Friday, February 16, 2001

Beechwood scoring leader closing in on milestone

Pohlgeers nears 1,500 career points

By Mark Schmetzer
Enquirer contributor

Katie Pohlgeers (right)
| ZOOM |
        Dave Hobbs is in his first season as a varsity head coach, but inexperience isn't why he violated one of coaching's basic fundamentals this week by looking past the next game — actually, the next two.

        Filling in as Beechwood's girls basketball coach this season while Flora Fields is on leave of absence, Hobbs hopes his senior star, 5-foot-11 forward Katie Pohlgeers, scores her 1,500th career point on Senior Night Monday when the Tigers play Silver Grove in their home regular-season finale.

        “She's the only senior on our team,” Hobbs said. “It's pretty much her evening.”

        Pohlgeers doesn't need to reach the milestone to certify her accomplishments. She is Beechwood's career-scoring leader with 1,472 points. Averaging nearly 24 points per game, she has a chance to reach 1,500 Saturday at Augusta.

        “If that game's pretty much decided, I might have to pull her,” Hobbs said,

        Pohlgeers already was an accomplished player when she arrived at Beechwood. Inspired by her brother, former Beechwood player Greg, she started playing in the third grade for a recreational league team coached by her father, Frank. Hobbs noticed her when his daughter, Kynley, and Katie played together in the fifth grade.

        “She actually had some great athleticism,” he recalled. “At that time, she could actually shoot the basketball.”

        Pohlgeers development accelerated when she started playing on AAU summer teams in the seventh grade. Knee surgery cost her the next season, and she didn't play as a freshman. The next summer, she played on the Classicway team with Mason's Racquel Ellis, Indian Hill's Sarah David and Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy's Kelli Gentry that won the national championship.

        “It mainly built my self-confidence,” Pohlgeers said. “I figured I was playing with the best players, and if I could do well against them, I would be all right. It helped develop all aspects of my game. Before I got to high school, I would settle for jump shots. Now, I can put it on the floor and drive.”

        “She's definitely improved her 3-point shooting over the years and, defensively, she's gotten a lot better,” Hobbs said.

        Besides her scoring, Pohlgeers averages 7.3 rebounds a game while shooting 54 percent from the field. Pohlgeers also is shooting 28 percent on 3-pointers and 79 percent from the free throw line. She led Northern Kentucky last season by shooting 82 percent from the line.

        “This year, the other teams have been putting up a lot of junk defenses just to guard her, but she still keeps her average up,” Hobbs said. “She's very good at taking the ball to the basket and getting open. The way she has to take the ball so much, she gets beat up pretty good. She's whupped pretty good by the third quarter.”

        Pohlgeers, who is co-editor of Beechwood's school newspaper, the Beechbark, and ranks in the top three students in her class, will continue her career at Louisville's Bellarmine University. She signed a letter-of-intent in November after considering Francis Marion University in Florence, S.C., West Point, St. Joseph's (Ind.) and Georgetown (Ky.).

        Pohlgeers, helps her dad coach his third-grade girls team and she also coaches the third- and fourth-grade soccer team on which her younger brother Jonathan plays — will major in child psychology.

        “It was always kind of between journalism and psychology, but I decided that I want to be a child psychologist,” Pohlgeers said. “When we visited Bellarmine, I sat in on a couple of psychology classes, and I could tell that the teachers knew what they were doing, and that they cared about the students.

        “The decision was real hard. Dad and I went to every school except West Point. They made a home visit. We made sure to explore all of the opportunities, but when I visited Bellarmine, I knew. The night I visited, I made up my mind.”

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