Contributed Photo. Highlands 2010 graduate Katie Allen (11) makes a move during a game last season. Allen owns 418 assists in 97 games for an average of 4.3 per game in three years at Campbellsville University.
By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter
Once Katie Allen arrived on campus, the Campbellsville University Lady Tigers basketball staff took notice of a rare talent.
That’s excellent court vision.
“We get a lot of easy buckets in the open court because Katie pushes the ball up the floor quick,” said Miranda Denney, Campbellsville Assistant Coach. “She sees things before they happen. That’s nothing we’ve taught her.”
Denney and Allen’s head coach in Ginger High-Colvin know a lot about Allen’s position. They both also played point guard at Campbellsville during their playing careers. Colvin said Allen has handled the pressure well.
That attribute has pushed Allen near the top of the list of the most assists in school history. Allen has 418 assists in 97 games for an average of about 4.3 a game. Allen currently ranks seventh in school history. Colvin leads the list with 865 assists in 105 games for an average of about 8.2 a contest.
“You just develop (good court vision) over time,” Allen said. “The most fun part of the game is making things happen rather than something already being there.”
The Highlands 2010 graduate can surpass Shannon Wathen’s 600 career assists if she records the same assist total as last year. Allen made 204 assists last year in 35 games for an average of about 5.8 a contest.
“She is fun to watch because she can find the open person,” Colvin said. “If they’ll move for her, she’ll get the ball to them. She’s so hard-nosed. She’s probably one of the toughest kids I’ve coached physically.”
That total made her just the third player in school history to surpass the 200-plus total in assists. Colvin did it twice recording 246 during the 1988-89 season and 305 in 89-90. Rhea Beaty accomplished the feat going for 21- in 92-93 and 247 in 93-94.
Allen made a career-high 13 assists twice last year. They came in on Feb. 25 in a 75-62 win at rival Lindsey Wilson University and on Dec. 14, 2012 in a 96-45 home win over Wilberforce University (Ohio).
Allen ranked third in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Division I for total assists and in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.429. Allen also finished second in the Mid-South Conference behind 227 assists from Georgetown’s Kourtney Tyra. As a sophomore, Allen finished third in the country with 186 total assists and led the MSC.
Allen would not mind beating Colvin’s school record of 16 assists in a game. Colvin joked that if Allen hits 15, Colvin will take her out. But Colvin joked that Denney will put her back in.
“We always give (Colvin) a hard time about it,” Allen said. “It just makes it fun. If I beat it or don’t beat it, it’s still something to work for. Even though she’s competitive, (Colvin) is always pushing me to do my best.”
Campbellsville finished 25-10 last year, including 14-6 in the rugged MSC. The Lady Tigers lost 59-46 to Cumberland University (Tenn.) in the tournament title game before falling 71-52 to top-ranked Freed-Hardeman in the second round of the NAIA Tournament. Both tournaments took place in Frankfort.
During that season, Allen averaged 6.5 points per game and shot 42.9 percent from three-point range. Allen scored a career-high 15 points twice last year before tallying 19 in a 78-71 victory against Georgetown College in the MSC Semifinals on March 2.
Both coaches said Allen will be looked upon to score more as a senior with the graduation of two great guards. Offensively, the Lady Tigers will go from a Princeton Four-Guard offense to a more post-oriented attack. Campbellsville’s depth often wears teams down.
“I’m going to have to create a little more and work harder to get (the posts) the ball,” Allen said. “With the Princeton Offense, we could just run picks and get the guards open. We have a lot of posts so it will be good for us.”
Allen is hoping to pick things up defensively. Campbellsville plays a lot of man-to-man defense. Allen said Campbellsville added an offseason workout program that includes jumping ropes to improve defensively, especially in the rebounding department.
“You just have to keep (point guards) in front of you,” Allen said. “Some point guards are penetrators and some point guards just bring the ball up and run the offense.”
Allen majors in Sports Management with a minor in Business. She earned Academic All-MSC honors with a grade-point average of 3.25 or better in 2012 and 2013 with NAIA Scholar Athlete recognition last year earning a GPA of 3.5 or greater.
“You have to keep up with school work. You can’t get behind,” Allen said. “Coach (Colvin) is really big on going to class and getting good grades. That might mean taking homework on away basketball trips or doing it an hour before practice.”
Allen has suffered some injuries during her playing career. She fell on her left shoulder toward the of her sophomore year and tore her Labrum. Allen received a Cortisone shot and wore shoulder brace the rest of that season. A magnetic resonance image (MRI) revealed she also had a bone contusion.
“My nephew who was a football player at the time had the same injury,” Colvin said. “Every time he saw her play, he just shook his head. He said, ‘I can’t imagine with as much movement as you have in basketball, being able to play with that.’ She amazed me then. Kids want to follow her because of her toughness.”
But Allen said she had surgery on the Labrum after the season and everything was
fine for her junior year. Allen also rolled her right ankle her junior year, but it was not as serious. Allen has not missed many games as a result of the injuries.
Allen said the best part of playing college basketball has been the relationships she’s developed with her coaches and teammates. That’s not always the case with college student-athletes.
“Down at Campbellsville, the team is like a family,” Allen said. “We’re always together all the time. We get along really well. When your coaches are just as involved, it makes it all fun.”
These accomplishments follow a great career at Highlands. Allen averaged 18 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals a game as a senior for the 19-9 Bluebirds. Allen led the Bluebirds to the 9th Region semifinals her junior and freshmen years.