Cerrato takes part in three-point challenge
By Rich Palzewic
ASHWAUBENON – Understandably so, De Pere girls’ basketball player Natalie Cerrato was a little emotional after she took part in the three-point challenge at the WIAA Basketball State Tournament March 9 at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon.
The event featured 10 of the best long-range girls’ shooters in the state.
Sophie Cedarblade from Division 3 Elk Mound won the challenge.
Cerrato had 16 points in the first round, which was good enough to advance to the final four.
“I was definitely excited and nervous,” said Cerrato, who averaged 14.4 points per game, led the Fox River Classic Conference in three-point shots made (63) and percentage made (43.4 percent) during the conference season her senior year. “I was out here on this court a little bit my sophomore year with the state team, but being out here again felt good.”
Contestants had 60 seconds to shoot 25 balls from five different racks located around the three-point line.
“I was surprised at how hard (aerobically) it was to shoot that many balls in a short period of time,” Cerrato laughed. “I jokingly said to one of the other girls, ‘I need a drink of water.’ It was nice not having to travel three hours to get here, being able to sleep in and have it be a 15-minute drive from home.”
Cerrato, a second-team all-conference selection, broke the De Pere school record with 81 total three-point makes, which was tops out of all Division 1 and Division 2 players in the state this season.
As meaningful as ending her career with the Redbirds, Cerrato is the last of the group of sisters to come through De Pere, as Lexi and Carly came before her.
“I was thinking of that today,” said Cerrato. “It’s definitely the last time putting the De Pere uniform on – it’s kind of sad. I’m definitely going to miss it – I’m still thinking about college basketball at UM-Duluth.”
It wasn’t just emotional for Natalie but her mom Tammy as well.
“It’s going to be really different not seeing any of my girls play,” said Tammy Cerrato. “I am so proud of her – she’s had to go through a lot with losing her dad, so this is icing on the cake to have her do this.”
Natalie’s father, Andy, passed away in July of 2013 from a heart attack.
“I’m proud of her,” said De Pere head coach Jeremy Boileau. “She has worked hard over the years, so to get recognized and be out here was pretty cool. She is a good representation of De Pere and the FRCC. We won’t have another Cerrato girl come through, but Natalie was such a good role model – a lot of young kids are going to want to follow her example. She carries herself in such a positive manner and that will help our future program – kids want to be like her.”