When she was younger, Katie Kempter would watch her older brother Matthew put up shots, and she would dream about a day when she might be able to shoot like him.
“It made me want to work harder,” she said. “I always wanted to be as good of a shooter as my brother. That was my motivation.”
These days — thanks to that hard work — Kempter vs. Kempter is a debatable topic.
Matthew Kempter, a senior sharpshooter for the Bishop Eustace boys’ basketball team, is off to a strong start after suffering a season-ending wrist injury last season.
Katie Kempter, just a sophomore, isn’t far behind. She is already established as one of the premier shooters in South Jersey.
And this year, she wants to take her game even further.
On a team replacing one of the top senior classes in South Jersey — including star forward Katie McShea — Kempter is playing a bigger role on the Crusaders.
“I just try to play my game,” said Kempter, who averages eight points despite increased defensive attention. “It’s different this year. We lost some great players, but we’re working really well together. I don’t look at it like I have to score more this year. I just want to make sure I’m moving the ball, making smart decisions and helping my team.”
Kempter said she’s having more fun this year than on any other team she’s played on. She said the players are close on and off the court, and it has shown in the box scores.
Bishop Eustace has been remarkably balanced even into its bench. Junior Lauren Punk is in the midst of a breakout year, leading the 4-3 Crusaders in scoring with 11.3 points per game.
The rest of the team’s scoring comes from a host of contributors who have proven adept at sinking key shots.
“It’s definitely a team more than ever this year,” said Crusaders coach John Considine. “We’re not leaning on one person on offense or defense. They’re all about each other this year, and they’re learning every game. They’re getting better.”
Kempter, who finished second in the South Jersey Invitational Basketball Tournament three-point contest as a freshman, is a student of basketball. She’s prone to staying after games and practices to put up countless shots on her own. Anything to perfect her craft.
She described her family as basketball-crazed, and she said talking about the finer points of the game with her father and brother have been a key to her development.
It’s part of the reason that, even though Kempter is still an underclassman, Considine is comfortable looking to her to set an example. He has faith that even though the team is off to a strong start, things should only get better from here.