Senf leaving Mehlville with fond memories

Michelle+Senf

Michelle Senf

By STEPHEN GLOVER

When Mehlville Senior High School’s Michelle Senf walked off the basketball court Saturday afternoon at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, it was a painful goodbye to an impressive high school career.

Mehlville had just dropped a 52-50 decision to Hazelwood East in the quarterfinal of the Missouri Class 5 Tournament, ending the Panthers’ 20-game winning streak. But Senf also was walking off the court with a severe case of turf toe that had prevented her from practicing the day before the game.

It’s that type of warrior spirit that separates Senf from many other players, according to Mehlville head coach Ed Feibig.

“She had turf toe so bad that she couldn’t even practice on Friday,” he said. “When you take her effort and coachability into perspective, I can’t think of a kid that I would rather have on my team than her.”

Since starting as a freshman with the Panthers, Senf has helped Mehlville amass an 85-25 record, which includes two Suburban West Conference championships, three district championships and one sectional championship. Senf finished her ca-reer at Mehlville with 1,393 points, ranking her third in Mehlville girls’ basketball history. Her 1,119 rebounds ranks her second, as does her 329 career free throws and 121 blocked shots. She’s also third in all-time steals (210) and points-per-game career average (12.7).

But like many players, Senf easily would have given up every one of her personal stats for the chance to play in the Final Four this weekend in Columbia.

“Yep, I would,” Senf said. “Just thinking about that loss keeps depressing me.”

The Panthers were down by 15 points against Hazelwood East in the fourth quarter, and it was then that Senf began to realize that her career at Mehlville could be coming to an end.

“The game flew by,” she recalled. “By the fourth quarter, I realized that this could be the end of my high school career. But I said to myself: ‘That’s not going to happen.”’

Senf and the Panthers roared back in the fourth quarter to outscore the Spartans 20-11, but it was not enough to overcome Hazelwood East.

In the end, though, Senf looked back at her four-year career with some very fond memories.

“‘Pickle’ (Krista Vlasak), I and the twins (Alyse and Kayla Gordon) have been playing together for the past three years,” Senf said. “It was an amazing year and I couldn’t have asked for more for my senior year.”

A member of the National Honor Society with a 3.7 grade-point average, Senf plans to attend Columbia College of Missouri, where she hopes to continue her success on the hardwood with the Cougars.

Senf believes that Columbia’s small class size and the chance to play for a team that was ranked 33rd in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics this season is an overall good match for her.

“It seems like a great fit for me,” Senf said. “The basketball coach there is great and I really like the small classrooms because I don’t think that I could handle being in a large classroom.”

Before she leaves Mehlville, there’s one thing that Senf wanted to say about Feibig.

“He’s such a good coach,” she said. “I can’t thank him more than enough for everything that he’s done for me and the team.”