Girls basketball

Boone Grove's Steinhilber rises to the challenge

2013-02-13T19:00:00Z 2013-02-14T14:05:21Z Boone Grove's Steinhilber rises to the challengeJim Hunsley jim.hunsley@nwi.com, (219) 548-4356 nwitimes.com
February 13, 2013 7:00 pm  • 

Boone Grove junior guard Sarah Steinhilber initially wasn't thrilled with changes made to her free-throw shooting form.

Wolves coach Candy Wilson suggested Steinhilber adjust from having both feet straight to tilting each to the left before the release.

"I hated it at first," Steinhilber said, though she eventually realized the benefit of the change. "It allows me to keep my elbows in, and it feels more natural."

Steinhilber's last-minute situations at the Class 2A Hebron Sectional were far from normal.

She sank two free throws with 18.2 seconds left in the semifinals to extend Boone Grove's lead to three against Winamac.

A night later, her two free throws with 15.2 ticks remaining gave the Wolves a 36-34 championship win over Rochester.

"I had to do it for a second day in a row; I thought, 'Are you kidding me?'" Steinhilber said. "This was kind of crazy.

"Now I know that I can handle the pressure."

Steinhilber has scored in double figures four times this season, including 10 in the semis. She's averaging 4.3 points per game, and Wilson believed confidence was Steinhilber's key stumbling block.

"Some times sports can bring the best or worst out of you," Wilson said, "I've always thought she was a really good shooter. She has really good touch on the ball. She's finally gotten to the point where she realizes she can do it."

Steinhilber, a junior varsity player last season, realized her potential in a Jan. 10 win at Wheeler when she scored a career-high 12 points against the Bearcats.

"I got a lot more confidence with the ball," Steinhilber said. "(Starting point guard Claudia Cooper was in foul trouble), and I had to bring the ball up quite a bit. I began to believe in myself."

Cross-country has been Steinhilber's sport, and she hopes to run in college. She still finds herself engrossed more on the court.

"It was time to play basketball, and stop being a little baby about it," she said. "Now, I love to be out there. I'm looking forward to next year."

But Steinhilber still remains rooted in the present.

The Wolves face Whiting in Saturday's semifinals of the Class 2A Rochester Regional. Steinhilber scored two points in the 61-55 overtime loss on Dec. 22, and she doesn't want this season to end that quickly.

"I love playing with these girls," Steinhilber said. "It helps a lot when you're not expected to win. We all know what we can do."

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