Sadie Stipanovich tops the 1,000 point mark
Like father, like daughter. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in the case of Westminster Christian Academy’s Sadie Stipanovich.
The Wildcat senior plays for her father, Steve. Her father was a star at De Smet Jesuit and the University of Missouri before going to play in the NBA with the Indianapolis Pacers.
He could score.
So can his daughter.
Sadie recently topped the 1,000 point mark for her career. She basically did it in three years as she only scored three points a freshman.
Topping 1,000 points is a big milestone in high school basketball. However, Sadie looked at it realistically.
“It just means I’ve had a great couple of seasons,” said the 6-foot-3 center. “The team has been so much fun. I’ve really enjoyed playing with these girls the last three years.”
The big bucket came in a 65-27 victory over John Burroughs. She was not aware of it however until she heard the reaction of the crowd.
“Some of my teammates were counting points that I had to score in that game,” Sadie said. “I had a feeling one of them would be in. When I shot the shot and it went in, my friends in the stands were cheering so I knew that was the one. It was a home game so my family was there and also my friends.”
Her father was proud.
“It’s a milestone that deserves to be celebrated,” Steve said. “Kids get it from time to time. If your on varsity for three or four years, you can reach it. It was exciting for our team and for Sadie.
“She played varsity as a sophomore and a junior. She’s been a consistent 14, 15 points a game scorer for us. We played a lot of games. We’ve gone deep into the playoffs the last two years and that helps because it’s more games you get to play. She’s a good kid. She’s a leader and we’re all happy for her.”
The big basket was one she normally shoots. Then there was a little celebration.
“It was a jump shot just in front of free throw line. I shoot that shot a lot, most every game. We had to run back on defense. Once we got the ball, my dad called a time out. They all hugged me and said congratulations. It was really cool. They announced it over the speaker in the gym.”
Steve was hoping Sadie would reach the mark in a home game. She needed 21 points against John Burroughs and she finished with 24.
“The gym was getting full with the boys playing after us and a lot of people were there to see it,” Steve said about Sadie’s big basket. “Before the boys game, they acknowledged her and said was over 1,000 points.”
Scoring 1,000 points was never a goal for Sadie.
“To be honest, I didn’t know I was going to get 1,000 points,” Sadie said. “A friend (teammate Kayla Armstrong) calculated my points and added them. She told me I was close. I never thought it would be a possibility because I wasn’t on the varsity as a freshman.”
As a player, Sadie can shoot from the outside. She can do more than post moves inside.
“Our offense is designed so we have a really big offensive team,” Sadie said. “It’s really fun. Adrienne (Horn) and Hannah (younger sister) can post up so I can take the shot from the free throw line or the corner. I like to shoot. I’m a pretty good ballhandler for a post player.”
Before she got interested in basketball, Sadie was a volleyball player. She still is. She helped the Wildcats win a state championship last fall.
“Volleyball was my main sport for a long time,” Sadie said. “I always thought I wanted to play volleyball in college. I quit playing club volleyball and played AAU basketball last season. I had a fun season.
“My sophomore year, my dad coached the varsity and I played for him. I fell in love with the game. My dad had taught me a lot about basketball.”
There is no pressure being coached by her father, Sadie said.
“Not at all. He’s awesome. I’m so close to my dad,” Sadie said. “It’s really fun. We talk basketball. We speak about things we can do, what to do on offense and what to do on defense. Everyone on the team loves him. He’s a really smart coach.
“He tells us stories of when he was in high school, in college and the NBA. My sister is on the team and it’s really fun for us.”
Steve said his daughter has the talent necessary to compete not only in high school but college.
“Sadie is a legitimate 6-foot-3. She runs the court well,” Steve said. “She has not played a lot of basketball in her life. She only played AAU basketball last summer for the first time. She’s behind a lot of the girls that have played year round for five or six years. She’s athletic. That’s why college coaches that were pursuing her knew she was 6-3 and athletic.
“She may not be as skilled as the others but the potential is there and the upside for Sadie is pretty good. She plays volleyball and she loves it. She was in the middle on the state championship team. She’s a late bloomer in basketball but it all worked out.”
With the team in the postseason now, Sadie wants to have the Wildcats do well. District play in Class 4 began this week. The Wildcats reached the Final Four last year.
There is an added difficult this year as undefeated Incarnate Word Academy dropped down to Class 4 with a fall in enrollment.
“We have a tough postseason ahead of us,” Sadie said. “We want to go into the postseason strong. If we can move on from district, we’ll have to play Incarnate Word and we’re ready to play to them.”
Once postseason ends, so will Sadie’s career at Westminster.
“I’ve been so blessed here,” Sadie said “In volleyball, we won state. I was with my best friends and my sister on that team. Now in basketball, we’re having a really good season. We all get to compete. We have good chemistry. I look back and I think of all the big fun games we’ve had. It’s so amazing how blessed we are.”
She will continue to play basketball. She signed to play at Saint Louis University so she’ll be staying close to home.
“Obviously, my family is important to me,” Sadie said. “I’m close to them. I wanted to be close to home. It wasn’t necessarily that I had to be in St. Louis. Coach (Lisa) Stone called me and she said she’d seen me play. She wanted to come and visit. I’d never seen the campus and I live in St. Louis. I loved the coaching staff. They’re so nice and awesome. It’s so cool to see where I’ll be next year. It feels so right.”
Steve said she knows what is ahead of her in college.
“Her older sister (Kelly) played volleyball at Arkansas,” Steve said. “She’s graduated and she did real well there. Sadie understands the demands of a Division I athlete. She’s going to embrace it. She knows it will be hard.”
Steve said many schools were looking at Sadie but SLU was the first to offer her a scholarship.
“She wants to stay home and close by. That’s her makeup,” Steve said. “She couldn’t be happier with her choice.”