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MM_041218

The Mokena Messenger 041218

46 | April 12, 2018 |

46 | April 12, 2018 | The Mokena Messenger mokena mokenamessenger.com THINK SPRING! RIZZACARS.COM RIZZACARS.COM 8100 W. 159th Street | Orland Park 8130 W. 159th Street | Orland Park 8150 W. 159th Street | Orland Park 8425 W. 159th Street | Tinley Park

mokenamessenger.com sports the Mokena Messenger | April 12, 2018 | 47 fastbreak When the last shot is taken 22nd Century Media File Photo 1st-and-3 Lasting legacies 1. Sam Shafer (above) Lincoln-Way East’s standout boys basketball player will leave the school with records for most points (1,296), most field goals (418), most 3-pointers (137) and most free throws (323). 2. Carolyn Waleski The Griffins standout girls basketball player will end her career with several school records, made even more impressive because she started her high school basketball career at Lincoln- Way North. 3. Griffins basketball Both players were instrumental in setting team records for wins; the boys finished with a 23-6 mark, while the girls ended at 28-5. LWE basketball players reflect on record-setting seasons, careers RANDY WHALEN, Freelance Reporter Sam Shafer remembers looking at the basketball record board when he first came to Lincoln-Way East as a freshman. “I was in gym class and the record board hangs in place in the gym,” Shafer recollected of his first time seeing the list. “I thought some of those records were amazing and knew it took a lot of hard work to get them.” Little did Shafer know then that by the time he finished high school, he would be listed among those leaders in most major categories. While Shafer was setting records and leading the boys hoops team to new heights, Carolyn Waleski was doing the same as a senior guard on the girls basketball side at East. Both programs set school records for wins in a season and advanced the furthest they have in the postseason. Behind those accomplishments were a bunch of talented players. But Shafer and Waleski stick out as being special among the players. That wasn’t by accident. “It took a lot of hard work,” said Shafer, who is good friends with Waleski. “But I also looked at the board to see the team titles for boys basketball. It only listed on conference championship [in the SICA West in 2002-03]. So I wanted to put a year up there and win something in my career.” He did as the Griffins (23-6) won a regional championship for the first time in school history with a 61-48 victory over Romeoville on March 2 in the title game of the Class 4A Lincoln-Way Central Regional. After setting a new school record the previous season with 20 wins, East bettered that with the 23 this season before losing to eventual sectional champion West Aurora in the semifinals of the Romeoville Sectional. What made this group so special? “The chemistry,” Shafer said of his bond with his teammates, especially fellow senior guards Joey Buggemi and Zach Parduhn. “We all knew what each other were going to do on the court. Plus we all had fun together. We really enjoyed our trips to Teutopolis, and we all enjoyed coming to practice and being together.” Along the way Shafer set many records. He now holds the Griffin season school records for most points (549), most rebounds (189), and most free throws (175), which included making 13 in a game three times. He was All-SouthWest Suburban Conference for the second straight season. A three-year varsity player and starter that whole time, Shafer also owns many career marks from 2015-18. Those are most points (1,296), most field goals (418), most 3-pointers (137) and most free throws (323). Along the way he made several All-Area and All-State teams, including Illinois High School Association All-State Second Team, after being Special Mention as a junior. He played in the City-Suburban All-Star game in Chicago on Friday, April 6, and will play in the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association one in Pontiac in June. “Sam led the way for our first regional championship and a recordsetting 23-6 mark for this past season,” East boys basketball coach Rich Kolimas said. “He is a terrific Lincoln Way East’s Sam Shafer holds the Griffins’ career record marks for most points (1,296), most field goals (418), most 3-pointers (137) and most free throws (323). 22nd Century Media file photos The Griffins’ Carolyn Waleski holds the school season record for steals with 132, including a single-game record in steals with 11. shooter with great vision at 6-foot- 6 inches. “He can also rebound and pass the ball. He is going to have a fine career at [Southern Illinois University].” Shafer got involved in basketball thanks to his parents Jill and Ernie Shafer, and his older brother Max Shafer. Sam was heavily recruited, but he went with SIU because they showed interest in him. “SIU first contacted me my junior year,” he said. “They weren’t the first school, but they showed the most interest. That always stuck with me. They were straight up and made me feel very welcome. They made me a first priority and wanted me to go there really bad. I loved the campus, team and everything.” While Waleski doesn’t hold as many records as Shafer, she still certainly left her mark at East. As a freshman and sophomore she attended Lincoln-Way North, before moving onto East after North closed in 2016. “My junior year we had trouble getting together with the two different styles,” Waleski said of the two different programs from East and North meshing. “But our energy grew from that and we, as players, wanted to make coach [Jim] Martin’s last year a special one. Every day we had motivation to keep getting better.” As a three-year varsity player and starter, she finished with a career scoring mark of 1,074 points. Since the Phoenix records combined with East, Waleski is sixth on the alltime scoring list for the Griffins. She made several All-Area and All-State teams, including Illinois High School Association All-State Third Team. She was named All- SWSC Conference in the Blue Division for the second straight season. This past season she averaged 12.5 points per game (391 points), 3.5 assists per game (83), 5.1 rebounds per game (168), and 4 steals per game (132). In fact, the steals mark of 132 set a new school record for most in a season. Waleski also had 11 steals Please see BASKETBALL, 45 Listen Up TUNE IN Index “We’re a rowdy bunch who really wants to win. There’s a lot of energy on this team.” Jack Yurkanin– Lincoln-Way Central boys volleyball player. Baseball 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19 • Lincoln-Way Central hosts the crosstown rivals Lincoln-Way West. 43 – Athlete of the Week 43 – High School Highlights FASTBREAK is compiled by Editor T.J. Kremer III, tj@ mokenamessenger.com.