BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — “She’ll go down as, if not, one of the greatest basketball players in Belvidere North’s history,” Belvidere North Head Coach Aaron Leonard said about senior basketball star Madison Diercks.
Those are some pretty big words to live up to, and yet, Diercks stays as cool, calm and collected on the court as one could only hope to.
She averages 18 points per game, along with 6.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and four steals. Oh yeah, she’s also the school’s all-time leading scorer, rebounder and leader in steals. Not to mention, she was all-conference her sophomore and junior year.
“She plays hard every single possession but there are just plays that she makes out on the court where I’ll turn to our coaches and just simply say, ‘Wow. Like, how did she just pull that off?'” Leonard said.
Still, Diercks stays humble. She credits all her success to the people around her.
“[It’s] definitely my teammates helping get the ball to me or just being there to support me if it’s getting hard,” Diercks said.
Her older brother Cal was also a star basketball player at Belvidere North. Leonard says you can see the resemblance.
“One, they kind of look alike a little bit,” Leonard explained. “They definitely look like brother and sister. When you see her on the basketball court, you notice her right away. She’s 5’11”, almost six feet tall, her ability to handle the basketball at that height, shoot the basketball. The way she shoots it and play the way that she plays, you can’t help but notice.”
“[Cal] never complained about anything, so it definitely made me see how to do hard work and just apply yourself,” Diercks said.
The four-year starter has more than just “talented basketball player” on her resume though.
Diercks is a state champion for both track and cross country. It’s what Leonard says has allowed her to be such a great asset to their team.
“She doesn’t play just one sport and that’s something that we preach on our basketball team is we want to coach basketball players but we want to coach athletes,” Leonard explained.
Diercks’ heart ultimately lies with basketball. She loves the game so much, she’s decided to play for Regis University in Denver, Colorado where she plans to major in nursing. Why not compete for the other sports she’s so good at too though?
“I guess I enjoy basketball more,” Diercks admitted. “I get really nervous for cross country and track meets and I’ve always played basketball. Running was something that I came into a little bit later.”
As if you didn’t already think Diercks was great, she has a 4.0 GPA.
“She never brags about anything; any of her accomplishments,” Belvidere North junior Natalie Horgan said. “She doesn’t even talk about it, really. She just keeps it on the down-low. I guess, if you could say that.”
Diercks’ incredible high school career in sports and academics isn’t something just anybody can stay humble about, but she does. The questions is, how?
“I guess just knowing that it’s not just me doing all the work,” Diercks explained. “Having my teammates there and my family and God.”
If Diercks ever feels any pressure, you definitely don’t notice it. However, there are times her team does.
“As perfect as it seems like she is, she’s not perfect,” Leonard said. “When she does make mistakes, she kind of has this nervous laugh about her. It looks like a smile but she’s very nervous and she just has a certain way of laughing when she’s nervous.”
“She’ll be like ‘Hehe!’ I don’t know,” Horgan said.
Almost every great athlete has at least one secret quirk – a nervous laugh just happens to be Diercks’. She said she’s been doing the laugh since eighth grade.