Katrina Ruedinger

Posted at: 03/13/2013 7:04 PM

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- There are so many ways to describe Katrina Ruedinger - clutch, versatile, instinctive - but her coach Rich Decker says one adjective stands above all others.

"(She's) probably one of the smartest players I've ever coached, and this is my 41st year," Decker said.  "Her mom was a coach, which is a real factor.  It makes a big difference."

She's been an asset for Decker, who's in his first year as the Spartans head coach, and he brought with him a completely new system.

"It was hard at first," Ruedinger said.  "It was definitely a different offense.  We have fewer plays, but more motion.  Obviously, our defense is something we had never played before, so it took a while to get used to it."

Decker's match-up zone defense is the biggest reason Mayo qualified for state.  The Spartans held Lakeville North to just 40 points in last Friday's section championship game  That's nearly 20 below their season average.

"The Lakeville coach even said he's never faced anyone as good defensively, so it's very impressive.  We love it," Ruedinger said.

Ruedinger led the way offensively, scoring a team-high 14 points in the win.  She also had eight boards and two steals, plus this assist to Olivia Korngable.

"She's the anchor to this whole thing," Decker said.