ANNAWAN — Celina Van Hyfte has liked wearing maroon and white so well at Annawan High School she’s going to keep wearing it for the next four years.
The Annawan senior all-stater will continue her basketball career for the Southern Illinois University Salukis in Carbondale. Van Hyfte took an unofficial visit in June to SIU, and gave her verbal commitment to head coach Cindy Stein in July.
“I was very impressed with Coach Stein, her entire staff and their vision for the future of SIU women’s basketball.” Van Hyfte said. “It came down to playing basketball at SIU or softball at Illinois State. Both schools have amazing coaching staffs and programs. It was the biggest and hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. I truly went with my heart and the desire to play basketball over softball in college.”
Van Hyfte will sign her national letter of intent during the early signing period this November.
She will follow the path of her mother, the former Vanessa Wancket, who played Division I basketball for Bradley. Her father, Ted, also was a D-I athlete in football at Wake Forest.
“My parents have given me the tools and resources to be successful. It’s an honor to become a D-I player like my parents. My parents are both very humble about their success, and I try to be the same,” Van Hyfte said.
Last season, Van Hyfte led Annawan to its first State tournament appearance, placing fourth in Class 1A. She became the school’s all-time scoring leader with 1,849 career points, averaging 20.1 points with 10.0 rebounds per game. She is a two-time AP First Team All-State selection, named to the second team her freshmen season.
She is setting her sights on joining her teammates in both basketball and softball to make a run at a state championship her senior year.
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