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Brooke Carlson, Aurora-Elgin’s top girls basketball player

It can happen suddenly when the high school girls basketball season ends.

The routine of the previous four months is over and will never be the same again for the elderly.

It’s not his record-breaking career or wins and losses that challenge Batavia. Brooke Carlson leave behind. It’s the behind-the-scenes moments that he misses anyway.

“It’s been really hard since it’s over because they’re my best friends and it’s hard not to be with them every day,” Carlson said. “I think it’s been a great season, especially for our team.

“We weren’t just teammates. We were actually very good friends.”

Batavia coach Kevin Jensen He said he gets a similar feeling after every season.

“My family even makes fun of me when things are over,” Jensen said. “I don’t know what to do with myself. Some of that is seeing people like Brooke every day. This could be something as frivolous as making sure our team is dressed for a road game or wearing team uniforms.

“He makes sure it gets done. If something needs to be done, he steps in and does it.”

Batavia’s Brooke Carlson (2) carries the ball up the field against Geneva in the Class 4A Batavia Regional championship game on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. (Mark Black / The Beacon-News)

Carlson, the 2023-24 Beacon-News/Courier-News Girls Basketball Player of the Year, has been ahead of the opposition all season long in the Bulldogs’ program-strengthening streak.

The Colorado State-bound senior guard led Batavia (29-6) to its first regional championship. He finished his four-year varsity career with 2,225 points, 357 assists and 374 steals, all program records.

But Carlson had more than just those elite numbers.

“Brooke made sure everyone was included,” Jensen said of Carlson, an all-state selection and two-time DuKane Conference player of the year. “He will show that attitude on the field, but he is humble.

“You can see in the clip when he surpassed 2,000 points. “We were making a big deal out of it and his teammates had to force him into midfield to get some applause.”

Fremd's Coco Urlacher (11) receives the ball from Batavia's Brooke Carlson (2) during the fourth quarter of the Class 4A Bartlett Supersectional on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, in Bartlett.  Batavia lost 65-46.  H. Rick Bamman / For Beacon News
Fremd’s Coco Urlacher (11) and Batavia’s Brooke Carlson (2) battle for the ball during the fourth quarter of the Class 4A Bartlett Supersectional on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. (H. Rick Bamman / The Beacon-News)

Carlson, who said he’s always been that way, credited his family for instilling that attitude.

“Growing up, whenever I went to someone’s house, I was always the most respectful person,” Carlson said. “That’s how I grew up and it’s continued and I think it’s a good thing it’s continued.

“I feel like there’s something on the field. You can be a great basketball player, but how you interact with people matters; “That makes a bigger impression than basketball.”

young striker Hallie Crane He will be one of the players looking to continue Carlson’s legacy for Batavia next season. He noted the impact Carlson had on the rest of the team.

“For how good he is, he’s also very good at sharing the wealth,” Crane said. “Next year, I want to give everyone equal opportunities like he has shown me over the last few years.”

Another thing that rubbed off on his teammates was his work ethic. When the star is also the hardest worker on the team, everyone else has to try to keep up with him, which increases the level of performance.

“I’m really proud of it because it pays off in games,” Carlson said. “This pushes everyone to be better. “It’s amazing how all that hard work pays off, especially the hours that no one else sees.”

Batavia's Brooke Carlson drives to the basket past Wheaton Warrenville South's Ashlyn Adams.  Batavia defeated Wheaton Warrenville South 55-36 in a Class 4A Bartlett District girls basketball game on Friday, February 16, 2024, in Bartlett, Illinois.  (Photo for Jon Langham/Beacon-News)
Batavia’s Brooke Carlson drives Wheaton Warrenville South’s Ashlyn Adams to the basket during the Class 4A Bartlett Regional championship game on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. (Jon Langham/The Beacon-News)

Carlson, who also played football at Batavia, is already practicing daily to prepare for his next chapter at Colorado State, where he hopes to contribute from day one.

The lifelong friendships and support of the community will still be there, albeit from a distance.

As he’s learned over the past two weeks, things change quickly.

“I feel like people always say time goes by fast, and then everything happens and it’s over,” Carlson said. “It will be very different, but it will be really fun.”

Paul Johnson is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News.

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