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A former Mount Ayr standout is doing great things at the collegiate level.
After dropping 1,456 career points in her prep career at Mount Ayr, Sam Stewart has eclipsed the 1,000-point milestone again, doing so at Peru State.
“It means a lot,” Stewart said of the career milestone. “It shows how much hard work and effort I’ve put in over the years.”
Stewart has been a contributor since she stepped foot on campus in 2020. She was a frequent contributor in her freshman and sophomore years before missing a good chunk of her junior year with an injury. She’s hit the ground running again this year with 14.0 points and 6.4 rebounds in 15 games.
“I’ve had to change,” she said. “(The college game) is definitely quicker paced. I feel like I’ve improved my defense and outside shooting. In college, you have to put in more work than in high school. I’ve worked a lot with my coaches and taken a lot of shots.”
Always an offensive threat, Stewart has become more of a deep threat at Peru State.
“I’ve grown my outside shot,” she said. “And I’ve learned inside the paint so I can score around taller defenders.”
Stewart has helped the Bobcats to an 8-7 record. They’ve won four straight games after a five-game skid before that under first-year head coach Jason Smith.
“I feel like (Smith) has helped us pick up the tempo,” Stewart said. “He makes us want to win. It was rough in the beginning, but he (Smith) came in and got our tempo back. We’ve figured out how we’ve wanted to play.”
Perhaps basketball has served as an escape for Stewart this season. She’s likely been playing with a heavy heart this year after her younger sister, Maddie, passed away in a car accident during the summer.
“(Basketball) has been important,” Stewart said. “I’ve tried to keep that as my focus. It’s helped me.”
The 2019-2020 KMAland Female Athlete of the Year became the second former KMAlander to score her 1,000th career point for Peru State this year, joining Sidney alum Maddy Duncan.
“Maddy is one of my best friends,” she said. “We’ve gone through a lot. We know how each other plays. We just fit.”