Wildcat Athlete of the Week: Emily Toran drains threes


By Chuck Baumgartner, Sports Editor

On January 27, 2022, Larkin High School’s basketball team was looking to close out the game, enjoying a decent lead. That was, until senior Emily Toran caught fire in the fourth quarter, sinking 3 triples and hitting one to bring the score to 35-38. Toran brought the game to one possession with minutes to spare. When the third shot fell, the players on the bench rose to their feet, pumped up as momentum shifted.

Senior Emily Toran locked in on defense during a recent basketball game. (Photo courtesy of Emily Toran)

Toran had a strong season this year. She broke the single-season 3-point for West Chicago girls’ Varsity basketball, making 49 3-pointers.

Sophomore Varsity basketball player Miranda Enochs said, “Emily has contributed so much the season especially with her 3-pointers. She’s a shooter, and a shooter’s going to shoot – and she did.”

Toran averaged just under 10 points per game at 9.7, and finished the year with 2 double-doubles. She also was a menace on the defensive end. Her “sticky hands” averaged 1.3 steals a game, with 30 pass deflections.

Toran’s leadership traits were also on display this year when she was named team captain.

Sophomore Varsity basketball player Sydney Bennema said, “She was a great leader and even though me and her and some other people had some ups and downs, she was always the bigger person and would just always bring everyone together. She always made everyone laugh and would always pushed through. She really showed her leadership skills the most when we [needed] them, and that was when we would be in a tight game.”

As an Upstate Eight all-conference honorable mention, Toran has also been composed in the classroom, making honor roll every semester of high school.

“Emily is set apart from others by her single-mindedness and intensity in working to accomplish the goals she sets for herself.  She is incredibly driven and competitive,” said Toran’s former English teacher, Brad Larson.

Basketball became a passion for Toran 7 years ago thanks to a love for the intense moments and fast pace of the game.

Toran shooting over a defender at number 33. (Photo courtesy of Emily Toran)

When asked about a favorite athlete, Toran did not hesitate at all to say Golden State Warriors’ point guard Stephen Curry, currently is the record holder for most 3-pointers made in a career. She elaborated on the idea of how their playstyle is similar:  both are sharpshooters from behind the arc, and understand “shooters always need to shoot.”

However, Toran’s inspiration to be an athlete came from WEGO’s assistant Varsity basketball coach, Jackie Cardona. Cardona was a runner-up for the 2012 Daily Herald MVP while playing for Aurora Central; she scored well-above the 1,000 point milestone, and was a major contributor to Aurora Central’s 2012 state-bound team.

Toran reflected on breaking the single-season 3-point record as a “rewarding accomplishment.”

Girls’ Varsity basketball head coach Mark Fitzgerald had high praise for Toran.

Fitzgerald said, “Emily was a tremendous player for us. She was one of the first girls I met when I came here three years ago. I was always impressed with just how much she cared about our team and her passion for winning was very inspirational to us all. She has meant a lot to me and our program.”

Toran at the Military Entrance Process Station; she plans to study sports medicine after her service in the army. (Photo courtesy of Emily Toran)

“She’s always one to help us get fired up and always one to push us to be better ourselves she is an amazing teammate, player, and captain. She’s funny on the court when she needs to be but also reminds us that we need to lockdown on the game,” said Enochs.

Toran’s ability to motivate her teammates, as well as her strong sense of humor, were frequently mentioned. Bennema said, “She is also someone who would always make people feel better when we were down. Even though we didn’t exceed to the point that we wanted, she always showed up and worked hard to make the team what it is today.”

Toran was also captain of the Junior Varsity soccer team as a junior. She has played soccer every year of her high school. After a year on the freshman team, she moved up to Junior Varsity, where she played the last 2 years.

After high school, Toran intends to join the army; following her service in the military, she plans to study sports medicine.

Fitzgerald said, “Her tenacity on the court was a great example for all current and future Wildcats. We will certainly miss her next year and we wish her nothing but the best in the future.”