Setting up the team for success

Senior dedicates her time to basketball program


Photo courtesy of Gwyneth Stocker

Senior Gwyneth Stocker attempts a layup during her senior night game against Millard North. The Wildcats would end up pulling off the upset against the Mustangs, sending Stocker out with a victory. “My favorite memory from this year in terms of basketball so far was beating Millard North at home on senior night,” Stocker said. “Not only did we beat the number 5 team in the state, but we won on what could have been my last home game ever.”

Camille O'Neill, Sports Director

Dribbling the ball down the court, senior Gwyneth Stocker leads the team by giving them directions and helping them set their offense. Stocker has shown her passion to the Millard West girls basketball program for four years as the only senior on the team, leading the team on and off the court. 

Stocker earned herself the starting point guard position by her senior year because she worked hard both in the weightroom and on the court. Playing a major role on the varsity team the last two years has helped her learn valuable lessons in life beyond the game of basketball that she will take with her in her next phase of life.

“We like to use basketball as something that our players can learn life lessons from,” head coach Marc Kruger said. “For Gwen, I think basketball has taught her to be dependable. As a coach I can always depend on Gwen to be there, be on time, and lead by example for younger players. Another quality Gwen has is maturity. Gwen takes responsibility and is not afraid to ask questions of her coaches even if they are difficult ones that a lot of players wouldn’t ask.”

On the basketball court, Stocker has had a wide variety of success and adversity within the Millard West program. During her junior year, the team only had five wins, and this year, they are contending for a spot in the state tournament. The lack of success during her junior year taught Stocker and her teammates to stick together and stay motivated in practice, even when success wasn’t translating to games.

Although the Wildcats have been much more successful this year, being the only senior on the team has been an interesting experience for Stocker. She has held many responsibilities, including running pre-game warm-ups, making decisions that serve the team in the best possible way, and talking with the coaches if there is ever an issue with team camaraderie. She also ensures that the team has a bond off the court by helping the coaches plan events. In addition, Stocker also decides what the team wears on days they have home games, as they dress up at school the day of the game.

“Being the only senior on the team is definitely an interesting experience,” Stocker said. “I am going through all of the lasts without anyone else to share them with or lean on when this phase of my life is coming to a close. Many decisions and responsibilities are also only on my shoulders and I don’t have another person to come to a decision with or ask for advice from. But overall, it has been a good experience.”

She also has tried her best to be a role model and someone her younger teammates can look up to, both as a basketball player and as a mentor. She has lived up to that standard, and her younger teammates appreciate her leadership.

“Gwen is a very supportive teammate while also holding others accountable and encouraging them to work their hardest and do their best,” junior teammate Madelyn Wallor said. “Gwen is always giving all her effort to make herself and the rest of the team better. In games she is always aggressive while also playing smart to overcome challenges. On the court Gwen is a very vocal leader by using her communication skills. Being the only senior on the team she takes her role seriously. She is always communicating with the team making sure we know where we are supposed to be and when and keeping us organized.”

Stocker will take the skills she has learned through the game of basketball and apply them to her future career as an orthopedic surgeon.