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St. Charles East's Hilton digs basketball-soccer synergy

Published: Friday, June 14, 2013 5:34 a.m. CDT
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(Sandy Bressner - sbressner@shawmedia.com)
St. Charles East's Amanda Hilton is the Kane County Chronicle Female Athlete of the Year.

Amanda Hilton swears she takes it easy sometimes.

You know, like when she sleeps.

The St. Charles East junior extends herself as a point guard during basketball season and as center-midfielder during soccer season. Her ability to excel in both high-profile roles for emerging Saints teams earned Hilton plenty of eyeballs, along with a nod as the 2012-13 Kane County Chronicle-St. Charles Bank &Trust Female Athlete of the Year.

"I do have a lot of energy in both basketball and soccer. My positions both feed into each other," Hilton said. "I kind of like that role that you do have to constantly be moving and finding girls with the ball, getting up and back quick. It's cool that it feeds into each other."

East girls basketball coach Lori Drumtra often marveled at Hilton's motor during the team's breakout winter. She especially appreciated Hilton's dedication to the team given her college commitment to the Nebraska women's soccer program before the season.

Hilton averaged a team-best 14.4 points and 3.11 assists per game while providing the exact kind of spunky play needed to challenge perennial Upstate Eight Conference River Division power Geneva.

The teams split overtime games during the regular season, with Hilton scoring a career-high 33 points in an overtime road loss in January.

"When you watch her play basketball, it's constant movement," Drumtra said. "She'll get knocked around, but it doesn't seem to faze her. It's almost like a pinball. She just kind of bounces off of people and keeps moving up the floor."

So it went during the spring soccer season, when Hilton (nine goals) again piloted spirited efforts against Geneva.

East senior Carly Pottle was a valued running mate in both sports, playing guard during basketball season and forward in soccer.

While the Saints handled the Vikings during the soccer regular season, East saw Geneva turn the tables in the 4A Bartlett Regional final, scoring a victory in penalty kicks.

That defeat figures to fuel Hilton during her summer and fall club play with the Strikers. On a larger scale, she'll also use those practices and games to hone her preparation for college, and still is seeking to improve her distribution and ball skills with her left foot.

"I think that's the same for a lot of players, but then again, it just makes you that much more dangerous having both," Hilton said. "So I just need to continue to focus on that, and I have been for awhile."

Hilton looks forward to helping the Saints over the regional hump in both sports next season. Still, she can't help pondering her collegiate experience and likely future focus – special and/or elementary education.

Also involved with the National Honor Society, peer leadership and peer leaders, Hilton still gets a kick out of each interaction with young fans. She recalls being one herself and admiring the play of Lexi Baltes, a fellow basketball-soccer standout who is four years Hilton's senior.

"It's actually really cool because I remember when I was young and I was in middle school looking up to girls on the high school teams and thinking how cool that is," Hilton said. "Now it's an awesome feeling knowing I'm here and I'm a role model for these kids. One of my favorite parts of playing high school sports is just being there and being there to look up to."

No matter the season, Hilton certainly is visible.

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