Greencastle-Antrim's girls basketball coach Mike Rhine described senior forward Katie Gelsinger in one word: leader.
So it was no surprise that when Gelsinger went to the foul line with less than a minute on the clock and the Blue Devils up by just two, she delivered. Gelsinger sank both shots at the line to make it a two-score game and clinch Greencastle's 57-52 win over Conrad Weiser in the District 3 Class AAA championship game.
"I was definitely nervous, but there was no way I was missing those free throws," Gelsinger said. "It was a big moment in the game, and I'm just glad I could come through for the girls."
Gelsinger's leadership qualities really stood out leading up to the Devils' semifinal game against West York. Facing the 27-0 Bulldogs, Greencastle was considered a big underdog, but in the locker room before the game, Gelsinger had a message for the team.
"I just told the girls that I'm tired of hearing that we're the underdog," Gelsinger said. "I told the team that we were good enough to beat West York, and we wanted to prove everybody wrong.
"I think all the negative things we see and read just adds fuel to the fire. When someone predicts we're going to lose, that just gets us that much more fired up."
After averaging 10.9 and 11.4 points per game over the last two seasons, Gelsinger's scoring output has dipped slightly this year. She's averaging just under nine points per game, but that hasn't stopped her from contributing in a big way.
"She's just always there," Rhine said. "Our 3-point game has evolved with Hannah (Crist), Jenay (Faulkner) and Jane (Herman), but you saw today how important Katie is. We fed the ball down to her in the post, and when the extra defender came she dished the ball out and we got some easy threes from it. She's been tremendous all season."
Gelsinger said, "Whoever is hot is the girl I want to get the ball to. I've been a little disappointed in my shooting, but I've been able to help the team out in other ways. That's how our team is. We all contribute something every game."
And now with district championships in both soccer and basketball this season, it's not safe to bet against a Gelsinger-led team.
"This group of girls is just so competitive and athletic," Gelsinger said, "and we don't like to lose. It's never a good day in Greencastle after we lose. Winning is big and proving ourselves means a lot."
Rhine said, "She's our anchor, and I'm glad we're going to have her for at least one more game."