Schook sisters left their mark on Hillman High School
The 2020-2021 basketball season is now underway after months of uncertainty as to whether there would even be a season.
The delay was due in large part to a nationwide pandemic, but could this delay have been partially because the basketball gods couldn’t believe that there was no longer going to be a Schook sister taking the court for the Hillman Tigers?
Anything is possible nowadays right?
For over a decade, Schook was more than just a last name on a roster, it was a tradition, a competition, a focal point and a legacy.
Alexa, Maci, Vanessa and Bailey Schook all grew up playing sports, all at different times, but each with the same goal in mind: To be the best that they could possibly be.
Four sisters, four check marks and four missions, accomplished.
With the new addition to Hillman High School’s new girls basketball record board now proudly displayed in the gymnasium, the name Schook represents nearly half of the records on the board.
Alexa, the oldest of the four sisters, started what eventually led to a rich family tradition on the court and the diamond as all four starred on the varsity basketball and softball teams during their time wearing the orange and black.
Alexa graduated in 2008, but not before she began a trend for the Schook sisters that would carry on well after she graduated.
On the basketball court, Alexa earned first team all-conference (North Star League) honors during her junior and senior seasons, was named top defensive player in the NSL during her senior year as well as garnering All-Alpena News first team honors during her junior and senior seasons.
She was named to the Detroit Free Press All-State team as a senior, while being named team MVP and captain during both junior and senior seasons.
Alexa still holds records for most assists in a season (115), most steals in a season (128), is tied for fifth for most points in a single game (29) and is fourth in most assists per game (12).
Alexa earned similar honors during her softball career as she was first team all-conference twice, team MVP her senior year and earned all-district and all-regional honors, while maintaining scholar athlete status.
Alexa’s work during her varsity career culminated in her earning Hillman High School Female Athlete of the Year.
“Sports has been something instilled in us girls from a young age. As we got older, we were able to play against each other in the backyard on the court that dad built for us. The time and dedication was put in, but in ways that we didn’t quite understand at that age. As I got older, I was privileged enough to say that I got to play with one of my younger siblings (Maci). Not many siblings can say they got that opportunity,” Alexa said. “Sports was still such a passion of mine after I graduated and I was fortunate enough to be an assistant coach to another sister (Vanessa). I’ve always been proud of all of my sisters’ accomplishments with their sports. I’m thankful for the elbows thrown in one-on-one’s, the softballs whipped at me and the sweat and tears that we’ve wiped from each other’s faces, because that’s what made us who we are today.”
Maci continued the tradition and took her game to another level on the diamond where she was a standout in the circle.
Maci was a three-time team MVP, three-time first team all-conference honoree, four time academic all-state, three time all-district and during her senior year, earned Division 4 Miss Softball honors, while making a trip to the Division 4 all-star game at the end of the season.
Maci graduated with over 1,000 career strikeouts, holds a handful of softball records and will go down as one of the best to play on the diamond at Hillman.
On the court, Maci was selected to the all-conference team all four years, was named to the All-Alpena News first team three years in a row and finished her career with a double-double average in points and rebounds before graduating in 2010.
Maci is fourth all-time with 182 rebounds in a single season and is tied with sister Vanessa for third in most steals in a season (94) and she followed sister Alexa and became Hillman High School Female Athlete of the Year.
“We were and very much still are, very competitive the same way we were on the court or in the field. I believe having that sister camaraderie helped not only push one another, but brought us closer together,” Maci said. “There was definitely a few times that we gave each other bloody noses in the backyard, but at the end of the day, we are each other’s biggest fans.”
Vanessa continued to raise the bar for the Schook sisters, both on the court and on the diamond.
Vanessa graduated in 2017 and left as Hillman’s all-time scoring leader, finishing her career with 1,260 career points. She also set a record that still holds for most points scored in a season (377) during her sophomore year and is third and fourth on that same list. She is fourth for most points in a single game (32) and fifth all-time with 62 assists in a season.
Vanessa earned first team all-conference honors all four years, she earned all-district and all-regional honors during her sophomore, junior and senior seasons, was named All-Alpena News first team twice and was All-Alpena News Player of the Year during her senior season.
Vanessa was, surprisingly, the only Schook sister to score over 1,000 points for her career, which shows how impressive it is to be in that club. She was named to the Detroit Free Press all-state team as a senior and was team MVP three years in a row.
On the diamond, she was relied heavily upon in the circle and at the plate. She once again earned first team all-conference honors all four years, which gave her eight of those honors during her career, she earned all-state honors three times, was a pivotal member of a Hillman team that made it to the final four during her sophomore year and was a team captain for three years and voted team MVP all four years and her career also culminated with a Hillman High School Female Athlete of the Year award.
“Having two older sisters that were heavily involved in athletics was always something that drove me and pushed me harder than ever, not only because I looked up to both of them and wanted to impress them, but I wanted to beat them too,” Vanessa said. “When it came to Bailey, she gave me a different kind of pressure because I wanted to take her under my wing and show her that anything is truly possible with hard work and belief. Competition was always high amongst all of us. We were constantly pushing each other to work a little harder, practice a little harder, work out a little harder and I am forever grateful for that to this day.”
The youngest sister, Bailey, graduated last year (2020) and left her mark with her name also in the record books at Hillman.
Bailey finished second and fourth on the list for steals in a season with 122 and 93 respectively.
She was named first team all-conference during her junior and senior seasons. She earned all-district and all-region honors during her junior year, while leading the area in steals as a senior and garnering All-Alpena News first team honors during her junior and senior years.
Bailey was also named team captain during her junior and senior year and picked up team MVP honors during both seasons.
On the diamond, she continued the trend of Schook sisters as ace pitchers and was a first team all-conference selection during her junior season, being selected as an all-district pitcher while hitting .640 and setting the record for stolen bases in a season.
She was also named Defensive Player of the Year during her junior and senior year.
Her work completed the sweep for the Schook sisters in earning Hillman High School Female Athlete of the Year.
“Being the youngest, it definitely came with some pros and cons. Most times, I was getting crossed up or being hit hot grounders because they thought it was funny. The competitiveness in our family runs deep, which was probably why we all had the success that we did. Since I was younger, I remember going to all the games and being proud to call them my sisters. Having them always pushed me to do my best and wanting to do better than them of course. We all still have the conversation of who was better at what. It is a topic that will forever be talked about between us, which nobody will ever win,” Bailey said. “All in all, I loved growing up with my sisters because they were always able to help me in ways that I couldn’t help them which I am forever thankful for.”
The Schook sisters are all blessed to have been a part of a rich tradition of athletics in Hillman, but Hillman should feel just as blessed to have had such a talented quartet of sisters that provided the Tigers with over a decade worth of hard work, victories, records and of course, memories.