Jackie Kemph building her legend

Jackie Kemph averaged 20 points, 7.6 assists, and 3.3 steals for Rolling Meadows (Ill.) as a junior. Courtesy Jim VanAntwerp

Fenwick (Oak Park, Ill.) had been paired with Rolling Meadows (Ill.) at the McDonald’s Shootout because the two girls’ basketball teams played the same vertical game, with the same emphasis on taking the best shot available as early in the shot clock as possible. They were two of the highest-scoring teams in the state of Illinois, largely due to pace and, in Rolling Meadows’ case, the point guard who pushes it.

Fenwick entered that high-profile game with two goals: mitigate Rolling Meadows’ height and stop Jackie Kemph. The former went all right. The latter did not.

Rolling Meadows’ junior point guard went for 38 points on 23 shots, shredding Fenwick doubles and full-court traps in an 87-83 victory. She also dished seven assists. To celebrate her career night and an important win over a fellow suburban Chicago power, she walked into the locker room after the game and vomited.

“That was Jackie just refusing to lose,” said Jenny Vliet, a Division I talent who’s been playing by Kemph’s side since the two were in fifth grade. “She was really not feeling well, but if she hadn’t told me I never would have known. Her intensity that game was what pulled us through.”

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