ATWOOD -- Hannah Wallen, a 5-6 guard, who played for Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond girls' basketball team, is to continue her career at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield.
"They way they play, from what I have heard, is a lot like our high school team," said Wallen who said she had interest from Parkland and Greeneville. "As soon as I started meeting with Lincoln Land I was interested in going there. I like the girls coming in to the program and the girls I met. It is a good program and I also like the closeness of the campus. All my classes are in one building."
Lincoln Land is a NJCAA Division II member that competes in Region 24 and in the Mid-West Athletic Conference.
"Their coach came to two or three games and it sounded like they play a very guard oriented up and down kind of style and they like her ability to dish and create," said A-L-A-H coach Mac Condill. "I think he needed a point guard type of player. I am excited to see what she can do there. I know she is a super hard worker."
Wallen was a first team all-Little Okaw Valley Conference Northwest Division player as a junior and earned second team honors this season after missing five games due to illness and three due to a back problem. Wallen averaged 12.6 points (second for the 13-13 Knights), 3.9 rebounds, a team-high 2.9 assists and 3.1 steals per game. She made 16 three-pointers as well and led the team in scoring in 11 contests.
"Defensively, it is hard to put into words what else she can do," said Condill. "I think that is going to be one of those things that a lot of players are not willing to work so hard on and she does. That along with her cat-like quickness and her wingspan is surprisingly long. I think she is is an irritation on the defensive end."
Wallen has also been in volleyball and track, but said basketball is her favorite.
"I never thought I would be good enough to play at the college level," said Wallen. "The fact I get to go on and play a sport and do with my life what I want to do (nursing) is great. Basketball could be a stress reliever."
Wallen was one of 86 players to receive special mention Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Class 1A/2A. She played down low in the 2-3 zone.
"She really rebounded well down low," said Condill. "She can jump and she can just get out and go. She could play anywhere from a 1-4. Her basketball IQ is very good. You put her around scorers she can take the roll of distributor and do the little things that make her a special player. I think she will become a successful college player. It is great for the program, but also the area (her going on to play at the college level). I always think when someone can go on no mater what sport it can help this area be known to the rest of the state that can produce that product of being a college student-athlete and that is good thing."
Wallen has been playing basketball since third grade when she was on a biddy basketball team in Atwood.
"I knew I wanted to play basketball in college when I was little," said Wallen. "At then end of my freshman year I realized it could happen."
Lincoln Land is coached by Gary Albert, who is just finishing his ninth season at the school. Wallen is expected to play guard and the Loggers lose five players from this year's team that is currently 12-15 overall. Lincoln Land finished in a tie for third place in the conference with Lewis & Clark Community College at 6-4. Four guards are to return from this season.
Her sophomore year A-L-A-H went 19-7 and she averaged 15.6 points per game and helped the Knights to its first LOVC tourney title since 1998 and won the LOVC NW Division tournament as well. Her junior year she averaged 8.5 points per game for a 22-5 team. She averaged 12.3 points per game during her career with 1,091 points.
"Coach Lynn Farmer at Atwood, Craig Moffet (first three years at A-L-A-H) and Mac Condill (this season at A-L-A-H)," said Wallen when asked what coaches helped her become the player she is today.
Wallen was on the back-to-back Atwood-Hammond Charger Class 1A state champions her seventh and eighth grade year.
Wallen, who was a member of the JG-TC all-area team as a sophomore, does not plan on playing after Lincoln Land choosing to focus on being a nurse.