How this Harvard-bound Morton girls basketball player has taken her game to the next level

·4 min read
Morton senior forward and Harvard commit Katie Krupa moves the ball up the court against Peoria High on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022 at Peoria High School.
Morton senior forward and Harvard commit Katie Krupa moves the ball up the court against Peoria High on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022 at Peoria High School.

Not much more can be said about Katie Krupa.

The Morton senior has pretty much done it all in her four-year varsity basketball career, helping the Potters to the 2019 Class 3A state championship, a 2020 runner-up finish and the inaugural Mid-Illini Conference Tournament crown last season.

The Harvard signee has collected numerous individual accolades along the way — from being named unanimous all-Mid-Illini to first-team all-state by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association.

This season seems to be more of the same for the 6-foot-1 forward with one exception — she’s even better.

“You’re getting to see glimpses of her whole game,” Morton coach Bob Becker said, “and she’s dominant at the high school level.”

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Krupa and the fourth-ranked Potters (20-3, 9-1) host Washington (19-4, 9-1) on Thursday night for control in the M-I standings.

Krupa comes off a 29-point outing in Monday’s win over Canton where she went 13-for-13 from the free-throw line. Her Saturday consisted of scoring 24 points against then 3A seventh-ranked Lincoln, then dropping 28 points against Galesburg in a 21-point victory.

“She’s competing at a very, very high level for us,” Becker said.

Playing more relaxed

Krupa has played under less pressure this season. In the pandemic-shortened 2021 season, she was doing everything from handling the ball to scoring and all the little things in between. Becker says it "really wore Katie down."

However, the addition of East Peoria transfer and point guard Tatym Lamprecht has helped move Krupa back into the post where she’s been an absolute force.

Playing down low, though, isn’t anything new to Krupa. A plethora of good perimeter players from Tenley Dowell to Lindsey Dullard to Peyton Dearing to Maddie Becker helped Krupa get used to playing with her back to the basket during her first two seasons.

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“We needed me in the post,” Krupa said, “and we still need me in the post, but I’ve definitely been able to expand more just with our persona and who we have on the floor. That’s been very exciting.”

Now, you’ll see Krupa out in transition, leading the break and showing off her terrific passing skills. Improvement like hers comes from a tireless work ethic and the constant need for developing, especially her athleticism and explosiveness.

Morton's Katie Krupa reaches for a loose ball during a 2019 game against Richwoods.
Morton's Katie Krupa reaches for a loose ball during a 2019 game against Richwoods.

Always a leader

Leadership is something both Becker and Lamprecht point to as a key attribute Krupa brings to practices and games.

“Even when we’re down, she picks everyone up,” Lamprecht said.

Becker challenged Krupa coming into this season, asking her how many double-doubles she could record. He wants her to have a "dominant psyche and mindset, being a player in charge and in control."

Opponents have only sometimes thrown junk defenses or double teams on Krupa. A strategy Becker finds very surprising.

“I don’t know how she’s not demanding double teams,” the 23-season coach said.

Krupa deflects the praise.

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“I think we’re getting really good at everybody contributing on the court,” she said. “I don’t think you can double- or triple-team on this team.”

Finishing out her career

As the calendar soon flips to February, then March, Krupa’s tenure at Morton is slowly going to end. The goal, of course, is a third trip to Redbird Arena and the state finals.

But Krupa knows that getting there won’t be easy with the likes of Peoria High, Peoria Notre Dame, Metamora and Washington as well as the Potters battling it out.

“I think it’s so underrated,” she said of the Peoria-area girls basketball scene. “I think nobody knows about it until whoever wins this sectional, wins state. Every year.”

And how does Morton stack up for another state run?

“If we keep our foot on the gas pedal,” Krupa said, “and don’t take steps back in practice and stay consistent, I think we’re still working towards that but if we really put our mind to it, we have all the keys to get to state.

“I’m very excited about this team.”

Adam Duvall is a Journal Star sports reporter. Email him at aduvall@pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamDuvall.

This article originally appeared on Journal Star: IHSA basketball: Morton's Katie Krupa sees her prep career ending