Paige Ravenscroft would like nothing better than to have her fourth year of varsity basketball end in her first state tournament experience.
The 6-foot-1 senior forward at Lincoln Lutheran feels that the Warriors have the makeup and mindset to do just that.
The All-State honorable mention selection is coming off a junior season that saw her average 14.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. Her contributions throughout the Warriors' 27-game season were consistent. She cracked the double-digit scoring column in all but three games while recording single-game-high totals of 26 points and 15 rebounds.
The Academic All-State choice likes the work ethic shown by this year's team and says the hard work and determination could take the Warriors a long way.
"We've done a lot of off-season conditioning," said Ravenscroft. "Some of us have worked with a trainer during the off-season. This is a group that seems to mesh well. We have a great combination of girls."
In the postseason, last year's squad ran into a buzz saw early and was taken out by eventual state champion Lincoln Christian. Ravenscroft said this year's biggest challengers figure to be Wahoo, Bishop Neumann, and once again, the Crusaders.
Attributes like leadership and court awareness make the Lincoln Lutheran upperclassman a coach's dream.
"Paige is a very talented player both on the inside and the perimeter," says Rich Olson, head coach of the Lincoln Lutheran High School girls team. "Her biggest asset to the team is her leadership and awareness of the game," he said.
In addition to averaging nearly 15 points per game last season, the Warriors' team leader also averaged 2.1 steals and 1.5 assists per game while shooting 41% from the field for the season and 73% from the free-throw line. She shot 27% beyond the arc.
She has been an All-Conference and All-State selection each of the past two seasons and has also made the LIT All-Tournament team the past two years.
Ravenscroft said the addition of assistant coach Al Simpson last year was a huge boost to Lincoln Lutheran's program. Ravenscroft played three years of select basketball for the Simpson-directed Lincoln Lasers club program.
"Bringing him on board was a huge boost for our program," said the LLHS senior forward. "With the talent we return - including three starters who are at least six-feet tall - and the coaches we have, I not only 'think' we can make it to the state tournament this year, I 'believe' we'll make it to state."
She is shooting for her fourth varsity basketball letter at Lincoln Lutheran. She's also earned two letters in soccer and one in volleyball.
Ravenscroft is also a leader in the classroom and the community. She is a member of National Honor Society and a lead member for Lincoln Lutheran's Community Outreach team.
In an Oct. 25 phone interview, the Lincoln Lutheran student-athlete announced she had made a verbal commitment the night before to enroll at Loras College, an NCAA Division III school in Dubuque, Iowa. Accepting an academic scholarship from the eastern Iowa school, she will enroll in classes beginning next fall and play basketball for Loras.