Whittaker named Athlete of the Week

Published 9:26 am Thursday, December 2, 2004

By By ADAM FISHER / Niles Daily Star
With flashy scorers like Sarah Dreher and Brandie Radde filling up the stat sheets for Niles' girls basketball team, someone has to do the dirty work.
That someone is senior forward/center Kate Whittaker.
Her numbers won't turn any heads or earn any All-State nominations, but Niles head coach Jim Arnold said Whittaker was a valuable asset for the Vikings in winning last week's regionals.
For her hard-nosed work ethic in two regional victories last week, Kate Whittaker is the Niles Daily Star's Athlete of the Week for Nov. 21-27.
Whittaker doesn't score a lot, but one basket in particular was huge for Niles last week. With the Vikings trailing 50-47 to Otsego with less than two minutes remaining in the regional championship game, Whittaker fought off two Bulldogs for an offensive rebound. She then put the ball back up and in the basket and was fouled in the process.
She hit the free throw to tie the score with 1:39 remaining, helping Niles complete a 16-point comeback. The Vikings won the game 53-50.
Whittaker scored eight points against Otsego, but five of them came in the fourth quarter. She was Niles' leading rebounder in both regional games, pulling down seven boards in each contest.
What's maybe most valuable about Whittaker is that she doesn't start. All her production comes off the bench, which Arnold enjoys because it allows him to rest starting center Melissa Olsen.
Each week, the athletics directors from Niles, Brandywine and Buchanan nominate players for the Athlete of the Week.
The sports editor of the Niles Daily Star then selects a boys' and girls' winner for each week.
Each senior winner will be eligible to apply for the scholarship at the end of the school year. Each week's winners will also receive a month's subscription to the newspaper of the community they represent.
In April, each senior Athlete of the Week winner from all three sports seasons will submit an application for the scholarship.
Leader Publications will then select a boys' and girls' Athlete of the Year from either Niles, Brandywine or Buchanan.
The two athletes will receive a scholarship for an as yet to be determined amount. The winners will be named in May.
Questions regarding the Athlete of the Year scholarships can be directed to Mary Cooper at 687-7732 or Daily Star sports editor Adam Fisher at 687-7703.