There are adages about how smart people are aware of what they do not know. Wilton's Emily Lange carries that self-awareness with her on and off the court.
Basketball has a way of showing an individual's personality. The best find the right combination of self-confidence to rise up and take the big shot with an equal amount of selflessness to know how to get teammates involved.
The Wilton senior proved she's capable of embodying the right combination on the court.
“My favorite (part about basketball) is that there’s so much to learn," she said. "There’s not just one thing you can look at and just stop there, there’s always something else that you can do or work for.”
A well-rounded player defines Lange.
After a season in which she averaged 22.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.6 steals per game, Lange will continue her basketball career at Division II Davenport University in Michigan after graduation.
According to Wilton head coach Jeremy Putman, learning and getting better has been Lange's mantra since entering the program.
“(Emily) just did everything for us out there on the court," Putman said. "She rebounded, played great defense, and (she) tremendously improved over her four years and became a very, very good basketball player.”
Lange ranked 10th in the state in scoring average and tallied the most points in Class 2A.
Since her freshman season, a year that saw Wilton finish 5-19, Lange's points per game have more than doubled.
But she didn't make sacrifices to any other aspect of her game to get there. Every other major statistical category stayed relatively the same or improved year-over-year.
In addition to her scoring, her total number of assists increased from 27 as a freshman to 49 as a senior.
Moreover, Lange's steady improvement went beyond the court and into the Beavers' locker room.
“Emily has just been a tremendous asset to this team," Putman said. "She was our emotional leader."
It's no surprise Wilton finished with a 21-3 record. Besides leading the Beavers in scoring, Lange defended, pulled down 150 rebounds and was the team's motivational leader. It was the first 20-plus win season for the program in school history.
Being a high school kid who is relied on to be the scoring and emotional leader might bring about some stress and pressure. But that's where Lange's on-court game and off-court personality mesh the most.
“I’ve been playing with the senior girls since I was in fourth grade," Lange said. "Playing with my best friends, I mean, you couldn’t ask for anything better, you know that you can count on them and they can count on me."
When asked what her career highlight was on the court, she immediately referenced a game-winner that teammate Aubrey Putman hit against Bellevue in January of this year.
“We’ve never beaten Bellevue before, so beating them on a buzzer-beater, that was an amazing feeling," Lange said. "All the adrenaline, it was awesome.
"Knowing that (the town is) going to support you, win or lose, is a great feeling just because you know that if you lose you can keep your head held high because you got a whole lot of people behind you"
Lange is far from done learning.
The continuing appetite to get better on the court just might bleed over into her classroom work, too, since she'll be majoring in sports management next year.
A good sign for Davenport is that Lange usually finds a way to leave teams and schools in a better place once she gets involved.
"Davenport University is the perfect fit for me," she said. "The coaches are amazing. The people are really nice. The school is really nice. I’m right next to Grand Rapids, so I’m really excited.”