Coming into her senior season, Shavonne Brewer was expected to be the best player in the Quad-Cities. Rock Island was expected to be the best team. Normally, those are difficult expectations to live up to, but Brewer led her Rocks to a perfect 10-0 Western Big 6 Conference season, defended the league title, and were ranked in the top 10 in the state of Illinois all season.
Along the way, she picked up her 1,000th point as a Rock, helped knock off Iowa's top team, Davenport Assumption, and helped the Rocks tied the school record for wins in a season.
She's turned heads too. Although it took some time, she's now receiving multiple offers from NCAA Division I and II programs and NAIA schools.
Brewer also earned Metro Girls' Basketball Player of the Year for The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus.
Was it tough to buy into a new style after having so much success of multiple substitutions? "Over the summer, when (Rock Island) coach (Thad) Hoover introduced us to the system, I had to get used to it. I didn't like it at first because it was hard for me to get into a rhythm. But, he kept giving me ways to get open. When the season came, it made it easier to get shots and get in a rhythm. Obviously, when we were winning a lot of games, I liked it even more."
Highlight of the year? "As a team, the highlight was beating Galesburg at Galesburg. Rocky hadn't won there in over 20 years. It was a big high for us. Also beating Assumption was huge for us. We knew they were No. 1 in Iowa, and we wanted to prove ourselves. Those were our two big highlights as a team.
"From a personal standpoint, getting my 1,000th point at Moline was really special. They stopped the game and I had all of my family and friends there. Even the people from Moline that I'm friends with, to have them there congratulating me meant a lot. During the game, the Moline players patted me on the back; that meant a lot."
How about the Western Big 6 season? "I couldn't have asked for more, obviously. I remember coming to Rocky my 8th grade year, I knew that Rocky girls basketball wasn't up there like Moline and Galesburg was, so I remember thinking we had a lot of work to do: Me, Cairece (Allen), Jacqueline (Twing) and Harmonee (Trice). When we got a conference championship last year, we knew we were getting there. This year was another big step and something we're really proud of."
In 8th grade, could you have expected to have this kind of success? "I remember looking at (former Moline center) Marquisha (Harris) and thinking, 'I want our team to look like Marquisha's team and dominate.' I went home and wrote down my goals for high school. The next year, coach Hoover had us write down our goals and both times I wrote down, 'win conference.' I wanted to be a leader and kept it in everyone's head, win conference."
What was it like after losing to United Township at regionals? "It was quiet. No one talked at all. We just kind of sat there stunned. I didn't really see anyone's face because my head was down, but I can just imagine what they were looking like. It was tough. It was my last time playing with those girls. Hoover came in and said he knew it hurt, but he was trying to keep it positive, reminding us to remember the good times."
What kind of legacy do you hope to leave? "Hopefully I'll come back, watch the girls play and see them go 10-0 in the conference again. Hopefully they can have a better record than us, and break the school record. We started something, now the class underneath us will continue it and move on. Hopefully we opened the door for them to see the possibilities."
Excited about playing at the next level? "I feel like I left my mark here at Rock Island High School and that gets me excited for college to hopefully leave my mark there too. I've been playing for Rocky since I don't know how long, but I'll always remember where I'm from. I want to come back and for people to be proud of me for what I can do at the next level."
Today is Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.
1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses. 1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000. 1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city. 1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association. 1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College. 1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.