Whether dribbling a basketball down the court or cheering her teammates on from the sidelines, senior Lucy Schmid’s high school experience would not be the same without being on the girls basketball team.
“Playing a sport is probably one of the best things to ever happen to me, from the friendships to the coaches,” Schmid said. “I don’t think I would be who I am today without basketball.”
Schmid has been playing basketball ever since she was in kindergarten. She played recreationally through the YMCA and in fourth grade started playing for the Bulls/Sox Academy. In seventh grade she started playing for the Madison Junior High team and made it onto the varsity girls basketball team at Naperville Central as a freshman. While playing as a forward on Central’s team, she also played for teams such as the Rockets travel team and Lady Lightning Illinois team.
Schmid has been named an all conference pick on multiple occasions and an all area pick in Naperville. She scored 27 points during Central’s triple overtime win over Naperville North in the regional final as a junior, considered a standout game by herself and her coaches.
Girls basketball coach Andy Nussbaum has seen Schmid’s perseverance and willingness to improve.
“I remember in practice one day that she took a shot a little bit in front of the line and I said, ‘You know, it would be nice if you could make those next year,’” Nussbaum said. “That’s all I said, and she came back as a sophomore and had just dramatically improved her range on her shot and her success rate. She listened and tried to put into practice something I had just casually asked her to do.”
Despite her athletic achievements and ability, Schmid is humble and willing to work with her teammates to help everyone improve.
“A lot of times, with all the sports I’ve played, people who are good are very obnoxious about being good, but Lucy is the complete opposite,” senior Amber Hunter said. “She’s so good, but she’s never like, ‘oh my gosh, everybody, I’m the best.’ She always wants other people to get better, not just to show how good she is. It’s much more fun to play with people like that.”
Schmid’s athletic ability and strong character have earned her the respect of her teammates.
“In game three [this year] she tore her ACL and our underclassmen did a good job of taking on the rest of the season without her, but there was such respect from the other players,” Nussbaum said. “Lucy got three votes for most valuable player having only played for two and a half games. That gives an indication to the level of respect the girls have [for Lucy].”
Having experienced no serious injuries before tearing her ACL during her final season at Central, Schmid reflected on the place basketball holds in her life.
“It was really weird not playing for once, because basketball had become my life because I love it so much,” Schmid said. “But being injured allowed me to look at myself, see how big of a part basketball plays in my life and see that it’s not everything, it’s just something that’s a really big part of me. I’m glad that I still get to play in college because now I know that I really miss [basketball] when I’m not playing.”
Schmid will be attending The University of Chicago in the fall and will play for their Division III women’s basketball team.
Although Schmid did not score 1,000 points during her high school career because of her injury, Nussbaum is confident she would have and considers her among the best girls basketball players Central has ever had.
“Lucy certainly would have scored 1,000 points and in the past 37 or 38 years we’ve only had 10 of those,” Nussbaum said. “So, for someone to be thought of as one of the top 10 players in the nearly 40 year history of girls basketball at Naperville Central, that’s pretty elite. And most of it came through hard work and gaining the respect of her teammates, coaches and opponents. That’s just the kind of athlete she is.”
Schmid’s growth mindset is evident to her teammates through her sportsmanship.
“When you have a bad game she’ll be there to pick you up,” sophomore Gabi Melby said. “But when she has a bad game you’d never know because she doesn’t let it affect her. She just keeps going.”