Assumption's run to a state championship was certainly teamwork at its best. Senior Hannah Skibba provided leadership while junior Mary Sigler scored plenty of points throughout the season.
But our athlete of the week, freshman Gena Grundhoffer, should be credited for stepping in when the royals needed her most.
Grundhoffer knows very well how far she's come in only her first year playing basketball at Assumption.
"When I first started the season, I wasn't starting, I was second string," Grundhoffer said. "But I worked really, really hard during practice, coach helped me with stuff. I weightlifted, did agility stuff, came in the morning, worked out."
The hard work paid off. The freshman made her way onto the starting lineup, scoring 15 points in the state semifinal victory over Newman Catholic.
But when Sigler, the team's leading scorer, fouled out at a crucial moment in the championship game, Grundhoffer stepped in.
"I was so nervous, if I would have made a mistake, I probably would have started crying on the court," Grundhoffer said. "Because all these emotions were going through me. I mean it was nerve racking to be playing in that huge arena and everyone watching you, it's on TV."
Grundhoffer put nerves aside and scored six of Assumption's final eight points, helping the royals win their first WIAA state title.
"We know what type of player she's going to be and what type of player she is. When a player stands up there and shoots free throws like she did, that's pretty big time," head coach Joe Birkhauser said.
"I can come back and be like, I was in that, and we won, and I was a big contributor and it's just amazing," Grundhoffer said.
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