DIETERICH — Candace Niemerg was brought up in a Dieterich basketball family. Her father, Duane, and older brothers Craig and Cory had all donned the maroon and gold before Niemerg first got her shot at the varsity level.
Upon entering Dieterich as a freshman in 2009, Niemerg was nervous, hoping she could simply live up to the family name.
"I always grew up around basketball," she said. "My brothers all played, my dad was pretty good. I just wanted to be as good as they were, and I hope that I made them proud."
Over the next four years, Niemerg went above and beyond all expectations. The multi-talented center was a three-time selection on the EDN all-area team and picked up third-team IBCA Class 1A/2A all-state honors this winter during her phenomal senior campaign.
On Monday, Niemerg announced that her playing days were not over yet, as she committed to play for coach David Johnson and the Lakers of nearby Lake Land College in Mattoon.
"The thing that I really liked is that she is very much a team player," Johnson said. "She seems to do whatever the team needs. She's demonstrated she's not only a great scorer, but she's also a great rebounder."
Niemerg's do-it-all skills allowed her to join an elite club this season. The Dieterich leader topped 1,000 career points during her junior year, then followed that up with breaking the 1,000 career rebound mark as a senior. She finished with 1,592 points and 1,295 rebounds, eye-popping stats that have Johnson anxious to get her on campus.
"We're very excited," he said. "I think she'll be able to help us (with) rebounding, number one. Number two, her versatility. She can use both hands around the basket really well. Anytime we can get a player that scored 1,000 points in high school, that's just an added bonus."