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Perryville basketball standout Kyla Schnurbusch commits to Culver-Stockton

Perryville girls basketball 5-foot-6 senior point guard Kyla Schnurbusch officially announced her verbal commitment to Culver-Stockton this morning. Photo by Jay Forness

Ever since she was in the second grade, Kyla Schnurbusch has been impressing coaches with her abilities on the basketball court. She did so back then while playing for fun with her older brother and his friends, which led to a recreational basketball league coach asking Kyla to play for him with third and fourth graders.

Nothing has changed for the Perryville senior point guard as Schnurbusch officially announced her verbal commitment to continue her playing career at Culver-Stockton on Thursday. Kyla had several other offers to play collegiately, including Aurora, Rockford and the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy.

“Let’s just say it was definitely not an easy decision when you get to know so many college coaches,” Schnurbusch said. “That can make it tough, but I committed to Culver-Stockton because at the end of the day I felt that I would fit into their style of play really well and it would be a challenge for me to get better both academically and athletically.”

Schnurbusch, who describes herself as a sports fanatic, didn’t start primarily focusing on basketball until her sophomore year. Kyla has also played soccer for most of her life and was named all-state when she helped Perryville advance to the Class 2 Final Four for the first time in school history last season.

After she mentally made basketball her main sport and started playing AAU basketball, Schnurbusch became a back-to-back all-conference and all-district selection while being named the JCAA Large School Player of the Year as a junior. She earned the honor after averaging 11 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals in a season where Kyla helped the Pirates win their third-straight conference championship.

In her final season at Perryville, the three-level scoring threat Schnurbusch has noticeably increased her scoring total as she’s averaging nearly 20 points per game at 19.6 through 21 contests. Kyla, who is also producing an average of five rebounds, four steals and two assists per contest, has scored 20 or more points 10 times and has recorded a career-high of 31 twice in the span of her last five games.

Along with playing for Southeast Dynasty in AAU throughout the summer, Schnurbusch also put in the work outside of that on her own and set a personal goal of putting up 10,000 shots before the start of her senior year. It wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who knows Kyla that she, in fact, exceeded that number.

“I actually did well over that — I was training two times a week, and I was playing AAU ball,” she said. “Even sometimes when I did have training for school or with my trainer, I would come back to the gym and be like, ‘Hey, can I use the gun machine? Can I come in and work on ball handling?’ It was always something because I couldn’t just sit still since I wanted to grow in a short period of time to make a lot of shots this year.”

Thanks to Schnurbusch’s mentality and work ethic, she has led the Pirates to go 14-7 overall with four games left in the regular season. If Perryville wins out, it will be the program’s most wins in over a decade and would surpass last winter’s mark of 17.

Kyla and the Pirates played in two tournaments earlier this season as they took third place at the Fredericktown Tournament and were runner-ups in the FSCB Christmas Tournament hosted in Leadwood. Perryville is now hoping to win what would be its first district championship in a while.

“As a team, we’ve had our highs and lows,” Schnurbusch said. “We’ve kind of found our click, though, and we’re starting to get everything to work together, but we’re still working through that. Individually, I’ve had some off nights. If I get frustrated with myself, I’m back watching film and am like, ‘What can I do better?’ When I finally got out of my little downhill slope, I got back and have felt good.”

Schnurbusch explained that she’s the type of person who is very hard on herself, which she described as being a struggle sometimes because it makes her mainly look at the negative aspects and not the positive ones of her game. She’s been honing in on combating that as of late, though.

“Recently, I’ve been trying to focus on what I do well and focus on mastering that even more,” Kyla explained. “With the things I don’t do so well at, I try to fix them and improve in those areas before the next game.”

Last season, one of the Pirates eight losses on the year was against Saxony Lutheran by one point in overtime. The Crusaders hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds for the win, but that wasn’t the case this time around — Schnurbusch made sure of that.

On top of scoring a game-high 23 points in the 39-37 win over Saxony on Jan. 26 at home, Kyla made a electrifying block on a Crusaders 3-point shot attempt in the last few seconds to secure the victory for the Pirates. She also had multiple steals in the contest for easy fast-break scoring opportunities with most of them coming in the second half.

“People have never complimented me on my defense, like, there’s always been holes in it,” Schnurbusch said. “That was one thing during the AAU season I wanted to work on — pin point my defensive game and get it down to a tee. You have to stay on your toes and not your heels so you can make those quick jolts and get out in front of the offensive player, take the ball away and go.”

Along with being a pest on defense and having the ability to score from nearly anywhere on the court, Schnurbusch is arguably the best passer in all of Southeast Missouri. Kyla is able to deliver pinpoint passes from a variety of ranges with fluidity and even gets creative with them sometimes, like making ones from behind her back.

Schnurbusch says passing is actually something that comes natural to her, but to her being a great point guard is all about court vision and making the right decision with the ball.

“I look at the floor before I drive in, and if I feel like I can take the shot, I take it,” Kyla explained. “If not, I remember where my players are but sometimes they move on me. That’s where it hurts sometimes, but a lot of us connect really well with backdoor cuts. I always have that trust that my teammates are going to come and will be right there for me to pass to. Having really quick reflexes helps me as a passer, too.”

When all is said and done, Schnurbusch is going to go down as one of the best basketball players to ever walk through the doors at Perryville High School. Kyla said one of her favorite parts about the sport is all of the different people she meets through it, like the little kids who watch her play and say, “I want to be like her.”

Leaving a positive and everlasting legacy when people remember her career as a Pirate means a lot to Schnurbusch, who wants to be thought of as “different” whenever anyone talks about her.

“You never know who’s watching you,” Kyla said. “Hearing from parents that, ‘Oh, my daughter looks up to you so much,’ makes it more of, ‘Well, I should go out and play for them then’ — it’s not just for myself anymore. It’s playing for them because that’s who they look up to.

“I also want to be that unique player that everybody looks at — I want to be something different when somebody watches me. Like, ‘Oh wow, I’ve never seen that before,’ so that’s really the legacy I want to leave.”

Nick McNeal covers high school sports, college sports and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Cape Girardeau County for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjsports@socket. net.

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