Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL


June 17, 2014

Schafer to coach in IBCA all-star game

Effingham's Zerrusen to play under former coach

EFFINGHAM — He's not calling it his best coaching job, but this season was the one Effingham girls basketball head coach Jeff Schafer was recognized for.

Schafer was awarded the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association co-coach of the year award in District 14 for the job he did with the Hearts this season, finishing with a 27-4 record.

But Schafer said it may have been the coaching job he did three years ago, with a 20-11 regional champ, that he'd called his most notable.

“You get recognized a lot of times when the season goes great and it's easy,” Schafer said. “I think I probably did my best coaching job three years ago, or maybe our last .500 season (in 2009-2010) when we went 15-15 and won a regional. Those kinds of years go unnoticed.”

He said his biggest pressure this season was making sure his team was prepared, but he always knew he had good players who were capable of winning every game.

Even so, he said it's an honor to receive the award, especially in a community passionate about basketball.

“Our area is blessed with very good basketball programs that make it very difficult for a coach and his or her players to win constantly,” Schafer said.

The coach of the year was recognized by his peers, specifically Civic Memorial head coach Jonathan Denny, by being picked as a coach for the IBCA girls basketball all-star game on June 21.

Civic Memorial ended the Hearts' season in the sectional round of the playoffs with a 20-point win, but Schafer said both coaching staffs respect the other.

“It's a situation where both teams play the game the right way, the kids respect each other and the game and always give their best effort,” Schafer said.

Schafer will coach along side Denny and Civic Memorial assistant Julianne Green to lead the Class 3A and 4A South squad. The Class 3A and 4A North squad will be coached by Rolling Meadows' Ryan Kirkorsky, Conant's Dan Travers and Wheaton North's Dave Eaton.

The South squad is loaded with 12 players, including three from Edwardsville, but Schafer and Denny each get to coach one of their own one more time.

Civic Memorial's Megan Trost, who scored 14 points against Effingham, is on the team, as well as Effingham's Josie Zerrusen, the team's leading scorer and a Parkland College commit.

Schafer said he's especially proud of Zerrusen, who he called “a complete player with no weaknesses,” because he's seen her mature from playing as a sophomore to graduating as a senior.

“This will be one time where I just get to sit back and enjoy how good she has become,” Schafer said. “It's an honor for Josie to represent our school and our program with the state's best players.”

Illinois Wesleyan's Shirk Center will host the all-star game on June 21. A game for the Class 1A and 2A North and South all-star teams will also be played.

Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or alex.mcnamee@effinghamdailynews.com.


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