Mt. Blue sophomore guard and captain Lexi Mittelstadt (24) takes the ball down the court against Skowhegan in Farmington on Monday night.
FARMINGTON — Being the second leading scorer in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference A North is quite an accomplishment for a sophomore, but Lexi Mittelstadt’s exploits on offense has also put her on every team’s watchlist.
Whenever the Mt. Blue Cougars girls’ basketball team comes to down, Mittelstadt, a guard, knows she will be singled out by the home team.
It comes with the territory for the 15-year-old captain who nonchalantly takes her notoriety in stride. She is averaging 15.9 points per game and trails No. 1-leading scorer Gabby DePatsy, who is averaging 21.7 PPG, of Medomak Valley. The Mt. Blue guard, who calls the shots in the back court, is also second in 3-pointers made, with 11.
“I like 3s,” Mittelstadt said. “They are good. You get three points, right?”
But the while spotlight shines on Mittelstadt for her strong performances, the Cougars are struggling through a 2-9 season. Mt. Blue has been in a handful of close games without a win to show for its gutsy efforts on the court.
Despite her achievements, it is really all about the team for Mittelstadt, who is equally as confident in the classroom as an honor student.
“It makes me feel good, especially as a sophomore, but it is better to have a team that puts you in the position to score,” she said. “I mean they look for me to score. If I am having a bad day, like I am not scoring what I should be, they look to push me and encourage me to score more.”
Mittelstadt has also learned to deal with the daily pressure of being one of the top players in the league.
“I kind of just want to go into the game to have fun with nothing to lose,” she said. “It is kind of what I say to myself every game. Just have fun. This your game, your favorite thing to do.”
Despite an up-and-down season, Mittelstadt and the Cougars have learned to deal with frustration.
“I kind of go by the saying — trust the process,” she said. “You just got to trust your team, what you are doing, what the coaches have for you. I really like that saying — trust the process, and it is big in sports.
“We are having a tough season and yes, it can get frustrating. We are getting there. I can’t let myself get down because it will affect the way I play. We have have these last few games that we can definitely get some wins.
Mittelstadt added that having good attitude also helps her teammates on the court and could lead the way to a playoff appearance.
“We know we have lost games that we should have one, but that’s not stopping us,” she explained. “We are just going to continue playing and hopping to get those wins. We are going into every game hoping to win.”
Mittelstadt and hoop have history
She also plays varsity soccer and is involved in the Mt. Blue girls’ club lacrosse team, but basketball is her game and she wants to continue playing it in college.
“My parents put a ball in my hand as soon as they could,” Mittelstadt said.
And the ball has never left the hands of the soft-spoken Mittelstadt
“My brother is out playing basketball. He is also looking to go to college, too,” she said. “My brother is one of my biggest role models. He actually transferred to Gould Academy to play basketball. He got a scholarship.”
A coach’s perspective
A proud smile flashes across Mt. Blue girl’s basketball coach Fred Conlogue’s when you ask about his go-to player.
“She is very unique in terms of her ability. She pushes her body probably more than most people will,” Conlogue explained. “She’s willing to sacrifice and take a risk, which makes her a special player because she is willing to do that.”
It can be painful as well as heroic to watch when the fearless Mittelstadt barrels down the middle of the key with a handful of opponents with outstretched arms waiting for her.
“Against those three or four players, she doesn’t have that fear of doing that.’
Conlogue said that with every matchup, Mittelstadt is adding another facet to her uptempo game.
“She knows she wants to get better. She know she has areas to still improve on, and that’s what kind of makes it unpredictable, I guess,” Conlogue said.
“She gives us the opportunity to be in ball games by her ability to score. One of the area I am trying to work on is getting her to help teammates be better and recognizing we need two or three scorers in order for us to be successful. She works really hard when she is not in the gym with us with trying to help the younger players get better. They show up and train with her, which is going to make us good for the future.”
But when Mittelstadt starts lighting up the scoreboard with her perimeter shooting, you can bet her opponents are on a plan to put a stop to the sophomore captain.
“We have had some heartbreakers,” Conlogue said. “We’ve been ahead four games at halftime and we’ve lost against teams that are ahead of us in the standings.
“Teams have made adjustments and been able have shut down that scoring piece of hers in the second half.”
Of course, Conlogue realizes Mittelstadt is under pressure when it takes the court.
“I think she is willing to take that pressure,” Conlogue said. “It started last year. I felt there was an enormous amount of pressure on her that I actually moved her off the point to allow her a little more freedom and her game actually got better playing the three for us.
“She is an amazing rebounder. I think she has 4.4 rebounds per game on the season. Those little things is what really adds up to our success, her playmaking and the ability to rebound.
“She would do it all for us. She would do it all for us if I asked to jump. She has four games with over 20 points, which is phenomenal for a sophomore.
“She is just an exciting player to watch and have that in your program is such a huge asset, and if we can develop the other pieces around it, we can turn things around.
“I am just excited to coach her. She has the kind of leadership on the floor, off the floor that we need. Her character speaks a lot for her.”
Mt. Blue’s Lexi Mittelstadt (24) gets bottled up as she tries to drive to the basket in a basketball game against Skowhegan in Farmington on Monday night.
Mt. Blue’s Lexi Mittelstadt (24) gets bottled up as she tries to drive to the basket in basketball game against Skowhegan in Farmington on Monday night.Mt. Blue’s Lexi Mittelstadt (24) moves toward the basket against Skowhegan.