Chelsea Brackmann named to NOW All-Suburban Basketball Team
Eisenhower sophomore helped spark Lions' season
New Berlin Eisenhower girls basketball coach Gary Schmidt knew he had something special when he watched Chelsea Brackmann play her freshman season.
Her sophomore season was even better and as a result Brackmann, a 6-foot, 2-inch center, was named to the 2013-14 NOW All-Suburban Team, a squad that is selected from the coverage area that contains 26 schools.
"I knew she would be something special," Schmidt said. "She likes the game. She's a doer. She wants to get the job done. She had challenges and she responded pretty well."
Brackmann averaged 13.5 points, scoring 350 points, which was 82 points more than the next closest player. She pulled down an average of 6.0 rebounds per game.
Solid shooting down low
She was money in the paint, shooting 62 percent from the field and 71 percent from the free throw line. Schmidt feels that she can do it all.
"She has turned into a dominant force in the middle," he said. "She shoots well, plays defense and handles the ball well. She runs the court very well for a post and finishes.
"She is willing to dive on the floor at any given moment. Her hustle separates her from most. She had to wear protective knee pads.
"There is a lot more to come from this fine athlete."
The numbers back her coach up. She averages over 2.0 blocks per game, only 1.0 turnover.
Her overall numbers could be even better, but she played only about 22 minutes per game on average because the Lions blew away so many opponents.
Brackmann had 13 games of 15-or-more points, including eight of more than 18 points and three of more than 20. Her top effort was 23 points in a rout of Cudahy in the sectional semifinals.
"When she first came up, I was not aware of how active around the rim she was," Schmidt said. "Side to side she is real quick. One of college coaches said that. When she goes up for a rebound, she goes after it. It doesn't matter how much traffic is around her."
A collegiate recruit
Although she is only a sophomore, she is being heavily recruited by Division 1 schools.
Brackmann admits playing a lot as a freshman helped her this time around.
"I got to go to state, play at state. I was able to handle the pressure more this year after playing on the big court," she said. "This year I was more comfortable. Last year, I was a little nervous."
Brackmann also loves starting instead of coming off the bench and she enjoys getting the ball in the paint.
"My role is to rebound and put it back up and make the shots down low. I need to be strong with the ball; put it up when we need to score in the paint. They fed me in the Pius (sectional) game and set up a lot of plays for me."
Which is something Brackmann liked.
"It was a lot of pressure; a big game. It was nice. I felt the team was looking up to me making plays," she said. "It made me more comfortable. There was more high stress and I was so nervous last year."
Schmidt is looking for big things from Brackmann.
"It's most important that the talent level is there," he said. "She has more confidence now. She has embraced the fact that she is a starter. That showed on the court. You can see how she played. She dominated the paint."
More work to do
And Brackmann plans on getting better.
"This season I focused on moving faster, getting low," she said. "It's hard to get low. But I got low, moved faster. I was quicker.
"I want to focus on improving my skills to get better. I want to work on my outside shooting and dribbling, shooting outside of the paint."
Schmidt sees that in Brackmann and likes what he sees.
"She wants to improve," he said. "She wants to get strong, be more active and be a better shooter. From her freshman to her sophomore year, I enjoyed her progression."
Looking to lead
Brackmann, being one of the younger players on the team the past two years, let the seniors lead. Even though she will be a junior next season, being one of the two best players on the team, she knows she will have to be more active next year.
"She will be a phenomenal leader next year," Schmidt said. "She treats others well. She is respected. She always smiles, she has no enemies."
Brackmann is enjoying the entire experience on and off the court.
"We're definitely not only a team, but a family. It's unbelievable. We're best friends off and on the court."
She feels the same way about Schmidt.
"He is definitely my favorite coach," she said. "He is so nice. He understands us as players. We look up to him as friend and talk about everything. And he is an amazing coach. Amazing."
High Honorable Mention — Junior Sammy Kozlowski of New Berlin Eisenhower earned this honor. Both New Berlin coaches, Gary Schmidt of Ike and Jef Radtke of West, also earned this honor.
Honorable Mention — Two sophomores and a junior from New Berlin West earned this honor. Sophomores Claire Radtke and Sarah Meleski and junior Rachel Novotny were honored.
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