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Kiera Currie, a basketball player from Romeoville High School, poses at the school in Romeoville, IL on Wednesday March 13, 2013. She is the Herald-News Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media
With a disappointing loss to Bolingbrook in the sectional semifinals, Kiera Currie’s high school basketball career came to an end.
That feeling of disappointment lingered, but the Romeoville standout tried to keep it in perspective.
Since transferring to Romeoville from Bolingbrook after her freshman year, Currie helped the Spartans improve each season, saving the best for last.
“Knowing the past struggles here and what people thought about (Romeoville), we put our time in the gym to accomplish our goals,” Currie said. “In the end, we got a lot of things that we wanted to.”
One of the state’s most skilled post players, Currie is the 2012-13 Herald-News Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
“It means a lot to me,” Currie said. “There are a lot of really good players out there. It’s a privilege that other people see me as a great player. That’s what I’m trying to be.”
A 5-foot-11 forward, Currie averaged 16.2 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.4 assists per game this season. She shot 75 percent from the free-throw line (125-of-166) and hit 15 three-pointers.
“Kiera gave us that inside presence,” Romeoville coach Julio Carrasco said. “Kiera was our main girl inside, scoring, grabbing those rebounds, dumping the ball into her. We’d never had that. With her being so powerful inside it benefited us tremendously.”
With Currie leading a senior-heavy squad, Romeoville finished 27-5, tying the program record for most wins in a season set by the 1986-87 team. The Spartans finished a perfect 14-0 in the Southwest Prairie, winning the conference outright after tying Oswego East in the 2011-12 season.
In a win over rival Plainfield East that clinched the conference crown, Currie finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds.
“We’ve played together for so long,” Currie said. “I’ve known (teammates) Abby (Smith) and Brianna (Harris) since elementary school. Growing up with the girls, you see how much they improved and put our mark on the school. The season is a big success, but it’s sad, too (that it’s over).”
The Spartans hit a groove in the second half of the season, but it came after a heartbreaking loss to Plainfield East at the Montini Christmas Tournament. Romeoville was up a point in the closing seconds when Currie was whistled for traveling, which some deemed a questionable call. Currie and Co. then watched East score at the buzzer for the win.
Currie was upset, but she knew the loss was more than that as Romeoville had squandered a 14-point second-half lead.
“We didn’t agree with that call, but we also looked at it as something that should have never gotten to that point,” Currie said. “It shouldn’t have come down to one play. We realized that all the little things do count.”
Three weeks later, she scored 30 points, including two huge fourth-quarter three-pointers, at Plainfield East in a 62-58 win. That road win put the Spartans in the driver’s seat in the conference.
Earning the No. 4 seed in the Class 4A Oswego Sectional, Romeoville won the Lemont Regional with a win over Plainfield East, its third straight since the holiday loss. In the closing seconds, Currie picked off an East pass that sealed the win. The regional title was the first for the program since 1989.
“Our turning point was the first time we beat East,” Currie said. “The game was wild, especially with our rivalry, and the fact we pushed all that aside, it was huge.”
Currie will continue her basketball career at Gardner-Webb in Boiling Springs, N.C.
“When I talked to Gardner-Webb coach (Rick Reeves), I told him ‘You’re getting a complete player,’ ” Carrasco said. “She’s an inside presence here, but she understands the outside game, too. She extended her game and did a tremendous job for us.”
Currie’s ready to take that next step.
“I think I know where I’ll step in with the program,” Currie said. “I want to keep working at getting better and making the team better, too.”