After graduating five seniors from a year ago, including the entire lineup of post players, there were questions abound for the Schoolcraft girls basketball team.
In looking for answers as to how the Eagles have fought through those departures, a good place to start would be senior guard Lydia Goble.
Goble was asked to expand her role this season, and she has delivered. The Eagles currently sit at 15-0 (9-0 SAC Valley), and are ranked No. 3 in Class C. Goble has played a crucial role in that success, beginning with her scoring, as she leads Schoolcraft with 18.6 points per game.
“I think that’s the difference from last year to this year … she’s been a consistent scorer, because she’s expected to be. And she likes it,” said Schoolcraft head coach Stephen Kulczyk.
“Some players don’t want that burden,” he added.
Goble has embraced it, and is quick to credit her coach – and her teammates –in helping her gain the confidence needed to play the role, which doesn’t always come easy.
“It can be tough when I have a game where shots are not falling,” she said. “But even when that happens, we have a bunch of girls out there who can score, too. It’s not just me out there who can score.”
Kulczyk said he has seen the growth in Goble’s confidence from a year ago, which is most evident to him during those times where shots are not falling.
“Last year, if I missed a couple shots – especially a couple in a row – I kind of stopped shooting it and looked more to pass the ball,” she said. “This year, coach builds me up and my teammates build me up and tell me to keep shooting and not lose confidence. They help me out there; keep me focused.”
In addition to her scoring, Goble has been an asset defensively as well. She has 61 steals to go with 64 deflections (through 14 games), which means she is disrupting the other team’s offense and helping generate turnovers nearly 9 times a game. Goble is also averaging over five rebounds per game.
A multi-sport student athlete – Goble will be heading to Grand Valley State University next year on a softball scholarship – Kulczyk says Goble has natural athletic ability, but also an exceptional competitive spirit, which plays a role in her success.
“She has worked hard in any sport that she plays,” Kulczyk said. “You could play Monopoly and she’s going to try to beat you. And you’d say ‘gosh, she plays and angry Monopoly.’ That’s just who she is.”
Interestingly, with a collegiate softball career not too far away, Goble said she’s enjoying this basketball season more than any other.
“It means a lot to me, more than I ever thought it would,” Goble said. “I really don’t want the season to end, ever. And I’ve never felt that way about basketball. I just want it to keep going as long as possible. I know I’m going to miss it a lot.”
Schoolcraft is certainly in position to make a lengthy run this season. Five games remain for the Eagles before the postseason starts, and Goble leads them for one final run. Yet Goble insists the team’s record isn’t what has made this season so special.
“I think even if we were 0-15, I would still feel the same way because this team means a lot to me, and I love the girls a lot,” she said.
As for just how far the Eagles can go this season, that question will remain to be seen. For now, the Eagles – and Goble –seem to have all the answers.