In her senior season, Lydia Goble was given the green light.
Told by head coach Steve Kulczyk to play loose, and given the freedom to make plays, Goble put together a record-breaking season for the Schoolcraft girls basketball team.
After averaging 19.5 points per game, and setting school records in scoring (487 points) and three pointers in a season (78), Goble was selected First Team Class C All-State by the Associated Press. She is also the staff selection for the Joe Insider.com 2018 Kalamazoo County Player of the Year.
“I think Lydia has always been a great athlete, but I think part of what put her over the top this year was that her abilities fit perfectly with the philosophy we adapted,” Kulczyk said.
“She would have had a great year under any coach, but this just seemed to fit her.”
The approach worked for the entire team, as Schoolcraft strung together 24 consecutive wins before being ousted in the Class C State Quarterfinal. Goble topped 1,000 career points in the season’s final game, finishing her career with 1,013 points.
In the playoffs, Goble was particularly tough to defend, scoring 20 points in the regional semifinal versus Hackett, 25 points in the regional final versus Brandywine, and scoring 20 points against Ypsilanti-Arbor Prep in the quarter finals.
“I’m going to say this, because I truly believe it: the bigger the game, the bigger she played,” Kulczyk said. “Look at her stats in the postseason – she blew up the tournament. The competitive fire she has would not allow her to give anything less than everything she has.”
And while some players may grow complacent during an undefeated season, that simply wasn’t the case for Goble.
“It is not in her DNA to take it for granted,” Kulczyk said.
That competitive fire spread amongst the rest of the team this season, as Goble provided leadership by example for the Eagles.
“This was the first time I think she embraced leadership – she had been comfortable not being a leader and just being a great athlete,” Kulczyk said.
“When you see arguably the best player on your team giving everything it takes, it rubs off on your whole team.”
Committed to play softball for Grand Valley State University next year, basketball has not been Goble’s primary sport. But Kulczyk said something changed in her approach to basketball this year, which likely played a role in how dominant of a campaign she put together.
“I think part of it was the ‘fun factor,’” he said. “She had a blast. She said it was the most fun she’d ever had playing basketball.”
And while Goble will certainly leave a void on the court, and in the stat sheet, Kulczyk said it’s some of the intangibles she brings that he will miss the most.
“I’m going to miss her presence in the gym,” he said. “My team was tougher because of her.
“I’m just going to miss Lydia the person. She’s awesome.”
Kalamazoo Central freshman Morasha Wiggins burst onto the varsity scene this year with a monster year for the Maroon Giants, and her fans made their presence known with a massive turnout at the Fan Poll. Wiggins, who was an All-SMAC East Division First Team selection after averaging 13.5 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds per game for K-Central, received 7,791 votes to win the fan vote for Player of the Year.