In three years at Greenfield-Central, Katie Helgason has become accustomed to a family-like atmosphere.
Fresh off a breakout basketball campaign in which the senior-to-be was selected as an Indiana Junior All-Star (south group), Helgason was in search of the same type of feeling in her college of choice.
She didn’t have to look far.
After averaging 11 points and 4.4 assists per game last season, recruiting picked up heavily for the three-sport athlete, who also plays soccer and runs track. Although, her decision to attend Ball State University came relatively easy.
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“It was a perfect fit for me, because the coaches and team made me feel like family,” Helgason said, who verbally committed to the Cardinals on June 20. “It’s close to home, so my family will still be able to support me at games.”
Helgason, who plans to become a teacher, also noted the school’s strong education program. According to Greenfield-Central head basketball coach Doug Laker, Ball State is a program heading in the right direction.
“I like their coaching staff. I’m a huge fan of Ball State,” Laker said. “Everything about it is going good. They just keep winning. I like their system and what they are doing.”
Helgason helped the Cougars (23-5) earn a sectional championship last season while finishing first in the Hoosier Heritage Conference at 7-0. She had a season-high 20 points in a win against Connersville. After scoring 17 points in an opening-round regional victory over Plainfield, Helgason netted 11 points in Greenfield-Central’s 46-45 loss to Roncalli for the regional title.
For the season, the super-quick Helgason, who likely will continue her career as a point guard in college, averaged 2.8 steals and 2.6 rebounds per game while shooting 37 percent from the field. She led with team in 3-point shooting, as well, with 40 made field goals.
However, Ball State, which was impressed with Helgason’s defensive skills, would like the 5-foot-7 guard to work on her pull-up jumper and get her shot off at a quicker rate during the next year.
“They like how hard she plays,” Laker said. “She’s just a great team player and a great system player. Her defense is key.
“She just needs to be consistent, hit open jump shots and get her teammates in the right spots at the right times. It sounds simple. As a point guard, you are an extension of your head coach. At the end of the year when we really started playing well, she adjusted.”
Greenfield-Central will need it next year, too, as coach Laker has added a handful of tough opponents — like Homestead for example — in hopes of preparing the Cougars for another deep postseason run.
“We are going to take it one game at a time,” Laker said.
Ball State, which is also recruiting Greenfield-Central forward Madison Wise (2017), finished 22-10 last season and lost to St. Louis in the second round of the NIT, 59-55. The Cardinals beat Iowa 77-72 in the opening round.
Two seasons ago, Ball State finished 17-14 and lost in the first round of the NIT.
“Every other visit I went on I always compared it to Ball State,” Helgason said. “My first visit there felt like home.”