Maine West making sure Kipp's memory lives on

It's been almost seven years since the passing of Maine West hall of fame girls basketball coach Derril Kipp.

But his legacy to Illinois girls basketball is never forgotten and remembered more than ever when Jim O'Boye directs his Coach Kipp's Hoopsfest showcase event every Martin Luther King holiday weekend.

This year's 33rd annual event began at 9:30 a.m. Saturday when Maine West took the court against a formidable Mother McAuley team (15-6), which survived a strong rally by the Warriors in the second quarter before prevailing 52-33 at Montini High School in Lombard.

"Before coming here today we talked to the girls about how hard we have to play to represent him (Kipp)," said Warriors second-year coach Deanna Kuzmanic, a former Wheeling High and Alabama-Birmingham standout who played seven years for Kipp's Illinois Hustle AAU program. "We tell them every time we step on the court our hustle is a reflection on him and how he would want us to play the game."

That hustle was at its best in the second quarter when the Warriors came from a 21-7 deficit to close to within 27-23 on a basket by senior Jaclyn Riedl with 7:29 left in the third quarter.

"He (Kipp) was a great person and coach," said West Player of the Game Riedl (12 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists), whose sister Jessica also played for Kipp. "HIs love for the game of basketball was just crazy. We still feel his legacy through our effort and defensive play. That still comes from him."

Kipp (778-305), who ranks sixth all time for most wins in IHSA girls basketball, directed the 1985-86 Warriors to a 35-0 Class AA state title.

"He's got quite a legacy," said senior guard and Wisconsin-Oshkosh soccer pledge Shannon Walsh, who scored 12 points with two 3-pointers, 2 assists and 2 steals. "My sophomore year we wore jerseys with his DK initials on them."

"Our girls take a lot of pride in this tournament," added Kuzmanic, whose sisters Stephanie and Kellie also played for Kipp's Hustle. "We do program shirts and we have the initials DK on them. We talk to our players in the program every year about who Derril Kipp is. Not only what he means to our school and community but what he means to girls basketball in Illinois."

After the Warriors (7-12) got to within 27-23, Mother McAukey was able to pull away with a 16-1 run.

Senior Fazia Rogaria and junior Amelie Mach (4 rebounds, 2 steals) each added 4 points for West while junior Yanet Conde grabbed 3 rebounds with 3 assists and 2 steals. Senior Aya Deiri and junior Kimberly Figueroa each had 2 rebounds.

O'Boye paired up Maine West and McAuley in Saturday's since they were two teams who were in the first 'Hoopsfest' in 1991 at Northwestern University. O'Boye credits Kipp with playing a big part in helping to bring in some top programs to the event.

"He's the best," O'Boye said before Saturday's game. "I'm sorry I had to name this for him."

"I miss him every day," said Mary Dankowski, the longtime stats keeper for Maine West girls basketball games and a Friends of Basketball IHSA hall of farmer. "I think about him every day and I think about his presence here. It is wonderful having this tournament named for him. Jim has done an absolutely wonderful job."

"This is a wonderful tribute," said Jerry Stonequist, Kipp's longtime assistant coach. "He was the best and I really like the "Hoopsfest' banner with the Maine West colors. It's really a great tournament and it's a great honor for Derril. That's the main thing and we will always come here."

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