The senior Sailors basketball player is finding success on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
Steamboat Springs Sydney Bauknecht often played basketball at a frenetic pace last season. She was prone to playing out of control.
Her athletic ability has never been questioned, but whether she could rein in her game was one of the biggest questions marks for the Steamboat Springs High School girls basketball team entering this season.
Consider that question answered.
Bauknecht, now a senior, has used a position change and a better understanding of the game to transform herself into the best guard on the team and one of the better players on the Western Slope.
“I just feel like it’s not playing point guard,” Bauknecht said Wednesday. “There isn’t so much pressure on me, and I’m seeing the game from a different perspective.”
During her junior season, she was forced into the point guard role, a role she often struggled with. But with the emergence of junior Megan Stabile, Bauknecht has been able to move off the ball and play on the wing. The move has helped Steamboat to a surprising 6-3 pre-holiday break record.
“One, it’s experience,” Steamboat coach John Ameen said about Bauknecht’s turnaround this season. “Two, it’s she has the understanding of being a point guard for so many years. She knew what it meant to be successful. There is a little bit of surprise (with her increased scoring), but she’s taking good shots and I’m not going to complain about it.”
After starting the season slow, Bauknecht has become one of the Sailors’ most consistent outside threats. With forward Nikki Fry providing the only early scoring punch, Bauknecht became more aggressive in the last six games, scoring in double figures in four of them. Without fellow wing Eryn Rinck, who is out because of injury, Bauknecht has helped Steamboat maintain a consistent threat from the guard position.
“I told her she needed to be more consistent on the defensive end,” Ameen said. “That’s where I really wanted to see her improve. Any positive offensive production she gives us is gravy. We wanted her to play quick and create havoc. But the development of her as an offensive player is starting to show.”
Bauknecht concedes that she still has room to improve. With the league schedule beginning Jan. 6 at home against Glenwood Springs, Bauknecht said the focus is on doing as well as the team can in league play and hopefully making the state playoffs.
“It’s my second year on varsity, and I just fit into the games more,” she said. “I can go out and play the entire game with no lapses of effort. We just want to play as a team, and I want to be more consistent at scoring.”