Year in Review 2011: Eagles' Lutes, Schmidt's storied prep basketball careers end
After being teammates since the sixth grade, New Life Academy superstars Rebekah Schmidt and Cara Lutes spent their final season together on the basketball court in 2011.
Lutes and Schmidt first played basketball together on the Woodbury sixth-grade traveling team. The two girls then each joined the New Life Academy varsity team as eighth graders.
Their careers have included a Class A third-place finish at state in 2008 and Section 4A titles in 2008 and 2009. Schmidt has also helped lead the New Life softball team to three-straight Class A state championships.
New Life Academy head football and former girls basketball coach Paul Mork said Schmidt and Lutes epitomize the student-athlete.
"In my 52 years of career coaching and teaching, Cara Lutes and Rebekah Schmidt stand out among the very best student-citizen-athletes I've ever had the privilege to coach," Mork said last year. "Both have had targets on their backs for the past two years, regardless of the sports and yet have performed admirably throughout. They are ultimate competitors. They perpetually have been a credit to New Life, their families, their teammates and their coaches."
The two friends weren't apart for too long, though, as they both attended Drake University in Iowa this fall. However, at the Div. I Drake, Lutes will play basketball and Schmidt will play softball.
On the court, New Life had a familiar foe in the Section 4A final, but the third time was a charm for Maranatha as the Eagles were stopped a game short of state.
New Life closed its 2010-11 season with a 44-37 Section 4A final loss to defending Section 4A champion Maranatha Christian Academy on Friday, March 11, at Hamline University. The 10th-ranked and top-seeded Eagles had defeated second-seeded Maranatha twice last year.
NLA finished the season at 20-8, closing the year on a magnificent run - winning 15 of their final 19 ball games.