VILLA PARK – As a standout track athlete, Molly Krawczykowski used her speed to her advantage at every opportunity on the basketball court.
The Willowbrook senior guard was the mainstay star for the Warriors this season. After leading the team in scoring and filling whatever the role the team needed, Krawczykowski is the MVP of the girls basketball all-area team. She helped the team win its first West Suburban Gold title since 1996.
“Conference was one of our biggest goals, so it was a really big deal when we went undefeated,” Krawczykowski said.
Plenty of standout track athletes play other sports and use their athleticism to their advantage, and Krawczykowski was no exception. She grew three inches from her junior to senior year and used her length to her benefit.
“Her first step is really quick and really long,” Willowbrook coach Terry Harrell said. “I really think she had as good of a first step or better than any other female player in the past couple years in this area.”
She used her speed and good instincts on the court to often rack up quick points on transition layups. Krawczykowski was also able to create her own fast break opportunities as a quality defender.
This year Krawczykowski moved from point guard to shooting guard because the makeup of the roster changed. She became the team’s leading scorer, but even after she hyperextended her knee in the Warriors’ first playoff game she did other things to make up for her inability to drive to the basket like normal in the regional final.
“She still gave us 12 points, but then she also gave us 10 rebounds,” Harrell said. “She stepped up as a rebounder. She gave us different things. There’s always something she could give you that would help make the team successful.”
In a year where the Warriors had as many as four contributing players out with injury at the same time, Krawczykowski was a staple. She never missed a game.
“She was somebody as a coach that you wanted there,” Harrell said. “She started her sophomore year. She was very key at that point, but mostly as a defender. She developed as a scorer her junior year.”
Harrell thought Krawczykowski would wind up as a college basketball player. Instead, Krawczykowski will be heading to Illinois State to compete for the track team. Her specialty is the 800-meter run, an event in which she is already a two-time state qualifier.
When picking schools, Krawczykowski didn’t prioritize athletics for her decision. She had a lot of interest from Division III basketball programs and some Division II schools had reached out about her, but ultimately she picked Illinois State track because of academics.
“I really like ISU as a school and they have a great special education program, which is what I want to do,” she said.
Scoring average: 14.4 points