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Your Prep Sports
TIFFIN – As freshman starter on a Clear Creek Amana roster loaded with seniors Karsyn Stratton spent the first few months of last season just trying to fit in.
During the pre-holiday portion of this season Stratton has been busy standing out.
An impressive start to her sophomore season sends Stratton into 2018 ranked in the top 10 in the state in scoring and continues an ascent toward the state’s elite that began last year as a tentative freshman.
“Last year she was kind of feeling her way early in the season with all the older kids and this year I think that she realizes this is her team,” Clear Creek Amana coach PJ Sweeney said. “The girls understand that Karsyn is a team leader and they all kind of go around her and support her in that role.”
The conversion from freshman follower to team leader has been swift and mainly seamless for Stratton.
Stratton quickly became an on-court lead for the Clippers last season averaging team-highs of 16 points and six rebounds a game during an all-conference freshman season.
One of only two players returning with extensive game experience, Stratton quickly became the unquestioned leader for the Clippers as a sophomore.
Described by Sweeney as a ‘natural leader’ Stratton has embraced her new role as a leader off the court while thriving as the Clippers catalyst on it.
Stratton ranks 10th in the state in scoring at 23.5 points per game and has Clear Creek Amana (4-4) entering January riding a four-game winning streak.
“I wouldn’t say it’s my team, we are all in this together but I’m more vocal out there this year and I do feel more comfortable,” Stratton said. “I think my teammates trust me more this year too and it’s just a good feeling, they all have my back.”
Stratton burst on the prep scene last season.
The 5-foot-8 guard got better as the season went on, scoring in double figures in 15 straight games to end the season.
A four-sport athlete, Stratton was an immediate varsity contributor in volleyball, softball and track as a freshman.
Her first love however is hoops and Stratton made time throughout the year to get in the gym around the schedules of her other sports.
“She is a four-sport athlete and she makes a lot of sacrifices,” Sweeney said. “She’s doing track, volleyball, softball and even when those sports are in season she finds a way to get the gym and work on her game and that’s obviously what sets her apart is her commitment during the offseason.”
Following her strong freshman season Stratton made the decision to commit even more time to improving her game with the intent to move into the conversation of the state’s top players.
In the summer that meant following up morning softball practices with afternoon trips to the gym in addition to a heavy dose of AAU action.
During volleyball season this fall it required early morning or late-night workouts.
“I played a lot more in the summer than I have before and I get in the gym all the time, it’s my favorite sport,” Stratton said. “I think that work is huge. Putting so many shots up and making them it just gets your confidence up.”
The extra work has showed up on the court this season as Stratton has improved in every major statistical category.
She is shooting 53 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range this season, both marks are up from a year ago.
Stratton is also averaging 7.6 rebounds and has a team-high nine blocks all while being the focal point of every opponent’s game plan.
“She has tremendous talent but she is a great teammate, she is constantly pushing her other teammates and she is a great leader,” Sweeney said. “She is the first one here in the gym and the last one to leave and she is always encouraging her teammates to do better and her teammates love her.”
The biggest jump for Stratton has been from the perimeter.
She made eight 3-pointers while shooting 26 percent from behind the arc last year and has already hit 10 triples in 20 attempts this year.
“She has always had that mid-range game, she has always been able to get in the lane and pull up on a dime and jump over everybody and now she is expanding that a little bit,” Sweeney said. “I think to me she is really improved on her outside shooting.”
Stratton has also become more consistent.
She has scored in double figures in all eight games this season giving her 27 straight games with at least 10 points.
As a freshman Stratton had six games with 20 points or more with a high of 26.
In eight games this season Stratton has scored 20 points six times and has 28 or more in four of those.
Despite the lofty numbers Stratton believes she still has more to work on. With her work ethic that’s not just lip service.
“I think I’ve played alright,” Stratton said. “I need to cut down on my turnovers and I can be more efficient so I have things to work on.”