Franklin Now All-Suburban forward Carly Graverson knows she is following a long line of broad-shouldered, talented young women in the history of Sabers girls basketball.
And she has tried to follow the tradition and carry it on as best she could in leading the Sabers to a somewhat successful, somewhat frustrating 17-7 record this winter.
'I like to think I did,' she said. 'It's interesting. I see all the young girls (youth programs, freshmen, junior varsity), and they all know who I am. I love being a role model because players like Cassidy (all-state wing Mihalko) and Mariah (Now All-Suburban selection Hill) were role models to me. They represent the history of the place. That's why I love being a Franklin Saber.'
This is the 5-11 Graverson's second berth on the All-Suburban team. She earned her first in 2014 as a sophomore, but a foot injury cost her much of her junior year. She rallied this season to post some impressive numbers for a Franklin team that won its own Rathke Invitational in impressive fashion back in December but which still couldn't quite break through the glass wall of border rival Oak Creek in the Southeast Conference race.
The versatile wing, who was as equally comfortable posting up underneath as she was shooting a 3-pointer, averaged 15.8 points per game on 48 percent shooting from the field. She hit 25 3-pointers and 50 of 75 free throws. She averaged 7.3 rebounds a game and had 68 assists, 66 steals and 13 blocks. She was a finalist for WSN State Wing of the Year and was a WSN all-state honorable mention selection.
Graverson finished with 988 career points, well up the career board headed up by some of her heroes.
She liked the season, but like her coach and teammates, was maybe wishing for a little more out of it, especially given the fact that she had two other strong senior leaders alongside her in guard Abby Schauer and forward Sarah Neumann.
'I think when we were playing well, things were great,' she said. 'When we hit a lull, we were down. I think I learned a lot personally as a leader, and I loved being one, especially working with the younger kids on the team and helping in their development.
'It was also great working with Sarah and Abby this season. We would always talk on defense, and on offense, we knew each other so well; we were able to get a lot of things done without saying a word.'
Her role on the team was a strong and secure one, and coach Tony Kathrens said the team wouldn't have gotten anywhere near as far without her.
'She has great understanding as to what it means to be a leader,' Kathrens said. 'She could clarify things on the court that I would ask the team to do. You just don't see that all that much anymore. We really owe her a debt of gratitude for all the sacrifices she made for the program.'
Graverson has committed to NCAA DII Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois, which is coming off a spectacular 28-3 season that recently ended in NCAA regional action and included an undefeated 18-0 Great Lakes Valley Conference regular season title.
Graverson is not only looking forward to making her mark with that talented basketball program (she is projected as a shooting guard), which will graduate five seniors this spring, but to also challenging herself academically. She was not only named Franklin's MVP this season but also its scholar/athlete. She currently carries a 4.93 GPA and ranks third in her class.
She would like to major in biochemistry with the long-term idea of heading off to medical school. She is looking to get into the school's specialty mathematics/engineering program, too.
But right now, she's just looking to finish her senior year on a strong note.
The Sabers recently had their banquet, and the idea that Graverson, who as a freshman in 2013 jumped onto the scene playing a huge role off the bench in a WIAA sectional upset of rival Oak Creek, was finally a senior, finally hit her.
'It hadn't seemed real until that moment,' she said
It became more concrete when she carried on the senior tradition set by Mihalko and others of giving out the team's 'silly' awards, which included the 'you had to be there to understand it' honor of 'silent but deadly' going to freshman guard Alyssa Danes.
She said the banquet was 'perfect.' Graverson will miss fun team stuff like that but is looking to the future.
'I'm going to make another visit this spring (to Lewis),' she said. 'I can't wait.'