Becca Strobbe often finds herself on the basketball court with four underclassmen – more times than not all freshmen and sophomores.

Becca Strobbe often finds herself on the basketball court with four underclassmen – more times than not all freshmen and sophomores.

So what was the Truman senior forward’s initial reaction when she learned in the preseason that the Patriots would feature four freshmen on the varsity roster?

“I was excited,” Strobbe said. “I was aware of how good they were. They actually surprised me because I didn’t know that they were that good. I was really excited for them to come in and step up to the varsity level.”

Strobbe and the baby-faced Patriots are in the championship game of the Truman Tournament at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, but if not for the leadership of the high-scoring senior, where would the 10-4 Pats be?

“Becca is a great leader every day,” said Steve Cassity, the Patriots’ head coach. “Not only is she a great statistical leader on the floor, she’s the kid I send the text to send to everybody else if I change practice time or change game time. She’s also the only player we have – I guess (junior guard Sara) Ruckman too – that’s really been through some big battles and been through some big games.

“We really look for her to set the tone in pregame to get them ready as well. She leads in so many ways. It’s just not statistically, and that’s what’s fun about her. She’s been a calming influence on these guys.”

Proof of Strobbe’s leadership abilities was on full display in a Jan. 12 game against Raytown South.

The Patriots easily handled the Cardinals 78-26, but it was the play of Strobbe that paved the way. She scored 14 points in the first quarter on her way to a career-high 36 points.

The output tied a Truman girls basketball single-game scoring record set by former Kansas State All-American Tammy Romstad, who established the record in the 1976-77 season.

“It’s great,” Strobbe said of tying the school mark. “I’ve worked really hard since my freshman year just getting the points up there, so it’s great to actually be put in the record books as one of the top scorers at Truman.”

Twice in the last few minutes of the game against Raytown South, Strobbe passed up shots to find open teammates for easy layups. Those plays made an impression on Cassity, now in his second year at the helm of the Patriots.

“She didn’t want to get it selfishly,” Cassity said of Strobbe’s record-tying night. “Those kind of passes are examples of what kind of kid she is. She leads us in every way.”

Sophomore guard Brooke Parton said Strobbe has been instrumental in helping her in her first year in a Patriots uniform. A transfer from William Chrisman, Parton has eased her way into an important role thanks to Strobbe.

“She’s kind of like a mom,” Parton said. “She picks everyone up on her shoulders. We have a young team, but I look up to her. She does things in practice where she kind of makes it fun, but when it’s time to get serious, she knows it’s time get serious.”

Another underclassman, freshman guard Abby Hix, said Strobbe is the right leader for a team that features just three seniors in Strobbe and twin guards Brooke and Tylar Pollard.

“She never gets mad at us for our mistakes,” Hix said. “She just encourages us and pats us on the back and says ‘keep it up.’ And that’s what we need.”

Called up to varsity halfway through her freshman season, Strobbe earned a starting spot midway through her sophomore year and hasn’t looked back since.

An Examiner All-Area first-team selection a year ago, Strobbe was also selected first-team Suburban Middle Six all-conference, first-team all-district, and second-team all-state for Class 5.

 Despite scoring just seven points in the Patriots’ 48-42 tournament semifinal win over Lee’s Summit North on Friday, the Rockhurst University signee is just 59 points away from joining the 1,000-point club.

“I’m 59 away from 1,000 points,” Strobbe said. “It’s great. It’s just another one of those career markers for me in high school.”