Olivia Yutzy’s high school basketball career has been a steady climb.
After three years of continued improvement, the Iowa Mennonite School senior has turned in a breakthrough senior season.
A four year starter, Yutzy is enjoying the best statistical season of her career while leading IMS to its most wins in the last four seasons.
“She has been through it as a senior and you can see it just clicking for her,” Iowa Mennonite School coach Aaron Gingerich said. “I think the game has slowed down a little bit for her and you can tell she is playing at a really high level.”
The 5-foot-8 Yutzy averaged five points and four rebounds a game as a freshman and upped those numbers to 11 points and 5.7 rebounds per game as a sophomore.
Last season, Yutzy led IMS with 13.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, but has improved those numbers dramatically this season.
Yutzy is averaging career-bests of 17.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per game this season and has done so with improved efficiency.
After shooting 40 percent from the floor as a sophomore and 43 percent last season, Yutzy is shooting 49 percent from the field this year, another career best.
Her biggest improvement has come at the free-throw line, where Yutzy is shooting 74 percent (89-120) with a career-high number of attempts.
That percentage is nearly 20 percent better than her career average.
“She has kind of been our leader the last three years, scoring-wise, so we expect that out of her. She has met all the expectations and exceeded them,” Gingerich said. “She is scoring the ball with efficiency, and she does so many other things for our team as far as rebounding and defensively as well.”
IMS won seven games in Yutzy’s freshman season and five the following year before jumping to eight wins last season.
Led by Yutzy, Iowa Mennonite School has already eclipsed last year’s win total and enters the final week of the regular season 10-8.
“I think we are playing well right now,” Gingerich said. “We’ve had good senior leadership, and I think that always makes a difference on a team.”
WICK’S WEEK: Regina was busy last week, picking up three River Valley Conference wins in five days, led by a big week from Katie Wick.
Wick scored a career-high 21 points in a win over Wilton, and hit the game-winning free throws in Regina’s 48-47 win over Mid-Prairie.
In three games last week, the senior averaged 17.3 points while shooting 70 percent (23-33) from the floor.
SHOOTOUT: The Southeast Iowa Super Conference Shootout games will be played Saturday with the North Division teams hosting.
Cardinal will play at Highland, Danville will travel to Iowa Mennonite School, and Lone Tree will host Van Buren.
All games are varsity and junior varsity doubleheaders with junior varsity games scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.
TOUGH LOSS: Mid-Prairie suffered a significant blow last week when junior guard Ali Riggan was lost for the season with a knee injury sustained in a 43-20 win over Tipton.
Riggan was the Golden Hawks’ second-leading scorer at 7.9 points per game and led Mid-Prairie with 25 3-pointers.
The 5-foot-3 Riggan also was second on the team with 26 assists.
1,000 AND COUNTING: Lone Tree senior Madelyn Flemr reached the 1,000-point mark for her career with 12 points in a 58-50 win over WACO last Tuesday.
Flemr is averaging 17.9 points and 8.6 rebounds a game this season for Lone Tree (8-8), and also leads the Lions with 33 assists and 51 steals.
A LOOK AHEAD: Regina wraps up perhaps its most difficult week of the season with a rematch with West Branch on Friday and a trip to Class 4A No. 10 Waverly-Shell Rock on Saturday.
West Branch defeated Regina 60-51 on Jan. 10.
PERFORMANCES OF THE WEEK: City High senior Haley Lorenzen had 30 points, 10 rebounds, seven blocks and four assists in a 72-41 win over Cedar Rapids Jefferson.
Mid-Prairie junior Taylor Kurtz had 26 points on 11-of-13 shooting and 16 rebounds in a 48-47 loss to Regina.
Clear Creek Amana’s Lexi Kinnaird had 18 points in a 67-54 loss to Mount Vernon and had 15 points in a 54-43 loss to Williamsburg.