HAMMOND — Kristian Steele didn’t want to go to Bishop Noll.
When the Warriors senior transferred from Morton after her sophomore year, it wasn’t exactly up to her. Her parents made the call.
But two years of winning, of undefeated Greater South Shore Conference championships, of becoming a silent leader, a sectional title and countless other memories, has changed her mind.
“I didn’t want leave my home school at all,” Steele said. “Once I saw who all was going to be here (on the team), I was just excited, especially about basketball.”
Basketball is important in Steele’s family. The Noll bleachers are always chock full of loud and boisterous parents and cousins and aunts and uncles and friends. Almost all of them played at some point.
“Every game, at least 10 people come, supporting me. Every game. And they talk to me the whole game,” Steele said. “I know that I got support all through high school, all through the games, definitely. My family is everything.”
They both cheer and offer constructive criticism that Steele can hear on the court. That vocal nature is not necessarily something that Steele inherited, Warriors coach Vanita Golston said.
“She’s a quiet kid,” Golston said. “She works hard but she lets her work do the talking for her. She’s really humble, willing to fill whatever need we have on the team if she’s got to be a post player or a perimeter player. She’s an unselfish teammate.”
The 5-foot-9 Steele can play four spots on the floor, but there’s no doubt where she wants to be.
“I’m a big person at heart so I just rebound a lot,” Steele said. “I play the post sometimes, but with the numbers that we go, I just interchange a lot.”
She averages 6.9 rebounds per game to lead Bishop Noll. But she also scores 8.0 points per contest and can be a defensive menace, coming up with seven steals against Griffith and four against Wheeler this season.
She had at least two steals 12 times and blocked 18 shots this year.
“I like to be all over. I like to pass. I like to rebound,” Steele said. “Scoring’s not a big deal to me, really.”
After the Warriors’ 61-29 win over Whiting on Jan. 18 that clinched the GSSC title on senior night, it was Steele who was carrying around the trophy.
“We love to see things like that (from seniors),” Golston said. “Her family, they’ve been constant supporters. To see her perform well on her last home game here, it makes us feel good. It makes us feel proud.”