketball has been the same all four years. She just loves playing basketball and because of that she kept improving every year. She’s been a model of consistency. You can depend on her.”
THE TOUGH DECISION
Bachmann started her first varsity game freshman year and scored more than 20 points. In her senior year, with around 15 games left, she had scored 20 or more points in all but one game.
She attributes much of her success to her teammates. They gave her great passes, set good screens and scored when the other teams focused on her. When they succeeded, she could shoot more.
Another part of her success comes from her mentality. She always leaves everything on the floor and plays fearlessly in each sport. She hustles for the ball and throws her body onto the ground without fearing injury.
“Every time you get the opportunity to touch the ball, you have to act like it’s your last time,” Bachmann said. “You don’t know when you’re going to have an injury or when you’re not going to be able to play anymore. I don’t want to have any regrets when I’m done playing in college. I want to give it my all every time.”
Bachmann balanced multiple sports throughout her athletic career, but has decided to focus on only one sport in college. She wants to see how far she can excel in one area.
Now came the hardest part of her career. Which sport should she pick?
With multiple volleyball and basketball offers, she still didn’t know which to choose toward the end of basketball season. One moment changed that.
“Every time I touch a ball or I’m in a game, I don’t want it to end,” Bachmann said. “When we lost in regionals and I wasn’t committed, it was heart-breaking. I wanted to continue to play.”
Bachmann will continue her basketball career at Bemidji State University in Minnesota. Now, she will aim to be the special player that people pay attention to at the next level.
“Every night that I send scores, it would be 20 points, 22 points, 25 points [for Bachmann],” Liberatore said. “To do that at any level of basketball, especially varsity, you have to be a special player. That’s what most people appreciate when they watch her play. It’s her ability to be able to do that and score from a lot of different ways. She can hit a three. She scores from the free throw line. Her drives to the basket are really special.
“If you watch her play night-in and night-out like I’ve been able to do for the past four years, you appreciate how consistent she is. That’s what she was this year for us.”
Bachmann led Minooka to its best record in basketball, a second-place state finish in volleyball and has one more season to make an impact in track and field. Looking back at the past four years, setting records and earning accolades in multiple sports will be something special for her to remember.
Right now, it feels great.
“It feels really good,” Bachmann said. “I think it’s kind of refreshing and inspirational to other people. They know that they can do multiple sports and excel in everything and still be recruited in college. A lot of people think that if you don’t give one sport 100 percent starting in like fifth grade, then you can’t make it big. You still can and you should enjoy it.”