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By Troy Treasure
The last thing you will observe Caroline Linberger doing is seeking the spotlight or searching for a microphone.
The humble North Shelby sophomore prefers letting her actions speak for themselves.
The Missouri Basketball Coaches Association took note. Linberger was named to the MBCA All-State Team on March 24. The Lady Raiders finished the 2020-21 season 18-6.
“I want to work hard at everything I do, that’s what God wants me to do,” Linberger said. “I want to be an example to other people to work hard.
“I’m thankful He’s given me the blessings I have of getting All-State and being able to have success in the sports that I do,” she added.
Linberger was asked if there was an athlete, past or present, who particularly impressed her in-or-out of the competitive arena. She responded with the name of a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback.
“Tim Tebow is a really strong Christian and the way he carried himself,” she said. “He put his faith out there and made sure people knew he was a Christian and his success was through God.”
Linberger indicated between her freshman and sophomore basketball seasons, she worked to improve several facets of her game – ball-handling in both the open court and dribble-drives; free-throw accuracy, passing, as well as post moves.
“I tried those more this year, just being stronger under the basket,” she said. “Last year, I was pretty weak.”
Linberger averaged 13.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per contest.
North Shelby played 24 games. She was a double-figure scorer in 20.
When fouled and sent to the free-throw line, Linberger shot a team-high 75.2 percent.
“She drew the toughest defender every game and that never really bothered her,” Lady Raiders head coach Landon Daniel said.
“That sometimes helped other girls have better chances to get our offense where it needed to be,” Daniel continued.
“The best stat that proves that is in the four games Caroline only scored in single digits, we as a team won three of those games.”
Linberger credited Daniel’s enthusiastic approach for aiding her development.
“Coach Daniel has given me a ton of confidence, just making sure I know that I have the ability to do it,” she said. “He’s just helped me to embrace my talent. I just didn’t use it to my full potential and he just wants me to do that.”
This season’s Class 1 state quarterfinal loss to Leeton left an impression on Linberger – specifically the Lady Bulldogs’ physicality. For her, the weightlifting aspect of athletic training is an evolving process.
“I should be there a lot more, so hopefully I’ll like it more this summer,” she said. “I’ll force myself to like it.”
Linberger acknowledged her all-state status is the result of collective success.
“We just all work so well together. We have post players, we have guards,” she said. “None of us are ball hogs. We love to pass it and get other girls to score, too.”
On Monday, March 29, Linberger was named to the KRES Radio All-Star Team. Only 15 girls from all classifications were selected.