A Step Above — Crawfordsville’s Lauren Kellerman takes game to next level, earns 2019 Journal Review Girls Basketball Player of the Year
March 27, 2019
Grimacing with every step up and down the floor in the old Turkey Run High School gymnasium, Lauren Kellerman knew she was hurt, but she didn’t want to admit it.
It was just four days before Christmas — in the middle of the girls basketball season — and by the end of the Athenians’ girls basketball game against Parke Heritage, Kellerman was hardly able to walk on her own power.
“I knew right when it happened that I might be hurt, but I thought it was just something I could just play through,” she said. “After a few trips down the court the pain got worse. Our trainer took a look at my foot and I told him that I thought I could still finish the game. I think I really started to realize that something might be wrong when I couldn’t even get my shoe on or walk on two feet.”
Kellerman had two fractures in her right foot, but only missed one game. She bounced back, powered through the pain and led the Athenians in scoring on her way to a first-team selection by the Sagamore Conference. These accolades have earned Kellerman the 2019 Journal Review Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
“After missing one game I realized that this was not how I wanted my season to end. I felt like I was letting down the team and sitting out wasn’t any fun,” she said. “I put an insert in my shoe and eased back into playing. Cutting and moving side to side was a problem and I was slow coming back the first few games. As the season progressed, it was more of a mental thing than a physical thing.”
Leading Crawfordsville with 14.6 points per game and 6.3 rebounds per game, Athenians coach Tony Bean saw Kellerman’s natural improvement coupled with the emergence of teammates help lead to such an improvement.
“I think a lot of it is just natural improvement by getting older and playing in so many games,” he said. “I mean experience does an awful lot to help you, and then some of her teammates, our talent pool changed a little bit, and she was playing with teammates that could help her out.”
Bean felt like the Athenians didn’t have to rely on Kellerman to do as many things like handling the ball, and that led to her focusing on the things she does really well.
Kellerman, a junior, continues to run cross country in the fall, and play softball in the spring, and she believes her strength and conditioning have set her apart from other athletes.
“One of the biggest factors was getting mentally and physically stronger,” she said. “Getting up at 7 a.m. five days a week over the summer and running several miles followed by cross fit and lifting weights for cross country not only set me ahead from a physical standpoint, but a mental one too.”
For the Athenians as a whole, a strong freshmen class allowed them to be more athletic and quick this season, and Kellerman felt like they were able to run more offensive and defensive sets that allowed her to be freed up and score easier. Crawfordsville posted just a 4-20 record on the season, but won their first Sagamore Conference game in three years, and beat country rival Southmont twice, including in the sectional.
Looking ahead to next season, Kellerman will have a chance to go down as one of the best basketball players of all-time at Crawfordsville. She currently sits at 822 career points, and Bean knows that she will put in the necessary work to eclipse the 1,000-point mark early in her senior season.
“She needs to continue to develop every aspect of her game, and she will do that,” he said. “She will spend time this summer shooting the ball and working on drives, and working on special moves and it will just happen naturally. I think she will get stronger over the summer too, which will help out with the physical part of the game.”
Kellerman has no interest in individual accomplishments though. Her goal for next season is very simple.
“My goals are very simple. I want to win more games and I want people to come watch us play and it all starts with winning,” she said. “I hope to become a better leader and I want to be part of the reason that this program is turned around. I look up to my brothers a lot and I think I’d give just about any award to have a season as recognized, successful, and memorable as theirs.”