ROCKTON, Ill. (WIFR) The Hononegah girls basketball team etched its name in school history with its third place state finish this weekend. But we may never know how this year could have played out if one senior decided to step away from the hardwood.
"Coach Weibel's the reason I'm still playing basketball. If it weren't for him, I definitely would've quit a while ago."
Senior Cali Schmitz opened up to her coaches and teammates about a choice she had to make. She told the team Saturday night she almost quit playing basketball before the start of this year.
"I was questioning it, part of the way last year. Basketball's never been a huge love for me. I mean I love my teammates," said Schmitz. "Just having a great coaching staff like him and having great teammates kept me in it and made me enjoy the sport so much more."
Schmitz played a key role in Hononegah's run to the state tournament. The 6'0" forward had ten points, nine rebounds, five steals and an assist in the Lady Indians comeback win over Benet Academy to earn third place in Class 4A
"I honestly don't know why she was going to decide not to come back because she has so much support from our coaches and her team," explained fellow senior Aeris Bulter. "I don't know the exact reason, but we're so happy she did."
"For her to come back and for Weibel to be able to be in her ear and telling her she's good enough and that she would regret it if she didn't play," said another senior in Jordan King. "I think she knows that now that this was one of the best decisions for her was to finish out her senior year with this group of girls."
And while Schmitz may not have always had an impact on the stat sheet, Weibel said she left a lasting impression in Rockton.
"She feels a special bond to these kids," Weibel proclaimed. "The thing she doesn't understand is how our younger ones look up to her and her work ethic."