DE PERE – Hannah Stefaniak had statistics on her mind Monday night.
It had nothing to do with the ones she compiled while helping the West De Pere girls basketball team remain undefeated with a nonconference victory at Valders.
The 5-foot-11 senior forward made sure during the road trip to squeeze in homework for her Advanced Placement Statistics class.
After all, Stefaniak wants to do her part to ensure the Phantoms continue their success in the classroom as well.
“We hold each other accountable for our homework in different classes,” Stefaniak said.
It’s the type of mentality that is needed in order for a team to earn academic all-state honors, like West De Pere did last year when it was recognized by the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association for having a 3.665 GPA, which ranked third among Division 2 teams.
“These girls work really hard at whatever they do,” West De Pere girls basketball coach Ashley Anthon said. “They take any challenge that is put in front of them and find a way to strategize to do the best that they can. I think that shows you how well balanced they are not just as basketball players, but as people and students.”
The Phantoms have certainly raised their game this year. The team’s GPA is currently a 3.83.
The 11 varsity players making up that impressive statistic are seniors Liz Edinger, Kaeli Raasch, Klara Korbelova, Maddy Coppens and Stefaniak; juniors Samantha Carriveau, Caroline Kandravi, Brehna Evans and Kasey Denis; sophomore Sydney Appleton and freshman Alivia McNabb.
“Doing your homework is probably the hardest part after having a long day,” said Edinger, who wants to pursue elementary education as a career. “You know you have to get your homework done and be ready for class the next day.”
For the Phantoms, that means staying focused on homework and avoiding the temptation to browse social media on a smartphone before games.
“It’s teamwork in the classroom and on the court,” Anthon said.
“There is a lot of studying on the bus. There are a lot of questions they will bounce off each other or off of me. I’m a science teacher, so I get all the science questions.”
Anthon likes the chemistry her team has shown thus far in pursuing a third straight Bay Conference title.
The Phantoms (11-0) are ranked No. 3 in Division 2 of the Wissports.net coaches’ state poll and No. 2 in The Associated Press state poll. They are one of two undefeated D2 teams left and one of 20 remaining in the state overall.
West De Pere’s 52-36 road victory Monday came against a Valders (11-2) team ranked in D3.
Edinger and Evans entered the game averaging 16.9 points per game. Stefaniak is averaging 9.2 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.
“We just have to focus every day in practice,” said Stefaniak, who plans to pursue a career in occupational therapy while playing basketball at UW-Oshkosh. “It’s looking at one game at a time and not looking ahead at the whole big picture.”
Considering how the West De Pere players have been able to balance success in the classroom and on the court, it’s safe to say the team has a solid grasp of the big picture when it comes to life.
“I’m really proud of them for that focus,” Anthon said. “We can move from the court to the classroom and from the classroom to the court seamlessly.
“All 11 girls are invested and ready to go. They’re playing together and playing for each other and have a blast while they are out there, so that’s fun to coach.”
email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @andrewpekarek.