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Metea Valley's Lori Obendorf makes a layup against Lake Park High School on Monday February 6, 2012 at Metea Valley High School in Aurora. | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media
Metea Valley’s Lori Obendorf is a scoring and rebounding machine.
The 6-foot-2 senior, who averages 14.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game, has powered Metea Valley to a 16-4 record and a 5-2 mark in the Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division in just its third year of fielding a varsity team.
Part of her success can be attributed to growing up with two older brothers — Kyle, a former star at Waubonsie Valley, and Kenny, a freshman at Notre Dame who led Metea Valley to last year’s sectional final. The three spent many afternoons and evenings shooting hoops on the family driveway.
“We even had a little basket in the family room,” said Obendorf , who has 12 double-doubles in 20 games this season. “We knocked things around a little bit. I don’t think we ever broke anything. The only rule was we couldn’t play in the dining room when the dinner table was set.”
But the friendly games with her brothers hardly prepared Obendorf for the growing pains she experienced with Metea Valley during the school’s first varsity campaign three years ago. The Mustangs won just seven of 29 games.
“That was a rough season,” the Loras College recruit said. “That was not the best point in my life. All five of our starters were sophomores. Most of them don’t play anymore. Some just quit and another left to play soccer.”
A teammate who no longer plays, but not by choice, is Obendorf’s best friend, 6-2 forward Anna Petersen, who tore an ACL during the Oswego East holiday tournament. Obendorf and Petersen met at church in first grade, but did not grow close until they were freshmen at Metea.
“She was doing a really good job,” Obendorf said. “She’s a tough girl. The day after she was injured, a couple of us went over to her house with cupcakes and balloons and stuff. Obviously, it’s hard because this is our senior year. We were having a lot of fun together.
“But there’s not much we can do,” she added. “Effort is going to be the key. We’re all going to have to put forth a little extra effort. I’m going to have to work harder to get more rebounds. We all have to find something to do to pick up the slack.”
If anyone can help Metea Valley continue its winning ways despite the loss of Petersen, it’s Obendorf.
“Lori is an extremely hard worker and very self-motivated to improve,” Metea Valley coach Kris Kalivas said. “She works all year round on her skills. She’s also very intelligent and asks good questions. When you explain something to her, she tries to put it into action right away.
“She’s become a very good leader,” the coach added “She makes good decisions on the court and she makes good decisions off the court. She’s a great kid to have on the floor, and she’s an asset for the kids to learn from, especially the younger girls.”
If her teammates — both young and old — follow her example, there’s a very good chance Metea Valley could reach another milestone in the young program’s history.
“Our goal is to win a regional,” Obendorf said. “It will be tough. But now (after losing twice to Neuqua Valley) that we can’t win conference, we definitely want to get something.”