They didn’t play much basketball in their native Ireland, so how did third-grader Lucy and freshman Sophie end up together on the Porters’ team?
One word; focus.
Lockport coach “They are self-taught” Darien Jacobs aforementioned. “They learned the game and educated themselves. Their families don’t know anything about the game.”
Their father’s job brought the Hynes siblings to the Chicago area just before Lucy became a freshman. Back home, they were playing Gaelic football in Mullingar in Ireland’s Midlands, which Sophie described as “football with your hands”.
The sisters agreed that the best parts of America were the schools and the opportunities, including the chance to play different sports.
That means basketball, where Lockport plays in the tough SouthWest Suburban Blue. The Porters (12-18, 0-8) will face Stagg in Tuesday’s Class 4A Andrew Regional semifinals.
“I think I had just heard of the girls basketball team when I moved in,” said Lucy. “I was really interested in that. “I worked hard and managed to get into university.”
Sophie rarely played basketball at Mullingar – “in the backyard, once or twice” – but like her sister, she worked tirelessly in eighth grade to put herself in a position to make the leap.
Jacobs was amazed at what they were able to accomplish in such a short time, especially Lucy, who averaged 8.8 points and 5.0 rebounds.
“He came off the bench as a sophomore but contributed,” Jacobs said. “Most of the time you see a big jump in the offseason, but he also made a big jump in the preseason and throughout the season.”
This covered all skills such as ball handling, shooting, decision making and protecting the goal.
This is all good news for Jacobs as we look to the future. Veronica BafiaLockport’s only senior will graduate soon. This will make Lucy Hynes the team’s main defender next season.
“He can do it because it’s not just about his athleticism, it’s also about his mentality,” Jacobs said.
But it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. Sophie, for example, missed time earlier in the season with a broken nose and concussion.
“It has been difficult working our way back,” he said.
How much did she trust her sister?
“Beyond your knowledge,” Sophie said, smiling.
According to Bafia, the sisters played the game like seasoned veterans.
“I think the most important thing they bring is defense,” Bafia said. “They know how to get ahead. Their 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 took it in stride and chose to accept the challenge as a learning experience.
“I think the tough competition made us realize the areas we need to improve in practice,” said Lucy.
No matter what happens in the playoffs, the Hynes brothers will leave with plenty of memories from their first experience playing basketball together.
Sophie’s favorite moment this winter came at the season-opening Willowbrook Invitational, where she made her first varsity basket. This was before his injury.
Lucy, meanwhile, has more of a general perspective.
“I don’t know if there’s a moment that stands out,” he said. “The team has become a lot closer, especially in the last few weeks, so I think it’s really great to be able to make friends in the sport.”
Gregg Voss is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.