By Clayton Sauertieg
New Castle News
Carlee Stelter is the lone returning starter for the Mohawk High girls basketball team.
That hasn’t stopped the Lady Warriors from racing out to a 10-2 start this season, including a 5-1 record in WPIAL Section 1-3A play. Stelter is a large part of that early success and has made the transition from point guard to shooting guard seamlessly in the early going.
The junior averaged 15.5 points per game in two victories for the Lady Warriors last week to earn Washington Centre Physical Therapy’s Lawrence County’s high school athlete of the week honors as voted upon by the New Castle News sports staff.
“When you bring a kid back like that, who was a starter us a sophomore and went through the ups and the down, you bring back leadership,” coach Mike O’Lare said. “There’s a calmness that maybe the first-year starters have to get themselves. She brings a little bit of leadership and a little more calmness to her game that the other girls may not quite have yet.”
Stelter said moving into the shooting guard position is a role she she feels more comfortable in.
“Truthfully, I don’t really love playing point guard,” she said. “Abbey (Westcott) has really stepped up and stepped into that role so it’s made things really easy for me.”
Stelter’s play has reflected as much, as she’s currently averaging 10.7 points per game, which places her second on the team behind freshman Karly McCutcheon.
“It’s really just about getting my confidence up,” she said. “My shots didn’t really fall at the beginning (of the season), but I had to keep shooting and remain confident that they’d beginning falling sooner or later and they’ve started to do that of late.”
Stelter’s 14.6 points per game over the last five games, all victories, leads the Lady Warriors.
O’Lare said that her confidence and on-court IQ are part of what makes her one of the best players he’s coached. Stelter is a daughter of former Mohawk girls basketball star Lori Haswell Stelter.
“She’s a really smart player and comes from a really good basketball family,” he said. “Those things combined with her hard work have helped her improve. The biggest thing we’ve noticed this year as a staff in terms of improvement is her leadership.
“She’s not always vocal, but she’s as smart of a kid as I’ve ever had on the floor. She just knows the game so well that there’s constant dialogue while the game is going on between her and I in terms of what she sees on the floor. We’ll rely on what she sees a lot of the time and go with it because she’s just super smart on the floor.”
Stelter’s smarts on the basketball court have not only helped O’Lare, but also the other four girls she plays with.
“They can rely on her a little bit when they’re out there,” O’Lare said. “They’re just best friends, those kids, and they use that leadership and that knowledge that she has from being through this one year earlier than them.”
Name: Carlee Stelter
Parents: Lori and Randy Stelter
Known for: Her 15.5 points per game led Mohawk to two victories against Laurel and Beaver Falls.
Favorite NBA team and why: “Golden State because of Steph Curry.”
Favorite NBA player and why: “Steph Curry, he has a really good shot and that’s what I strive to work toward.”
Plans after high school: Hopes to attend Duquesne University and enter the medical field.