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Athlete of the Week – Lydia Coatney

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STREAMWOOD (WREX) — Eastland senior guard Lydia Coatney has never been much of a listener, according to her coach. But she's always been a baller, and her Sectional championship winning shot landed her on SportsCenter's Top 10 plays last Thursday night.

"That was not expected at all," Coatney said. "My coach told me when I got home to turn on the TV. I saw myself and was like oh my gosh, am I dreaming right now. It's crazy, crazy world. The funny thing is we called ESPN on the way home as a complete joke and it happened."

Coatney and Erin Henze are two of the best players in school history. Their bond extends far beyond the hardwood.

"We are best friends since kindergarten," Coatney said. "Twelve years strong in basketball and it's going to last a lifetime. It's so exciting."

Henze, the school's all-time leading scorer, says basketball has helped their relationship grow over the years.

"Our bond has definitely been developed a lot by basketball," Henze said. "We've been playing together since maybe 2nd, 3rd grade. This is something we share a passion and a love for. We've always been best friends. We've always had a connection, not only through basketball, through friendship as well."

Their coach enjoys the synergy the two backcourt mates display on the court.

"They just are so awesome to watch together," Nicole Brinker said. "I have no idea the telepathy that happens between them. All it takes is a look. They're best of friends off the court. They're best of friends on the court. They just are amazing kids."

The community has taken notice, packing gyms to support these girls on their journey back to state.

"Look at this out here, our fan section is so amazing," Coatney said. "We have hundreds of people supporting us and we love every single one of them. It's amazing."

Now Lydia and her teammates want to finish the journey with the ultimate prize.

"We want it bad," Coatney said. "High expectations. We're coming for them."

This senior class is a special one. They're going to enjoy this last ride to Redbird Arena.

Eastland faces the Tri-County co-op in a rematch of last year's state semifinals, which Eastland won by a point. The game tips off at 11:15 a.m. in Normal. WREX will air the game live, and all of the weekend's games will air either on 13 WREX or the Stateline CW.

For the full broadcast schedule for state championship basketball, click here.

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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