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'Cane best for number of reasons

Katie Steelfox finishes her prep career with many impressive stats.

By KRISTEN LEIGH PORTER
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 4, 2003


INVERNESS -- The numbers tell the story of why Citrus senior Katie Steelfox is the area's top player.

Such as the school career mark she established with 416 assists, including the 152 this season that also was a record.

The mark she owns for career steals with 411, and the single-season record with 142. The school career mark for the most 3-pointers with 96. The 1,044 career points.

Citrus coach Bruce Nelson, who has spent 22 seasons as the Hurricanes' head coach and one as an assistant, said that could not measure the value Steelfox had to his team.

"Not only is she a real good shooter, she's been our best scorer throughout the four years," Nelson said. "But she also provides good leadership with the ball, she initiates our offenses, and she passes beautifully. She handled the ball as well or better than anybody I ever coached. "Not only could she pass, but she could work the offense," Nelson said. "Her turnover ratio was very low for a person who handled the ball all the time. She averaged about three a game, which is not bad for your point guard in high school ball."

Nelson said to look no farther than Steelfox's school-record 152 assists this season. It is a notable number considering in years past Citrus guards got to throw the ball to 6-foot-4 center Kristy White, a 1995 graduate who played at Florida State.

"The guys that got to throw to Kristy White, assists were easy," Nelson said. "They're not easy the way we're playing right now."

Steelfox, who averaged nearly 13 points, 5 assists and 5 steals, teamed with Alycia LePage for one of the area's top backcourts. Steelfox liked adding to her assist total as much as her points. "I'd have to say I think it's a tie between making a really good pass to someone who's wide open and can make it," Steelfox said. "I know Alycia and I have made a lot of awesome passes to each other. It's between that and making a really important shot."

Another important number in the Steelfox file is six -- the seniors who will graduate with Steelfox, including Brittney Doyle, Myesha Hollis, Nicole Parsons, Ashley Worrell and LePage.

The 'Canes won the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference championship with a 7-1 record and finished 23-5.

"Most of them I've been playing with since seventh grade in middle school when we went undefeated two years in a row," Steelfox said. "We did pretty good for our senior year."

Steelfox said some of her fondest memories will come from a Senior Night victory over Lecanto and when the Hurricanes beat Class 3A, District 6 champion Williston earlier in the season. She also mentioned a win against Seven Rivers Christian when Citrus set a school record with a 28-point third quarter. And who could forget about defeating a talented Central team twice this year?

A low point in Steelfox's season was zero, the number of points she scored in a district semifinal loss to Ocala West Port. She had been battling bronchitis and running a temperature. "I felt so bad for her," Nelson said. "She played so well her whole career and had to play her final district game when she was just too sick to compete. That was really tough on her."

Steelfox likely will play in college and is looking at Warner Southern, Flagler or Southeastern. She also is considering Florida Southern for pole vaulting.

"Basketball's always been a part of my life," Steelfox said. "I've been playing since I was like 7, so I don't think I could just give it up completely."

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