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Going one-on-one with Bixby freshman Kate Wernli – Presented by Bixby Flower Basket

Bixby freshman standout Kate Wernli has been a valuable piece to the Lady Spartans’ success on the hardwood this season.

The 5-foot-10 guard/forward is averaging over 10 points, and shooting nearly 40 percent from 3-point territory.

Bixby, 18-7 on the season under head coach Tina Thomas, has put together back-to-back impressive performances to open postseason play. The Lady Spartans defeated Enid, 76-21, and followed with a 74-22 win over Owasso to claim a Class 6A East Regional Tournament championship.

The Lady Spartans resume postseason tournament action Thursday when they take on Norman in an area championship game.

Lady Spartans’ head coach Tina Thomas on Kate Wernli: “Kate is a freshman with nice size, shot and basketball IQ.”

How long have you played basketball?

Kate: Since birth. Lol. I started playing when I was 4. My dad coached.

Do you play any other sports?

Kate: I also play soccer.

How do you balance your time between sports and academics or other activities?

Kate: I’m blessed to have a very supportive family and coaches who help me keep it together. God, Family, school / basketball, in that order, is how I prioritize.

Do you have any goals this year in basketball or academics?

Kate: My biggest goal is to help my team win a State Championship! I only get one year of HS to play with my sister and we want to do it together. The goal is always straight As in school.

What professional athlete do you model your game after and why?

Kate: The athlete that’s my biggest role model is my mom. She is the best basketball player I know.

What is your favorite drill to do in training and why?

Kate: My favorite drill is 32 shooting because it’s a fun shooting competition against yourself and your teammates.

What are your strengths and what have you improved on the most over the course of your high school career?

Kate: Getting to the basket has always been my strength since I was little. I’ve focused hard on my 3-point shot over the last six months. Shooting workouts at 6 a.m. with my sister for all of preseason has helped me a lot.

What are your thoughts on the season from both an individual and team standpoint?

Kate: I want to be the hardest worker in the gym, encourage my teammates and be the best 6A team in OK. 

What’s your most memorable basketball moment during your high school career?

Kate: The first time I took the court in a Bixby jersey with “The 4” in Bartlesville. I had a career-best 32 points with Team Griffin last summer.

What do you love most about being a student-athlete at your school and why?

Kate: Game days are so fun! The teachers and your friends talking about your game make you feel good and connected. It makes me feel like they care about what I care about. I also think the teachers appreciate kids who try hard in the classroom and play sports. They will do anything to help you.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Kate: I love going to youth group, baking anything sweet, and I love hanging with my friends.

What’s a big achievement you’ve had?

Kate: Being on the floor with senior players like Gracy, Gentry, Alyssa and Meredith has been a goal of mine for as long as I can remember. It’s an honor to play with them my freshman year.

What qualities do you think make someone a good teammate or leader?

Kate: Great leaders set the standard in work ethic, hold teammates accountable in a positive way, and are intentional to develop relationships with everyone on the team. I think to be a great leader you have to have the trust and respect of your teammates. 

What are your plans after high school?

Kate: My goal is to play college basketball.

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