If there was ever anything giving Courtney Becker trouble during an Aquinas High School girls basketball game, it couldn’t determined by the reaction on her face.
The familiar smile rarely retreated, choosing instead to remain where everyone — especially teammates — could see it.
Becker wants everyone comfortable and in the right frame of mind to complete the task at hand, and her motivation was a smile that also seemed to indicate that no one ever had more fun playing the game.
“There were times that I struggled, and I had so many amazing teammates that wouldn’t let me get down or hang my head about anything,” Becker said. “It became my mindset.”
The positivity led to plenty of success for the 6-foot senior who is headed to Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa after helping the Blugolds go 81-2 with two WIAA Division 4 championships and three championship games in three seasons.
Becker, an inside force and one of the area’s top rebounders, helped Aquinas through a fourth straight unbeaten MVC campaign and to a fourth straight state championship game before the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the season.
She averaged 13.2 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.7 steals per game as a senior, but a PCL injury ended her season after a 21-point, 7-rebound performance in an 82-31 win at Holmen on Feb. 13.
Becker, who finished her high school career with 1,284 points and 799 rebounds, said this week that she is still working on rehabbing the injured knee but that progression is coming along quickly.
“I’ve been able to run and jump since April 1st, so I’ve been doing some new stuff since then,” Becker said. “I was only doing quad-strengthening things before that, and I’m still doing those, but it feel like it’s going pretty well so far.”
Becker, who was an AP All-State third-team selection and co-player of the year in the MVC, also has a basket to shoot at outside of her house and said she is trying to get as many shots up as she can during a time of social distancing.
Becker, who was the leading scorer for a 20-4 team at C-FC as a freshman, established herself quickly as a post to be dealt with the MVC and the rest of the Coulee Region. Her knack for turning offensive rebounds into points and limiting opponents to one shot became a big piece of the Blugolds’ approach.
That, Becker expects, will change a bit once she gets to Drake.
“They tell me they like my rebounding,” she said, “but, yes, I am going to have to work on my outside shot because they are looking for versatile players who can go in(side) and out(side).
“I’ll have to keep working on my outside shot for sure.”
But perimeter shooting isn’t necessarily a weakness. It just wasn’t something she had to do much of for the Blugolds, who had plenty of people to make 3-pointers.
Becker, who shot 60.7 percent from the floor, made 4 of 7 3-point attempts she took as a senior and made 14 shots from the 3-point line during her Aquinas career. She was 7-for-13 during her junior and senior seasons.
“When I was growing up, the teams I played on did 5-out motion,” Becker said. “So I was on the arc a lot then, but that changed in high school, so got a little hesitant to shoot when I got out there.
“I’ve been working shooting a lot to change that.”
One thing coach Dave Donarski wasn’t to going to allow to change was Becker’s spot on his team after the injury. She practiced with the team the leading up the final weekend of the season before it was determined that she wouldn’t be able to play.
Donarski put her on the Resch Center floor for one possession during the Blugolds’ semifinal win over Crandon.
“When he put me in the game, I had no idea he was going to do that,” Becker said. “He said after the game that he thought that might be our last one, so he wanted me on the floor one last time.
“It was special for me to be out there with my girls one last time and a special moment to me.”
In this Series
Super seniors: 8 La Crosse area high school athletes who received Division I basketball scholarships
- 9 updates