Sophomore guard Heaven Knox is more than just a name for North Chicago.
It’s her first name, however, that comes up frequently in conversations with opposing teams.
“They usually don’t believe that’s my name,” Knox said. “But that’s my name, I tell them.”
And Heaven it is. Even though the Warhawks have struggled over the last two seasons, Knox has been making a name for herself.
Knox and sophomore point guard Kieren Maggett — the younger sister of Ladellia Maggett, the former star guard for Zion-Benton — are playing key roles in trying to restore North Chicago’s program.
The Warhawks (3-13) won only one game last season.
“Heaven and Kieren are playing really well,” North Chicago coach Bryant Jenkins said. “We’re totally opposite from last year when I first started. I still have the same group of girls. They have been working hard, and every game they are getting better.
“It’s a sight to see what they came from last year to now. Last year we weren’t competing at all, just were getting blown out of the water.”
The development of Knox and Maggett has helped to bring some stability to the starting lineup.
Knox and Maggett experienced growing pains last season on the varsity. They’ve played together since sixth grade, and their considerable chemistry on the court is obvious.
“We had a lot of tough losses last year, but we’re getting better and me,” Knox said. ” Kieren and I have been working well together this year.
“It was tough last year, but it’s going a lot better this year,” Maggett said. “Me and Heaven have talked a lot about winning at North Chicago in the next two seasons.”
Consistency is the key for both players, according to Jenkins. Knox had 15 points, 11 rebounds, seven steals and four assists in a close loss to Waukegan. She finished with 13 points, nine rebounds and six steals against Grant.
The 4-foot-11 Maggett said she been working on driving to the basket more this season. She had 14 points, six steals and five assists against Waukegan, and added 17 points, eight assists and three steals in a defeat to Lake Forest Academy.
“When Heaven first came to the varsity, she couldn’t do anything, but now she’s the team captain,” Jenkins said. “She’s a hard worker, and has really come a long way. The transformation is amazing.
“Kieren worked on her dribbling and shooting over the summer, and is going to be a good player. Heaven and Kieren motivate the girls who don’t have as much experience. They’ve put a lot of hard work and dedication into getting better.”
Knox and Maggett are a still work in progress, just like the program. North Chicago shot 8-for-26 from the free-throw line in Wednesday’s 49-33 loss at home to Round Lake.
But Knox said she’s encouraged by the results this season.
“We’re all working hard in practice and trying to get better,” she said. “We have to work together and more as a team to get more wins. We’re trying to fix what we’re doing wrong to make us better for next year.”
Bob Narang is a freelance reporter for the News-Sun.