Basketball

High school girls basketball: McHenry's Katie Beyer commits to Valparaiso

McHenry forward Katie Beyer (32) secures a rebound in the first quarter of the championship game of the 31st Annual Northern Illinois Girls Holiday Basketball Classic at McHenry High School West Campus on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, in McHenry, Ill. McHenry won, 67-29.
McHenry forward Katie Beyer (32) secures a rebound in the first quarter of the championship game of the 31st Annual Northern Illinois Girls Holiday Basketball Classic at McHenry High School West Campus on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, in McHenry, Ill. McHenry won, 67-29.

Katie Beyer can't visit Valparaiso right now, but the McHenry junior will soon get that chance.

Beyer committed to the NCAA Division-I Crusaders and women's basketball coach Mary Evans on Wednesday and announced her decision via Twitter. She did not have any other offers, but was talking to other schools and gauging interest via social media, FaceTime and Zoom calls.

With schools closed because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Beyer's contacts have all been virtual.

Beyer went to a summer camp at the Missouri Valley Conference school in August with her AAU team, Illinois Elite, and has been in contact with many of the coaches since. She hopped on a Zoom call with the entire coaching staff Wednesday and received an offer, her first, from Evans on the spot.

Beyer's parents, Joe and Erin, were also on the call.

"I was really excited," Beyer said. "I’ve been talking to them for awhile. As of right now, because we can't do anything in person, we’ve been having phone calls and FaceTiming. A few weeks ago I FaceTimed one of their assistant coaches, coach Gabby (Johnson), and I talked to her.

"I really liked the program, and all the coaches impressed me."

Beyer didn't get a chance to tour the campus all that much in the summer, but she did see a lot of the athletic facilities. She's had some virtual tours of the campus since then, but can't wait to go back for a closer look.

"I thought it was a great fit for me and my family," Beyer said. "They have a really good nursing program, and that's what I want to do when I'm older."

Beyer earned Northwest Herald All-Area first team honors this past winter after leading all Fox Valley Conference players in scoring (17.4 ppg) and rebounding (10.8 rpg). She made 51.6% of her shots and helped lead the Warriors to their third straight season with 20 wins.

Beyer is the second Warriors player to commit to the northwestern Indiana school. Senior guard Ava Interrante committed to Valparaiso her junior season, too, and will play there next year.

"I did talk to her and it will be really cool to be teammates again," Beyer said. "For next year I can text her anytime and see how they’re doing and just kind of get to know more about what it's like playing there."

Valparaiso was 17-12 and 9-9 in the MVC before the season was cut short.

In her second year as coach, Evans led the program to its first winning season since 2008-09.

"I really liked how all of the coaches have the same mentality. They all want to work hard and get better every day," Beyer said. "I really liked that, because that’s what I want to do. I just want to get better every day. They all want what’s best for their players and they also want to push us."

Beyer played multiple sports growing up, but followed basketball most closely.

"I’ve been playing basketball since middle school, and I’ve always followed high school and saw all of these girls getting scholarships and committing," Beyer said. "I started to focus more and more on basketball because I really loved it.

"Around the sixth, seventh and eighth grade is when I got my mind set, this is what I want to do."

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