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Athlete of the Week – Erin Henze

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LANARK (WREX) — Eastland girls head basketball coach Nicole Brinker was the program's all-time leading scorer, until senior Erin Henze broke that record earlier this season.

"I'm going to bench you if you get too close," Henze says her coach joked.

That clearly didn't happen, as Henze went on to break Dalton Shaner's school record for scoring, regardless of boys or girls basketball. But it's not all about the buckets for Henze. She helped lead her team to an appearance at state last year, and has big goals for the remainder of her high school basketball career.

"The most important thing this season is working together as a team and getting back to Redbird Arena like we're trying to do," Henze said.

For Brinker, coaching Henze is like coaching a member of her family.

"Her mom coached me when I was in high school," Brinker said. "She moved me up back in the days when you didn't get moved up as a freshman. I've been around for the birth of all three kids and grown up with them as family."

That family atmosphere is something that runs strong at Eastland.

"There definitely is something different about Eastland," Henze explains. "No matter where the game is, an hour away or at home, you have the same amount of fans. We have bigger crowds than most of the big schools around here which is just awesome."

Henze hopes to give those fans a lot to cheer about down the stretch of this season, as she pursues another trip to state for her and her Lady Cougars.

Derek Bayne

Derek Bayne joined 13 WREX as the sports director in December of 2011. He grew up in the Chicago suburbs and moved back to Illinois after working several years in North Carolina. For any sports story ideas or tips, you can email dbayne@wrex.com.

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