Poper reflects on storied Polo girls hoops career
Bond with coach helps senior to reach 1,000 points, team to win first regional since ‘08
POLO — For Polo girls basketball’s Lindee Poper and Head Coach Jason Grobe, it’s been a lifelong journey of friendship, development and love for the game of basketball.
It started when Poper went to a summer camp back in the third grade that Grobe and longtime coach and father had put on.
“I’ve lived in Polo all of my life and it’s been fun to see Lindee and the rest of the girls’ growth and maturity,” Grobe, who finished his first season as varsity head coach after several years as a JV assistant, said.
“I don’t think that I would have achieved the success that I’ve had on and off the court without Coach Grobe,” Poper said.
That relationship went a long way this season helping the varsity girls team to their first Regional Championship since 2008 over longtime rival Amboy on their home court.
“That by far will be my most favorite memory now and always,” Poper said.
Along the way, Poper achieved a personal milestone, scoring 1,000 career points , joining only four other players in school history. Poper’s mother also played high school basketball and steered her to the hardcourt.
“My mom has always loved the game, we both play the center post position, and she has also helped and encouraged me,” Poper said.
Both of Poper’s parents are tall at six foot and above. Lindee knew that it was possible that she would grow at some point.
“One morning back in seventh grade, I woke up to find that I had had a serious growth spurt and found myself six feet tall,” she said with a laugh. “I’m 6’2 and a half now but back then I definitely had to work into my new-found height. I was kind of wonky at first but, as I matured I became more coordinated.”
Poper continued her development throughout high school, culminating with a very successful senior season. She led the Lady Marcos to a 19-11 overall record, 13-4 from Christmas on once she and the rest of the team got healthy. In the opening game of the season against Morrison, Poper sustained a high-ankle sprain that kept her out of action for two weeks, which didn’t sit well with one of the captains of the team.
“It was really tough mentally to sit out knowing that we had a very good group of players and it was my last year,” Poper said. “I stayed strong and was determined to come back even better.“ That she did, leading the squad to five of six wins where she scored in double figures in all of them. Poper even posted a triple double in a 53-41 win over Genoa-Kingston back on Jan. 12, finishing with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 11 blocked shots. Grobe appreciated the fact that Poper didn’t say much about her milestone and concentrated on the team’s success.
“She always led by example and was vocal in huddles during timeouts and never once asked about how many points she needed to tie the record,” Grobe said. “Her hard work and physical post play with help her continued success at the next level.”
Poper will continue her playing career at Sauk Valley Community College for two years with the hopes of finishing up at a four-year university.
“Right from the first visit to SVCC, I loved the atmosphere, the team and coaching staff, “she said. “I decided pretty quickly and look forward to new challenges both on the court and in the classroom.”