IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Just before the Christmas break, in a home girls basketball game against Niles West, Loyola Academy’s Celia Satter was being called out.
Every time — or so it seemed — that the LA junior received the ball out on the perimeter, the Niles West head coach would yell out: “Shooter, shooter!”
The ever-smiling Satter, possessor of a pretty as can be three-point shot, has developed a rep.
The good kind.
Satter’s basketball career is on an upward trajectory. She’s on a course — if she’s not there already — to be the very next Liz Satter.
Liz Satter 2.0.
Not a bad path to take.
“My sister is my biggest role,” said Celia. “She’s the strongest person that I know. And I think she’s the reason why I play basketball.”
Comparisons run rampant with the Satter sisters. Likeable — and lively — they are basically carbon copies of one another.
Liz, who stands 6-foot-2, was a standout inside/outside player — and three-year varsity player — for the Ramblers. She currently is in her sophomore season at the University of Pennsylvania.
Liz’s junior season? A break-out season.
And yep, you guessed it. Celia, who is now 6-0, is keeping up with big sis.
“She’s really turned the corner,” said LA head coach Jeremy Schoenecker.
“We were hoping that she would have this type of season, especially after what we saw from her in the summer,” the coach added.
The younger Satter, a part-time player last winter, simply exploded out of the gate this season. She dropped in 28 points in a season-opening win over Hyde Park in the New Trier Thanksgiving Tournament. Eight days later, she poured in 32 in a 72-68 victory over Harlan and ended up with all-tourney honors.
How does she explain those scoring outbursts? She deflects it. She points the praise towards LA’s point guard: Julia Martinez.
“Most of my points in those games came on run-outs and passes from Julia,” said Satter. “She’s the greatest point guard. We’re so lucky to have her.”
Those lofty totals aren’t a fluke. Heading into the Christmas Tournament in Naples, Florida last week, Satter was averaging 15.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game and shooting 62.5 percent from two-point range and 40.0 percent from beyond the arc.
“Celia is a completely different player,” said LA senior Lilly Wehman, who recently became the school’s all-time leader in blocked shots. “She’s improved tremendously.”
Satter’s versatility is hard to match.
“I’d call her a hybrid four [power forward] slash shooting guard,” said Schoenecker. “She’s a match-up nightmare for [opposing] teams.”
LA’s coaching staff is making good use of her skill set.
Is she a two, a three or a four?
That pretty much depends on the possession.
“She’s learning to play at a lot different spots in our playbook,” said Schoenecker. “She’s doing a lot of duty.”
Being a bright person with a high basketball IQ has served Satter well.
“I guess I’m pretty good at memorizing things,” she said.
“I like playing guard the most,” Satter added. “But, on second thought, I like wherever I play.”
With her size and skill level and test scores, Satter is drawing interest from a number of high-academic schools in the Patriot, Ivy, Atlantic 10 and Colonial leagues.
Improved defense and running the court at a quicker pace certainly has helped her case to play at the next level.
“I went to grade school [Sacred Heart School in Winnetka] with her, so I’ve always known that she could shoot,” said Wehman, who will play her college basketball at Georgetown. “But I saw how much quicker she was in [preseason] workouts, I said, ‘aw, that’s good’.
“She’s done a lot of agility work with coach [Pamela] Swenson,” Wehman added. “She focused on getting quicker. She took it upon herself to get quicker.”
And the defense?
“That’s where she used to struggle,” said Wehman. “But that’s no longer a question mark with her.”
Meanwhile, Satter’s off-the-court mentality is … a lot like her sister’s.
Helping underserved kids.
Just like Liz, Celia spent part of last summer with a youth development program in Evanston called Eat.Play.Learn.
“Play sports with them. Teach them basic math,” said Celia.
No doubt, on most days, she turned Eat.Play.Learn into Eat.Play.Learn.Laugh.
‘Cause that’s who she is.
“She’s just a fantastic kid,” said Schoenecker. “She’s got a smile on her face every day at practice.”
Satter, it seems, is always ready to have some serious fun.
“She can be very focused, very vocal in games and in practices,” said Wehman. “But she also is nice, funny and a little goofy. She’s always laughing. And always making us laugh.”
By the way, the Niles West coach was spot on the other night. He was smart to call out Satter.
And Satter, to her credit, was deserving of the extra attention. She lofted in four three-pointers and led all scorers with 19 points.
Notable: Loyola Academy traveled to Florida over the Christmas break and ended up taking third place (3-1 record) in the Naples Holiday Shootout. Junior point guard Julia Martinez was named to the all-tourney team.