A Hometown All-Star
Writer/ Janelle Morrison
The Lady Eagles finished 25-2 this season and won the Columbus North Tournament, Hoosier Crossroads Conference, and Sectional 7 titles before falling to Homestead in the regional. The team’s star player and guard, Rachel McLimore, a senior at Zionsville Community High School, has been named to the 13- girl Indiana All-Star team. McLimore and her Indiana All-Star teammates will play the Kentucky All-Stars this June 10 and 11.
The Zionsville Girls Basketball Head Coach, Andy McGuire, reflected on his team’s success and on McLimore’s significant contributions to the team’s inspiring season. “I look back at the season before McLimore transferred to Zionsville, and we had finished a 20-4 season with mostly freshmen and sophomores as the nucleus of or team,” McGuire said. “We knew that coming back for our next season that we were going to have a good season, and then I got a phone call during the first week of school informing me that we had a young lady moving to Zionsville, and that was Rachel McLimore. I had met Rachel the summer before because I was one of the junior All-Star coaches, and she was on that team. We played one game together and just in that bit of time, I realized that she’s an outstanding girl and a hard worker. I never would have anticipated that I would get to coach her for an entire season.”
McLimore transferred her junior year from Covenant High School where she had a successful year playing for their team, having made it to state finals and leading the team in several categories. After her family decided to move to Zionsville, McLimore found her coach and team to be incredibly welcoming and supportive of their new teammate.
McGuire emphasized that McLimore’s selection to the All-Star team is a huge accomplishment for not only her and the team but for the entire community. She is the first Lady Eagle to represent Zionsville in the All-Stars since Debbie (Funkhouser) Trennepohl in 1977.
“I remember Debbie when she played at Zionsville,” McGuire recalled. “My father was the head coach for the boys’ basketball team, and her father was one of my dad’s assistants. To think that I got to be a part of Rachel’s career for at least one season and seeing how huge this has been for her, our kids, and our entire program—this is what you want for all of your athletes.”
McGuire continued, “Rachel’s been a great role model for our younger kids. We have a talented group of sophomores and some very good juniors. Rachel came to practice every day with a positive attitude and worked as hard, if not harder, than everybody. I think it rubbed off on many of our players as they saw what it takes to be a Division 1 athlete. I don’t think some of them realized that it was possible until they saw what Rachel has done and how hard she’s worked.”
The team has already benefited from their incredible season and from McLimore’s contributions to the team’s statistics. The team has been invited to play in the coveted Hall of Fame Classic next year. Held in New Castle, home of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, it will be Zionsville’s first appearance in the classic.
“The classic is held in New Castle, which is the largest high school gym in the United States,” McGuire said. “It’s where four of the best teams in the state come to play in a one-day tournament and play two games. It is going to help bring recognition to our team and program, and I feel that Rachel helped to get that process started. When I look back, I have learned from Rachel how selfless a person can be. I never once felt that she was concerned about her own statistics or her own accolades. She’s part of her team, and that really made a big difference.”
McLimore has had the support of her parents, sister and brother since the very beginning. She was grateful to find the same level of support from her teammates as a transfer student. McLimore found that the team unified rather quickly and shared the same level of dedication and thirst for a successful season.
“Transferring was hard at first, just because you never know how it’s going to go,” she said. “The team made me feel really welcome. From the team, I met their friends and other people and soon I felt like I was connected and had been here for a while. From the beginning, there was a good energy from our team. I could tell everybody just wanted to work hard and cared more about the team than themselves.”
Being named to the All-Star team was a goal of hers since she was a child. McLimore was on the junior All-Star team and thought that it was within reach to be on the All-Star team if she continued to work hard.
“I attended Heritage Christian School until the 8th grade,” McLimore said. “I was inspired at a young age by the Indiana All-Star girl players that Heritage had produced over the years. I grew up watching Kelly Faris and Liz Stratman who went to play at the collegiate level. Watching them and many other players made me realize that this is what I wanted to do.”
McLimore hasn’t had much time to take a break and enjoy the accolades. She is preparing for the All- Star games and training every day after school, as well as preparing for her freshman year at DePaul University, Chicago, where she will continue her athletic endeavors.
“I spent a lot of time talking with several coaches while deciding where I wanted to go,” McLimore said. “I figured out which ones I felt that I would have a good relationship and experience with, and I knew that DePaul had a successful season; so my family and I visited the university a couple of times and when I did my official visit with the team and coaches, they made my family and I feel so welcome, so I knew that this was the right decision for me academically and athletically.”
When asked if she will pursue playing at the professional level, McLimore said, without hesitation, “If the opportunity presented itself, I would definitely take it.” McLimore concluded, “I have learned so much from my coach and my team. Coach Andy was always pushing us to work hard, but we knew that he cared about us as people more than he cared about winning. I think that it’s cool that I am the first girl to go to the All-Stars since 1977, and when you put it into perspective, you realized that not many people have done that and that it shows that hard work really does pay off. To my teammates, I hope that they never think that they can’t do something. Even when it seems like everything is stacked up against you, just keep working hard, and the outcome will be what you want it to be.”