They didn’t play much basketball in their native Ireland, so how did Lucy, a junior, and Sophie, a freshman, end up on the Porters’ varsity team?
One word: concentration.
‘They’re self-made,’ Lockport coach Darien Jacobs saying. “They learned the game and trained themselves. “Their parents don’t know anything about the game.”
Her father’s job brought the Hynes sisters to the Chicago area just before Lucy became a freshman. At home in Mullingar in the Irish Midlands they played Gaelic football, which Sophie described as “football with your hands”.
The sisters agreed that the best things about the United States are the schools and opportunities, including the ability to play different sports.
That means basketball, where Lockport plays tough SouthWest Suburban Blue. The Porters (12-18, 0-8) will face Stagg in Tuesday’s Andrew Class 4A regional semifinals.
“When I moved, I think I heard about the girls basketball team,” Lucy said. “I really had an interest in it. I worked hard and was able to make the varsity team.”
Sophie rarely played basketball at Mullingar – “in the backyard, once or twice” – but, like her sister, she worked tirelessly in eighth grade to be in a position to take that step.
Jacobs has marveled at what they have been able to accomplish in a short period of time, particularly Lucy, who is averaging 8.8 points and 5.0 rebounds.
“She came off the bench her sophomore year, but she contributed,” Jacobs said. “A lot of times you see the big jump in the offseason, but she made a big jump before the season and then during the season as well.”
That covered the entire complement of skills, from ball handling, shooting, decision making and post defense.
This is all good news for Jacobs considering moving on. Veronica Bafia, Lockport’s only senior, will soon graduate. That will make Lucy Hynes the team’s top defender next season.
“She can do it because it’s not just about her athletic ability but also her mindset,” Jacobs said.
However, it hasn’t all been rainbows and unicorns. For example, Sophie missed time earlier in the season due to a broken nose and concussion.
“It’s been hard to recover,” he said.
How much have you trusted your older sister?
“More than she knows,” Sophie said with a smile.
According to Bafia, the sisters have played the game like seasoned veterans.
“I think the main thing they’ve brought to the table is defense,” Bafia said. “They know how to get in front. His IQ is very good on the court. “They read where the pass is going and attack the basket.”
Playing college basketball in the Southland isn’t easy, but the sisters have taken it in stride and decided to accept the challenge as a learning experience.
“I think the tougher competition has made us understand the areas we need to improve in practice,” Lucy said.
No matter what happens in the playoffs, the Hynes sisters will take away plenty of memories from their first experience playing basketball together.
For Sophie, her favorite moment this winter came during the season-opening Willowbrook Tournament, where she ended up scoring her first collegiate basket. That was before her injury.
Lucy, meanwhile, takes a more general view.
“I don’t know if it was a moment that stood out,” he said. “It’s just that the team has gotten a lot closer, especially in the last few weeks, so I think it’s really cool to be able to make friends in the sport.”
Gregg Voss is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.