Challenges are nothing new for Bloom Township's Kat Strong.
As a freshman, she was moved from a forward to a point guard. She struggled early, but came around and had an outstanding freshman season.
This year, coach Ron Newquist moved her back to the No. 3 position and Strong has flourished.
Tuesday, Strong and her Bloom Township teammates face another challenge when they face Chicago Heights crosstown foe and favorite Marian Catholic in one semifinal of the Class 4A Mother McAuley Sectional.
"I am very excited to play them because they are one of the best teams around," Strong said. "We have some talent ourselves and we want to come out and play hard because we will have to in order to have a chance."
Strong is averaging 15.6 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.9 steals per game. Newquist said she has not only improved her physical game, but has adjusted to different situations.
"Kat has become more mature and it shows," Newquist said. " things that would upset her and things she would let get her upset, she now just moves on. She doesn't let the little things bother her and put about them."
"I just move on if something goes wrong," Strong said. "I have matured since last year and part of that is you have to be a leader out there for your teammates. Everyone counts on everybody else, so you have to be able to help."
Newquist has seen her development as he coached her since seventh grade at Washington Elementary School, where he teaches.
"She is a a great talent and she is learning how to get better," Newquist said. "Kat is a good worker and she wants to learn and get better."
Strong said she learned a lot playing the point last year and it has helped her this year.
"I am a better passer because i was in that role last year," Strong said. "I know how to hit the player on the weak side when Bria (Gaines) is double-teamed. I have also learn how to get open so my teammates can find me."
She has also worked on her shooting.
"My coach got on me, so I practice, practice and practice on it," Strong said. "You have to be able to hit those shots."