Why Hart was selected:
Hart’s putback with four seconds left lifted the Geneva girls basketball team to the Class 4A state championship, a 41-40 win over Edwardsville on March 4.
Geneva junior Stephanie Hart made the biggest shot of her life on the biggest stage. With her team trailing by one point in the Class 4A state championship game, Hart grabbed an offensive rebound in the final seconds and drained her putback attempt to clinch Geneva’s first state title with a 41-40 win. Hart finished with 11 points in the state title game, but none bigger than the two that delivered the title. Hart, the St. Charles Bank & Trust Athlete of the Week, spoke with Kane County Chronicle correspondent Chris Casey about the win:
Casey: You’ve had a couple days to let this set in. Can you believe you guys are state champions?
Hart: I still don’t believe it. We had the ceremony [March 6] where we got announced at Geneva as state champions, but at the same time, I’m sitting in my room and still don’t believe it. It’s crazy.
Casey: Talk me through the last shot from your point of view.
Hart: I just saw Margaret [Whitley] driving, and once it didn’t go in I just jumped up to get the rebound. It fell into my hands and I knew the defense was coming and didn’t know how much time was on the clock, but just tossed it up. I was so scared, my heart was pounding, but it was so exciting to see it go in.
Casey: What were the emotions when that final buzzer sounded?
Hart: I knew we left them a little time after my shot, but once Grace [Loberg] intercepted their pass, I heard the buzzer go off. The only way I can think to describe the emotions is pure joy. I ran to my teammates and we were all instantly crying. It’s been my dream to be in this spot since fifth grade and it finally came true.