The St. Mary’s Springs girls basketball team enjoyed the best season in school history this winter, and perhaps the biggest reason was the play of sophomore Kelli Schrauth.
She helped lead the Ledgers to within one game of their first-ever state tournament appearance and posted some gaudy numbers along the way.
Schrauth finished this past season as the area’s leading scorer by a healthy margin, as well as its top rebounder.
She is the 2012-2013 The Reporter Media All-Area Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
Schrauth is joined on the all-area first team by Fond du Lac senior Taylor Penning and junior Briana Wagner, North Fond du Lac senior Nicole Seidl and Oakfield senior Alyza Streeter.
A great combination of size and athleticism, the 5-foot-11 Schrauth was the consummate backbone of a youthful Springs squad which had just one senior.
Despite her youth, she has already developed into a player opposing teams have to gameplan around, and certainly is someone to watch for the next two years. As is Springs, which brings nearly everyone on the roster back from a team that won a school-record 21 games (21-5).
“Even though Kelli is only a sophomore, her teammates look to her for leadership,” Ledgers coach Mitch Redig said. “She is very humble, hardworking and a great teammate. She approaches every practice and game with a great attitude and that allows her to help our team be successful.”
Schrauth averaged 17.4 points per game this season, pouring in 452 for the season. Having led Springs in scoring as a freshman as well, she has 760 for her career and likely will break the 1,000-point milestone midway through next year as a junior. She made 62 percent of her field goals (191-of-308) and 70-of-122 free throws (57.4 percent).
But scoring is only part of her game. Her 10.5 rebounds per game averaged her a double-double each contest. She pulled down 272 boards for the season.
Equally impressive for a post-player, Schrauth finished second on the team with 74 steals — 2.8 per game.
Even with those numbers, and a unanimous first-team all-Flyway Conference selection, Schrauth gave herself a less-than-excellent grade for the year.
“I would say a B,” she said. “It was a good season, but I probably could have done a little more.”
Schrauth scored at least 15 points in 20 of 26 games, topping 20 seven times. She made her presence known right out of the gate, scoring 26 points in the season-opener against Cedar Grove-Belgium, and had a career-high 32 points against St. Mary Central two days later.
Another big non-conference performance was Jan. 12 against a 10-1 Sheboygan Falls team, when she had 28 points, 11 rebounds and six steals.
“My favorite game would be Sheboygan Falls,” she said. “We were nervous going in because they were ranked really high.”
Springs won that game 53-36.
Schrauth had at least 10 rebounds in 16 games, averaging 14 per game throughout the playoffs. Her rebounding numbers are unique in that she finished with 18 more offensive boards (145) than defensive (127).
“I think her biggest asset for us is her rebounding,” Redig said. “Because she’s the focal point of opponent’s defense, a lot of her shots are contested. But she’s strong enough to get those misses and put them back. Rebounding is a lot about determination and Kelli rarely gets out hustled on the boards.”
An overlooked attribute of Schrauth’s is that she stays out of foul trouble. Even though she’s battles in the paint all game long, she committed only 57 fouls all season — 2.2 per game. She didn’t foul out of a single game.
The deceptive part of her game is her athleticism. While not really a shot-blocker — she had only seven of them this season — she frequently made defensive plays in the open court, coming up with steals in the Ledgers’ tenacious 1-3-1 zone. Then, she’d often go coast-to-coast for a bucket.
“Defensively she plays really well on the wing in our zone,” Redig said. “She anticipates really well and moves well without the ball. She’s got really quick feet. She also uses her quickness defensively to create offensive opportunities.”
Schrauth recorded at least four steals in nine games this season. In the season-ending 53-50 loss to The Prairie School in a Division 4 Sectional Final March 9, her statline read 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting, 5-for-5 at the free-throw line, 13 rebounds and six steals.
That game was by far the biggest one anyone on the Springs roster had been a part of, but Schrauth thought she and her young teammates handled the raucous atmosphere well.
“That was a fun game,” she said. “It was a good experience for everyone to be in. I think we were all in good mindsets.”