Basketball standout returns to Austin High

Published 5:55 pm Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A former Austin basketball player is taking a break from her career plans to spend some quality time in her hometown.

Lisa Bue, who graduated from Austin High School in 2004 and played college basketball at North Dakota State University for the past four years, is back in Austin this week to help with the Sharp Shooters basketball camp and work with the Packers varsity team.

“This is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to come to Austin this long since I’ve been in college,” Bue said. “While playing for NDSU, you can’t just pick up and leave for a week. The last time I’ve been home this long was when I was in high school.”

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Bue would’ve helped with camps in the past, but NCAA rules didn’t allow her to participate while playing for the Bison. Now she finds that a few things have changed in Austin.

“There’s so many people here that the last time I was here working any kind of camp, they were second or third graders or fifth and sixth graders and now their high schoolers,” she said. “It’s crazy to see how much better and taller they’ve gotten.”

Bue’s return to Ove Beren Gym is an exciting thing for Austin head coach Gary Peterson, who coached Bue’s team that went to the state tournament in 2004. The Packers also made it to state this past season under Peterson’s helm.

“She’s such a great role model for the program and she played on these courts. She went through all the sharpshooter camps when she was in third grade. It’s nice to have someone come back to do the camp and just talk to the kids about how she got her college education paid for and you can get some good things by playing college basketball,” Peterson said. “It’s just great to have her back for this week. She had a great college career and it’s just really fun to spend some time with her.”

As part of the sharpshooter camp, Bue will work with fifth through ninth graders from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. this week. After that, she will work with members of the Austin varsity team.

“For the younger girls, the most important thing is fundamentals,” Bue said. “One of the first things coaches are looking for is a girl who is fundamentally sound, does she know the game of basketball? For the older girls, they can start to pay attention to some of the details, like using your left hand at the appropriate times and working on different moves instead of just one move.”

Two of the varsity girls at the camp on Monday were Tina Vorphal and Kathryn Gavin — who both played on the Austin state qualifying team 20-8 overall this past winter.

“She can teach us a lot and it’ll be good for the future if any of us want to play college basketball,” Vorphal, who will be a senior next season, said. “We were always at her games watching them and when they went to state, we were like ‘yeah we want to that’ and we did.”

Gavin, who will also be a senior, is pleased that her team matched the 2001 squad, by making it to state and she looks forward to learning from Bue.

“It’s cool to share (making it to state) in common with her and she shows it is possible to have someone from Austin High make it far,” Gavin said. “She said there’s so much that you don’t even learn in high school, so it’s nice to have her bring that back to us.”

Bue followed Austin’s run to the state tournament from Fargo, N.D. last season as she got results from her parents Terry and Sally — who still follow the Pack, and she exchanged e-mails with Vorphal.

“She gave me a lot of pointers as far as what to do if I want to play college basketball,” Vorphal said. “It’s really nice keeping in contact with her.”

The workouts with Bue are just the start of a strong summer program for the Austin girls basketball team. Besides the fact that some players are playing on AAU teams, the varsity team will hold regular scrimmages throughout the summer.

“I practice almost every day and I’m trying to get better in the offseason,” Vorphal said. “We all want to get back to state, so we’re working hard.”

And all that hard work should pay off next season for the Packers.

“They say the offseason makes the player,” Bue said. “So I’m just giving them things they can work on on their own.”

Bue is also doing some offseason workouts of her own as she looks to further her basketball career. She recently worked out in New Hamshire at a pro camp, which generated some interest. Bue may end up playing overseas.

“I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m hoping to know within the next couple of weeks,” Bue said. “Nothing’s set in stone. Basically I would sign a professional contact and go over(seas) and basketball would be my job. That would be great.”

If basketball doesn’t work out for Bue, she has a degree in elementary education and would likely work with children in some form.

Bue finished her college career at NDSU as the school’s 19th best scorer with 1,245 points and she was the 2008 Summit League Player of the Year. Bue is Austin High School’s all-time leading scorer with 1,592 points.