TEUTOPOLIS — Need a bucket? Ask a Niebrugge.
In the storied history of the Teutopolis Lady Shoe girls basketball program, there have been approximately 16 members of the elusive 1,000-point club; the last two to join that club were Lexi and Kaylee Niebrugge.
“It’s pretty cool,” Lexi said. “I think I was the 15th and she was the 16th, so it’s pretty cool following each other and scoring that accomplishment.”
Lexi and Kaylee’s father, Steve, also played basketball when he was in high school at Teutopolis and said that it “means a lot” to have both of his daughters achieve a milestone that doesn’t come around all too often.
“It means a lot to have both of my daughters be 1,000-point scorers at Teutopolis because of how Laurie (Thompson) coaches,” Steve said. “It’s a team effort; it’s never giving the ball to one girl all the time. You see it at the college level and these girls look to score all the time and don’t play team basketball. So, it’s a huge accomplishment.”
Steve added that he taught both of his daughters about the value of playing as a team — among other necessities — at a young age.
“To play as a team, always look for the open shot, take the ball to the hole and look to score and I know I stressed early in both of their careers to be able to handle the ball,” Steve said. “In girls basketball, you will go far if you can handle the ball at a young age.”
That knowledge has gone a long way for both individuals, even though both play a different style.
Lexi is more of a shooter, whereas Kaylee prefers to do her damage on the block and near the basket.
During her sophomore year at Lake Land, Lexi shot 37.6 percent from three-point range in her 30 regular season games. She attempted 194 three-pointers.
Kaylee, on the other hand, only attempted 71 three-pointers during her senior year at Teutopolis, shooting 32.4 percent from distance, compared to the 56.8 percent clip she shot within the three-point line.
Despite that difference, though, one thing that remains the same for both is their intelligence on the court.
“They’re both very smart basketball players,” Steve said. “Lexi has more of a quick shot; Kaylee has great court awareness.”
Altogether, those traits have led both sisters to stellar careers on the hardwood at all levels.
Lexi was a two-time Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) all-state team member, earning that accolade as a junior and senior, while Kaylee was a three-time nominee.
Overall, being a three-time all-state selection versus a two-time selection surely adds bragging rights to the dynamic.
It also aides the competitive juices that flow within both sisters.
“With her succeeding, that makes me want to beat her, so I think we challenge each other to do better,” Kaylee said.
“We’re still competing on who plays better and always pushing each other,” Lexi added.
While the individual awards favor Kaylee, what also favors her is the fact that she neared the all-time scoring record in the program’s history.
Kaylee was around 28 points away from breaking the mark; Teutopolis had one game — against eventual Class 2A state champion Breese (Mater Dei) — snowed out in late January and was never made up.
“I’ve worked hard all season to get that and with a game being canceled, I think I could have had it,” Kaylee said. “It stinks that I couldn’t be able to get it.”
Though Kaylee couldn’t reach the all-time scoring record at Teutopolis, she will have other opportunities for individual — and team — accolades in the future.
Kaylee signed her National Letter of Intent to continue playing basketball at Lake Land and will look to have the same successes that her sister had.
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