WILKES-BARRE — Erin Schmidt was accustomed to winning when she entered her first year at King’s College. Those winning mindsets haven’t changed.
Schmidt, an Avoca resident and a 2015 Scranton Prep graduate, is a key contributor to the King’s College women’s basketball team. Heading into the season, she had already won a pair of PIAA District 2 championships playing for the Classics.
King’s is currently in tied for third place in the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Freedom Division with Delaware Valley and Manhattanville. Schmidt and the rest of the Monarchs team have their sights set on a conference championship.
“It’s been a good experience so far,” Schmidt said. “My high school prepared me for this moment. I’ve been doing everything I can to enjoy it.”
King’s recently defeated cross-town rival Wilkes University, 77-47. Overall, King’s is at 11-7 (4-3 in the MAC Freedom). Three out of the next four conference games will feature King’s against the top three teams in the Freedom. The conference championships begin on Feb. 22.
Against Wilkes, Schmidt logged 11 minutes. King’s used a 26-7 third quarter edge to finish the Colonels.
“Our goal is to win the MAC Freedom,” Schmidt said. “We always have that in mind and we’ll keep working toward that.”
Schmidt is averaging just shy of 10 minutes per contest. In a King’s win over Lycoming earlier this month, Schmidt scored a season-high five points, including a three-pointer. Head coach Brian Donoghue said the Prep grad has been doing everything the coaching staff has asked.
“She’s had a very good start to her college career,” Donohgue said. “She came to us with a very high IQ.”
Schmidt helped Prep to the 2014 PIAA District 2 Class AAA championship and was part of the team’s Lackawanna League championship her final two seasons. That preparedness at the high school level is what Donoghue looks for when recruits are interested in coming to King’s College.
“We try to recruit from traditional programs as much as we can because it fast forwards their career,” Donoghue said. “There hasn’t been too much we’ve said or done that (Schmidt) hasn’t heard before. She’s a good fit.”
Prior to entering her freshman year at Prep, Schmidt was a player on current Pittston Area head coach Kathy Healey’s Rock Solid AAU team. Playing alongside former Pittston Area star Allie Barber and current Iona College player Alexis Lewis, Schmidt said those experience helped her get to where she is today. The team traveled to Orlando, Florida for the national championships in the eighth grade division.
She thanked Healey, saying prior to her first college season the Pittston Area coach reached out to her to make sure she was working as hard as she could. Last season, Pittston Area won the district title in Class AAA. Schmidt follows the Patriots and the two teams have played a couple times over the last four years.
“It was cool watching them last season,” Schmidt said. “It was fun and a little weird when we would play them.”
A Physics-Engineering student at King’s, Schmidt is the daughter of Patricia Lepore and her stepfather is John Lepore, both of Avoca. So far this season, the family has been able to see Schmidt play almost every game, including a series of games in mid-December in Daytona, Florida.
Schmidt’s uncle, Ed Kearney from Avoca, made a trip from his home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to see his niece play in the Sunshine State.
“I love that my family can see me every game,” said Schmidt, who also reference following live stats on the internet. “They’ve been very supportive.”
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick