Favorite athlete: Zach Ertz
Favorite team: Eagles
Favorite memory competing in sports: Celebrating Senior Night with all my teammates
Most embarrassing/funniest moment while competing in sports: Teammate tripped and fell while running in to warm up for our game
Music on mobile device: Lots of Post Malone
Future plans: Study chemistry at Penn State
Words to live by: “Everything happens for a reason.”
One goal before turning 30: Graduate college and get a good job
By Craig Ostroff
There wasn’t anything extraordinary about the Council Rock South girls’ basketball team’s game against Neshaminy on January 22.
But to captain Bailey Vetter, that contest was one of the high points of her senior season for the Golden Hawks.
It wasn’t due to any personal statistics—Vetter doesn’t even remember how many points, rebounds, or assists she racked up during the game. It wasn’t that the Hawks pulled off a remarkable upset—in fact, Council Rock South dropped a 67-51 decision to the National Conference champions.
But considering that the Hawks were dominated by Neshaminy to the tune of 51-23 just a month earlier, South’s effort in its second game against the district contenders showed how far it had progressed and how much potential the squad possesses.
“I’ve never been so proud of the girls as I was after that second game against Neshaminy,” Vetter said. “Everyone worked so hard, it was one of the best defensive games we played as a team. I wasn’t even too upset that we lost, because we knew we gave them a run for the money. I’ll just always remember how proud I was after that game.”
It’s that kind of attitude and maturity that has made Vetter an exemplary two-year captain on a young squad seeking to change the culture of its program.
“In my 20-plus years of coaching as an assistant or head coach, Bailey is among the most selfless kids I’ve ever coached,” coach Blair Klumpp said. “She rarely lights up the scoreboard, but that doesn’t matter to her. She doesn’t care if she attempts a shot in a game, she’s not out to boost her own stats. Her main focus is the success of the team, and her leadership reflects that.”
Those traits were apparent from the start. When Klumpp joined Council Rock South’s staff as an assistant coach during Vetter’s freshman season, he identified her as a player he felt had the potential to be a confident, steady contributor if she received significant varsity minutes.
When he took over the head coaching duties the following spring, Klumpp identified Vetter as a future leader on the team. While Vetter saw playing time off the bench as a sophomore, Klumpp felt that getting her consistent minutes on the court would pay immediate dividends both for her confidence as a player and for the team as a whole.
“I thought she was someone who had the potential to take off once she felt someone was confident in her,” Klumpp said. “The summer after her sophomore year, we didn’t have a lot of returning juniors at our workouts, I threw the leadership challenge at her. We were a young team at the time, a team I think had a leadership void.
“It was an opportunity for Bailey to step up. And with her consistency and her work ethic and her effort in the offseason, her comfort level started to grow in terms of who she was a player and person. And it wasn’t just in basketball. It translated into other areas of her life as well. Her growth not just as a basketball player or as a leader on this team, but as a person, is something I’m really proud of.”
For the Golden Hawks’ girls’ basketball team, Vetter has filled a critical role of the experienced leader on a young team. While her work ethic and dedication are a constant example to her teammates, Vetter is a prime example that you don’t have to be the leading scorer to be a contributor.
“I think most people want to be the leading scorer, but not everyone can be,” Vetter said. “Once that role is filled, you do what you can to help. I’ve played basketball for a long time, and I’ve never been the leading scorer on my team. So I focus on my game and what I can do to help the team. I try to make that pass to set up a teammate who has an open shot, or I focus on my defense and contribute that way. Diving for loose balls, rebounds, boxing out—those things aren’t about skill, they’re all about effort, how hard you work.”
“Coaches talk about roles and players buying into roles, but it can be tough to get high school players to do that,” Klumpp said. “Particularly with a group trying to find our way in terms of consistency and long-term success. It can be tough to ask them to buy in to giving that effort all the time when they don’t always see the results.
“But when you have a senior captain that gets it, that gets that, ‘I don’t need to be a 15-point-per-game player to be a leader,’ you start to see some of the other girls look at that and start to follow her lead. A sophomore like Carley Irvin is starting to do those things, Jenna Culp tries to take charges on defense, and all of that circles back to Bailey in terms of her approach and ultimately not caring about her personal stats—if we win, that’s all she truly cares about.”
The lessons Vetter has helped teach during her high school career are the legacy she leaves behind, as she has now officially closed the book on her high school—and competitive—basketball career. Her final season ended in a positive fashion, with the Golden Hawks winning two of three games in the regular season’s final week, including a strong performance in a Senior Night victory to kick off the week.
And while Vetter hangs up her high tops with no regrets, she admits that it won’t be easy to leave behind the sport to which she’s dedicated so much of her life.
“I started playing basketball in third or fourth grade,” she said. “I’ve played AAU and summer leagues. It’s crazy that it’s all ending. People tell you that it goes by so fast, but it really went quicker than I imagined. But I’ve loved playing basketball and playing for South. I feel like I’ve gotten everything I could get out of it. It’s really sad to end and I’m going to miss the girls, but we move on to bigger and better things.”
For Vetter, that means spending the next four years in Central Pennsylvania. Next year, she will head to Penn State on a pre-med track with a focus on chemistry.
As such, she’s maintaining a heavy courseload in her senior year, with three AP classes and several Honors-level classes. She is also involved in Athletes Helping Athletes, Buddy Basketball, French National Honor Society, and English National Honor Society.
“This year has been super-stressful, but it’s worth it,” she said. “The hard work is paying off.”
“Bailey’s success is a reflection of her and her approach and how she was brought up,” Klumpp said. “She’s consistent in the classroom, consistent on the basketball court. She’s very mature as a young adult. She deserves a lot of credit for the way she carries herself. She’s a high-character kid. She comes from a great family, her parents are very supportive, and she really takes pride in whatever she does.”
Vetter takes immense pride in her high school basketball team and the blood, sweat, and tears she has put in the last four years as she has helped to lay a foundation that will hopefully result in a new direction for the program.
Should the team rise to unprecedented successes in the years to come, Vetter won’t be on the court to experience it. But that’s OK with her. She knows she’s had a hand in helping lead the team toward its goal.
Her teammates and coach know as well.
“When you talk about laying the foundation, you want to see it happen quickly for the girls to have something to grasp onto that they can move forward with,” Klumpp said. “But when one of your players can put it in the proper perspective for you - she gets it, and the team gets that this is where they’re at. We’ll keep working at it. Bailey wants to win as much as anybody else. This was not the season she had hoped for, but her approach and leadership has never wavered. But these girls are going to follow the example she’s set for them, and they’re going to be successful. And that’s a reflection on Bailey and her leadership and what she’s done for this team and these girls.”
“It’s frustrating at times not being able to see the results, but I know it’s what’s best for the program to have that example and have that foundation laid, and that’s my contribution,” Vetter said. “Now the foundation has been laid out and I’m proud to have been a part of that. We lost a lot this year but we never gave up, we came out to practice with our heads held high, we worked hard and ran hard. I don’t want the girls to ever give up.
“You’re never going to be handed anything. You have to work hard if you want to take it. But whether it’s basketball or in other parts of your life, as long as you work hard and don’t give up, you’re eventually going to have great success.”