When you think of Brookfield Central junior guard Caroline Busch, the first think you think about is her 3-point shooting skills. But Busch added a lot more than that to this season's team.
Busch was recognized for her improved play as she was one of two Brookfield players (East's Mariah Miller was the other) named to the 2015-16 Now All-Suburban girls basketball team.
It was the second year in a row she made the Now All-Suburban team, as the 5-foot-8-inch guard was also a first-team all-Greater Metro Conference choice for the second year in a row following an honorable mention selection as a freshman.
To no one's surprise, she was a key player for coach Mallory Liebl's 19-6 second-place squad (11-3). She became even more dangerous when junior Amanda Miller took over the point guard duties and Caroline moved over to the No. 2 guard, where she took advantage of her 3-point shooting skills and focused on the rest of her game.
'Moving Amanda Miller to the point, that helped a lot,' Busch said. 'She could bring the ball up the court for us. Whoever was free could handle the ball. I didn't have the pressure all the time. I played more on the wing.'
Busch worked on her defense, passing and rebounding, not wanting to be a one-trick pony.
'Caroline's rebounding numbers went up this year significantly because of the fact that so many teams attempted to take her out of the game by face guarding her,' Leibl said. 'When teams would do this, it may have affected her scoring very minimally, but she took advantage of it by becoming a great offensive rebounder for us.'
Leibl felt that teams trying to take away Busch's outside shooting was a blessing in disguise.
'It actually ended up becoming a good thing when teams would try to take her our of the game with a face guard because it opened up so many other opportunities for us, and Caroline did such a good job using it to her advantage,' she said. 'As the season went on, Caroline learned we needed her to become more of a playmaker for us than a 3-point threat. She definitely was getting better at that and will continue to get better at that as she heads into her senior year.'
Busch was happy with the change in her game.
'This year I tried do more than 3-point shooting,' Busch said. 'I wanted to improve my mid-range jump shot, getting assists to my teammates. I was happy with my rebounding. It was nice to kow I could help out on the boards, too.'
She did more than 'help out' as she led the Lancers by averaging 6.7 rebounds per game and also had a team-leading 2.7 assists per game.
'My sophomore year, I had a really good season, and I was hoping to come back and contribute even more,' Busch said. 'I think I did that, improved from the year before.'
But her bread-and-butter contribution was putting the ball in the basket, and she ranked as the second-best 3-point shooter in Division 1 as she qualified for the WIAA 3-point challenge.
'That was a really cool experience,' Busch said of going to the Resch Center in Green Bay and taking part in the contest. 'We didn't make state as a team, so it was my own little personal state. It was a really cool experience meeting some of the other best shooters in the state.'
Busch broke her own school record for 3-pointers in a season once again this year, as she shot 43 percent from the field and had an even better mark (46 percent) from beyond the arc. Of course, she led the Lancers by averaging 13.8 points per game.
Miller was asked about the challenge of playing against Busch the past few years.
'She is one of those people that if you leave open is going to make the shot,' Mariah said. 'You have to try and run her off the line. You give her a split second, and she'll score. Every time we played, she was an impact player. They beat us twice this year, and she was a big part of it. I appreciate her skills and wish her success.'
On a side note, Busch has a twin sister on the team, Elizabeth, and she said she enjoyed having a sibling as a teammate.
'Not many people get the opportunity to play on the same team with a sibling,' she said. 'It's special. We're close.'
Busch is looking forward to next season as well.
'We do have a lot of talent, and I'm already excited,' she said. 'I'm looking forward to working super hard to improve even more.'
Which is bad news for the Lancers' opponents.