Area Female Athlete: S-M's Robben ready to take flight
Amber Robben Year: Sophomore School: Staples-Motley Sport: Basketball Position: Point guard Highlights: Scored 17 points against Pillager Goal No. 1: Win a starting job. Amber Robben did just that as she runs the point for the 17-5 Staples-Motley...
Position: Point guard
Highlights: Scored 17 points against Pillager
Goal No. 1: Win a starting job.
Amber Robben did just that as she runs the point for the 17-5 Staples-Motley Cardinals girls basketball team.
Goal No. 2: Be the best she can be on defense. In Robben's opinion that's her biggest strength on the court
"She is one of the best defenders on our team," said Cardinals head coach Craig Wolhowe. "She is always guarding the other team's top perimeter player. She is quick. She has a really good knack of harassing the ball handler and is really good about knowing who she is guarding and trying to take their strengths away."
Goal No. 3: Improve her outside shot.
Robben scored a game-high 17 points Feb. 12 in the Cardinals' 61-23 victory at Pillager. The 5-foot-4 sophomore guard did most of her damage from the perimeter.
"I just wasn't feeling my shot during warmups," said Robben. "During the game, though, they just kept falling so I kept shooting. I didn't want to get too confident over it. Even when I was shooting I wasn't very confident and then when it went in all I could think about was just keep playing."
Robben's main goal this season should have been build confidence in her knee, herself and her shot. She tore her ACL between her eighth- and ninth-grade seasons and missed all but six games last year. Prior to the injury Wolhowe said Robben was a good ball handler who attacked the basket and was a solid defensive player.
"She is just kind of getting back in the groove," said Wolhowe. "As the year has gone on and even in the summer, you could see she was getting back to where she was. You can just see the confidence is growing. She's putting in the extra time and you love to see that extra work pay off."
Robben's numbers aren't eye-popping. Through the team's first 21 games, she has scored 94 points and is second on the team in assists with 31. She's shooting 45 percent from 3-point and 41 percent from the field. Also as a point guard, she's only turned the ball over 22 times.
"I know I have to be a leader out there and a threat," Robben said. "Teams are always trying to shut down (teammate and leading scorer) Grace (Wolhowe) the best they can so I just need to keep shooting the best I can. Offensively, though, I think my goal is to get the ball to whoever is open and if I'm open just shoot."
Robben admitted the knee injury was devastating. She said mentally it took her nine months to get over and she still thinks about her knee as it sometimes gets sore.
"After my surgery I got to a point where I was super sad and upset that I couldn't play," Robben said. "I just kept working hard in physical therapy and even outside of that. Even when I couldn't run, I was still dribbling and shooting. After I could start running, I did as much as I could.
"Then I started practicing my outside shooting as much as possible. If I was in the gym I would do a few layup drills and then shoot 3s. I wouldn't just shoot them though. I tried to always have someone running out at me to simulate a game situation."
During the Cardinals' 71-67 win over Foley Jan. 27, Robben scored eight second-half points by attacking the basket.
"She is starting to play with confidence and that's exactly what we were hoping for," said Wolhowe. "We need her to have confidence in herself. I'm excited for her. A confident Amber is going to make us a much stronger team."
Other notable performances:
Basketball: Shania Glenz, Verndale, finished with 30 points against New York Mills to reach 1,000 career points and added 16 points and 18 rebounds against Parkers Prairie.
Grace Wolhowe, Staples-Motley, scored 23 points against Wadena-Deer Creek.
Haley Wiebolt, Pequot Lakes, finished with 21 points against Grand Rapids.
Gabby Martin, Pillager, scored 20 points against Bertha-Hewitt.
Megan Felthous, Pine River-Backus, finished with 26 points against Clearbrook-Gonvick.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 855-5856 or email@example.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop .