Kerstein sisters rewriting record books

By Terry Poulos, Greeks In Sports editor

Something special is brewing in the northern suburbs of Chicago. Sisters Alexis “Lexi” Kerstein and Nicolette “Nikki’ Kerstein just put together arguably the greatest season for a duo of Greek sisters in the history of prep basketball nationwide. This week, the two sisters were named All-State by the Illinois Coaches’ Association. They’re being recruited by some of the top programs in NCAA Division I.

As a freshman, Lexi burst onto the scene to lead an overnight resurgence in a previously moribund program, taking Deerfield High School from six wins the previous year to a 21-11 record in her first year of high school, when she was named All-Conference and led the team to a Regional championship.

Following up a stout freshman campaign, Lexi was named All-State her sophomore year, was conference scoring champion, and runner-up conference player of the year. Now a junior, Lexi was named conference player of the year this season received here second consecutive All-State selection.

greeks in sports, lexi kerstein, girls, basketball, deerfield, high school, illinois
Lexi Kerstein highlight reel

Lexi’s 2022 numbers have college coaches salivating. The 5’6″ explosive, lightning-quick sharp-shooter plays the point yet still led Deerfield and the entire Central Suburban League with an average of 17.8 points on 55-percent shooting. She could easily average in the mid-20’s but Deerfield now has three solid players sharing the load and they’ve benefitted greatly as a team. Lexi also recorded averages of 3.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 4.2 steals per game and is a top student with a 3.8 GPA out of 4.0.

Emphasizing the numbers, Deerfield plays some of the toughest competition in Illinois, yet they still finished the season 26-6 overall (10-0 in conference) with a #10 state ranking and won Regionals. Lexi is also a top player for the Wisconsin Impact 17U National AAU squad.

nikki kerstein, deerfield, high school, girls, basketball, greeks in sports
Nikki Kerstein highlight reel

Freshman Nikki, a 5’7″ guard, is silky smooth with lateral quickness and explosion mirroring her older sister. Nikki was named All-Conference and All-State in 2022 after averaging 14.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 4.7 steals per game. There were games when the two sisters would wrack up close to 10 steals per game, smothering opponents with unrelenting end-to-end full court pressure. They take as much pride in defense as they do on the offensive side of the ball.

Both sisters have uncanny accuracy from three-point range. Nikki finished third in Class 4A at the recent state three-point shootout.

While Lexi has been getting accolades being the older sister and putting up lights-out numbers and gathering award after award, Nikki accomplished something this season that no other player in the state matched. She’s the only player to record 400 or more points, shoot 50-percent or better, record more than 125 assists, more than 125 steals, more than 125 rebounds, and less than 2.0 turnovers per game (in her case, 1.3).

On top of it all, Nikki has maintained a 3.9 GPA out of 4.0. She plays for Illinois Elite in the AAU.

The Kerstein sisters’ obvious skill is matched by incredible athleticism. They work very hard at weight, speed, and agility training, requisites to being an elite athlete in any sport. But they also inherited great genes from their parents, who’ve both worked closely with their girls to help foster their career.

Their father, Greek American Billy Kerstein, was an All-American running back at Deerfield in the late 80’s, ranked number three in the nation behind future NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith and NFL star Ricky Waters. Billy signed a scholarship offer to play at Miami University in Florida, then a top-ranked program. Their mother is Tasia Georganas Kerstein, a former state champion and All-State basketball player at Maine West High School who went on to be a four-year starter at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Both parents are highly-successful business people who’ve been active in their community.

A mindset of professionalism and hard work has been instilled in the Kerstein girls since they were born. If they maintain what they’ve exhibited thus far, clearly they will excel at the next level in both athletics and academics, in addition to being leaders among peers.

Twitter: @lexikerstein25 Instagram: @lexikerstein25 

Twitter: @nikkikerstein Instagram: @nikki_kerstein 

Kerstein sisters personal website