Vachon veering toward hoops in college
Hinsdale Central's Lily Sarros (44) grabs a rebound out of the hands of Oak Park-River Forest's Emily Vachon (25) on Dec. 16, 2011, in Oak Park. The Red Devils won 72-59 behind leading scorer Gabrielle Rush with 29 points and Sarros with 23. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 21, 2013 3:02PM
OAK PARK — It’s final exams week, which doesn’t give Emily Vachon much time to rest between basketball practice and tests in her four advanced placement classes.
Vachon’s favorite is biology, something she is considering studying in college.
Oak Park-River Forest’s 6-foot senior center didn’t play basketball until she was a freshman, but recently Vachon has thought about continuing to play after high school depending on the college.
“I take a lot of hard classes,” Vachon said. “It’s hard to balance with basketball, but I’ll see how I’m doing.”
Her coach, J.P. Coughlin, said Vachon plans to study at a competitive academic institution, deservedly so for the hard-working student with a 3.8 grade-point average and 34 ACT.
“She is a smart kid,” Coughlin said. “She is a straight-A student. I know she wants to play next year. She’s looking at some elite academics at the Division III level.”
Coughlin gave his team the day off Monday to prepare for finals. The Huskies (4-8, 1-4 West Suburban Silver) do not play this weekend. They have lost four consecutive games after suffering a 79-60 defeat at Fenwick (9-1) Saturday night.
Vachon scored 12 of her season-high 14 points in the first half as OPRF took a 37-32 halftime lead.
Her role has increased recently since injuries have sideline two starters — Cuyla Hall (sprained ankle) and Hailey Hoye (back). With a long break, both are expected to return for OPRF’s opener at the Montini tournament at 9:45 a.m. Dec. 26 against undefeated Plainfield East.
Vachon, who celebrated her 18th birthday Dec. 11, comes from a club soccer background. She still plays for the Huskies in the spring and the Chicago Edge club team during the offseason.
But, in a change of heart, Vachon now claims basketball has become her favorite sport.
“I’ve switched to basketball,” Vachon said. “I think it’s (because of) the nature of the game. It’s so much quicker than soccer. There’s a lot of running, but (soccer) is a longer game and things do not happen quickly. In basketball, you go back and forth. You make a mistake, but in the next possession you can make up for it.”
Coughlin has noticed a difference in Vachon’s play. With Hall out, Vachon is the only option in the post for the Huskies. The other starters are guards Caroline Kelty and Maeve Connelly.
“(Vachon) had a pretty great game Friday night against Proviso West and carried it over,” Coughlin said. “She played pretty well last night, especially in the first half (at Fenwick). She’s such a great kid. It’s good to see all the hard work and it’s nice to see the results.”