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All-Area Girls Basketball: Lodermeier displays skill and poise

Sydney Lodermeier was the unquestioned leader of a young Goodhue roster this year. After winning back-to-back state championships the previous two years, she helped bring up a new class of players. File photo

Skill, poise, leadership and determination are all traits needed for any basketball player hoping to become the best. Goodhue's Sydney Lodermeier displays all of those characteristics and more.

A senior and Winona State University commit, she has been part of the Wildcats' varsity roster since her eighth-grade year and in that time has racked up awards and accolades, both team and individual. She is a three-time All-State first team selection, two-time state champion, two-time member of the All-State tournament team, four-year HVL All-Conference selection, and a top-five finalist for Miss Basketball this year.

In addition, she finished second in team history with 1,857 career points, first in team history with 909 career rebounds, and compiled a record of 102-21 in her four years as a starter.

But the accolades only tell part of the story, it's how she composes herself on and off the court that separates her from everyone else.

"She's played a lot of different positions," said Goodhue head coach Josh Wieme. "She'd bring the ball up the floor and then go and play in the post. We asked her to do so many different things and she did it well."

That versatility helps explain how, as a guard, she nearly averaged a double-double every time she stepped onto the court with 13.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.

Wieme said a large reason for the success on the court is due to her confidence and poise. He first became aware of just how gifted she was during Goodhue's state tournament run in 2014, when Lodermeier was in the eighth grade.

"We were playing in the final minute (of a state tournament game) and she's making bonus free throws," Wieme said. "Even as a younger player, she always had that poise. She was never rattled."

Her poise and confidence became infectious with her teammates as well. A respected leader on the court and in the locker room, Lodermeier stood to set an example for underclassmen.

"She's always been a strong leader," Wieme said. "It's easy to look down on kids who don't get it yet, struggle or turn it over, but she never did. She never looked down on players, she helped pick them up and bring them along."

Character traits such as that often arise from experience not coaching, and Lodermeier attributes her's to being the oldest of five children.

"A lot of my friends and family friends have this mom factor about me," Lodermeier said. "That definitely contributed to the team; making sure there was no tension between the players. And just staying encouraging and making sure that people know that it's OK to mess up."

Lodermeier put that skill to good use this year as Goodhue was bringing in a new pool of players, most of them underclassmen with little varsity experience. Learning curves and bumps along the way were to be expected, but she put the team on her back and carried them to 21 victories. All the while, Lodermeier spread positivity to her teammates and helped embed the team-first mindset that winning teams have.

Looking back on the year, there was no bitterness in Lodermeier's words on coming up short for Goodhue's third straight state title. Rather, the only concern she had was whether her composure on and off the court would wear off on the new batch of players.

"I always remember people who have graduated that I loved to play with," Lodermeier said. "I just hope that I was able to have that same impact on the underclassmen that I played with and that they enjoy playing the rest of their years."

For Lodermeier though, her playing days are not over. She begins anew next year with the Warriors and it's a challenge she is looking forward to. It's also a step Wieme thinks she's ready for.

"I'm going to miss her, our team's going to miss her, but I just know it's time," he said. "It's time for her to take that next step and be surrounded by players that are really going to push her hard."

Lodermeier acknowledged she's ready to embrace whatever challenges await.

"If I'm not playing, I want to be contributing and encouraging other players and staying positive that way," she said. "But I'm playing in college because I love the game. You know, whether or not I'm playing, I'm enjoying the whole experience."

Jake Pfeifer

Jake Pfeifer is a sports reporter and outdoors editor for RiverTown Multimedia. Previously, he worked at Detroit Lakes Newspapers.

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