Courtney Fredrickson said she still remembers the looks of surprise while playing traveling basketball.
Despite towering over many of her teammates and her opponents, she often was the one bringing the ball up the court.
“Everyone was like, ‘You’re not a post?’ ” Fredrickson said.
The 6-2 Minnetonka senior still is willing to dribble the ball up if she grabs a rebound, but now she’s playing wing for the Skippers. Fredrickson was named to the Class 4A all-state team last year, and while her scoring is down slightly this season, her versatility on the court helped her team win its 17th consecutive game last Thursday against Wayzata.
“Though her numbers might not be as high in years past, our team is better and she is playing her best basketball right now because she’s so well-rounded,” Minnetonka coach Leah Dasovich said. “She’s not just a scorer, she’s not just a rebounder. She does a lot for us.”
Fredrickson led the Skippers in points and rebounds the past two seasons and is averaging 14.7 points per game this year. She has enough range to shoot three-pointers and the size to go inside, which often draws her opponent’s best defender to her.
She’s started for Minnetonka since eighth grade and is the program’s career leading scorer, but she’s been comfortable this season letting other players on her team’s deep roster take charge at times.
The Skippers have seven seniors, including three who committed to Division I programs. Fredrickson is going to Wisconsin, point guard Hannah Hedstrom is committed to Lehigh, and forward Lizzie Odegard is headed to Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
“She realizes now that she doesn’t have to score 20 points a game,” Dasovich said. “She will, and they come and go, but we have other kids who can score that well, too, and I think she realizes that this is someone else’s night and I’m going to help that person rather than do it all myself.”
Six of the team’s seven seniors played on a fourth-grade team together, including all three Division I signees. Hedstrom said she and Fredrickson go back even further to second grade, and she’s spent a lot of time finding her teammate on the court.
“Courtney definitely looks to score more than me and then I’m usually the one trying to set her up,” Hedstrom said. “I try to focus on defense a lot and get a steal and get it up to her. She’s definitely someone who I’m looking for to get a shot if we need one.”
All of the experience on the roster has given the team confidence, Fredrickson said, as the seniors attempt to make one last run at a section title. The Skippers have lost their section championship game three seasons in a row but moved to Section 2 this year because of realignment.
“This particular group doesn’t seem as tight or as nervous yet at this time of the year,” Dasovich said. “I feel confidence off of them when they get on the floor.”
Part of that enthusiasm comes back to the team’s do-it-all player on the wing. Dasovich has coached college basketball players before such as Joanna Hedstrom (Gophers), Katy Winge (Illinois State), and Caroline Shelquist (Cornell), but said Fredrickson and her broad skill set are unique.
“I’ve been blessed to have a couple [great players],” Dasovich said. “But nobody with quite as commanding a presence as Courtney.”
Ben Gotz is a University of Minnesota student reporter on assignment for the Star Tribune.