EagleHerald/Matt Lehmann
Marinette’s Katelyn Kitzinger gets off her shot against a Luxemburg-Casco defender during the Marines North Eastern Conference game against the Spartans on Feb. 13 in Marinette. Kitzinger was named first team All-NEC, capping off a record-setting senior year.
EagleHerald/Matt Lehmann

Marinette’s Katelyn Kitzinger gets off her shot against a Luxemburg-Casco defender during the Marines North Eastern Conference game against the Spartans on Feb. 13 in Marinette. Kitzinger was named first team All-NEC, capping off a record-setting senior year.

MARINETTE — Katelyn Kitzinger did it all for the Marinette girls basketball team, and her monster senior season was capped off with first team All-North Eastern Conference honors.

Kitzinger started at both point guard and shooting guard and led the Marines in points per game (17.5), rebounds (6.5), assists (4.2) and steals (4.6) while helping lead the Marinette girls to seven wins, a two-game improvement from last season and the second most victories in the past 19 years.

One year removed from being named an all-conference honorable mention, Kitzinger tore through the NEC to become its third leading scorer and finished eighth in rebounds, second in assists and first in steals. Her 80 steals were more than the total from her previous two seasons combined. Kitzinger diversified her skillset as the year wore on, operating mostly as a drive-and-kick player early in the season before gradually adding pull-up jumpers and 3-point shooting to her repertoire.

“Katelyn stepped up all year on both offense and defense. She was always asking questions and she really grew as a player,” Marinette head coach Zac Barker said. “She improved as a playmaker by not relying on her athleticism so much. She learned to drive to the basket to draw defenders to her, then kick out to an open shooter and other little things that made her teammates better. She improved in how she saw the court and she was always thinking three steps ahead.”

Along the way, Kitzinger delivered several record-breaking performances, including setting the highest single-game score in girls history by dropping 37 points at Luxemburg-Casco on Jan. 13 before narrowly breaking that mark three days later after scoring 36 against Denmark, hitting both marks without knocking down a single 3-pointer in the game. In the Marines’ rematch against L-C a month later, Kitzinger exploded for 51 points to set the single-game scoring record for both the boys and girls basketball programs.

In addition to single-game records, Kitzinger also achieved her career-milestone 1,000th point against Freedom on Jan. 27, becoming just the second female Marine to accomplish that feat. Her 1,000th point turned out to just be a warm up, as Kitzinger tallied 15 points against Oconto on Feb. 17 to break Marinette Hall-of-Famer Jenni Westphal’s career scoring mark of 1,119 points. Kitzinger finished the season with 1,145 points, the second highest total in Marine girls basketball history.

Watching her on the court, Barker said it was hard to not get caught up watching Kitzinger play.

“There were plenty of times that I felt like I should just sit back and watch the show,” he said. “She was always doing the right things on the court, so it made my job a little easier to sit back and let her lead the charge. She’s not too outspoken, but I think that it works to her benefit because when she talks, her teammates listen. She’s not a rah-rah leader, but if there was something that needed to be corrected, she made sure that it was. She was focused on what had to be done on the court.”

Barker added that Kitzinger’s biggest impact has yet to be felt.

“To watch her grow from where she was when the year began to where she ended it has been so impressive,” he said. “She never showed negative body language, never questioned calls and always talked to the referees in a positive way. She’s the complete package in terms of what you want in a student-athlete and I don’t believe that there’s very many students who can accomplish what she’s been able to do on and off the court. This was our best season in few years and she played a big part in that. Katelyn’s done more for this program than any of us will ever be able to repay.”