Suzanna Yoder makes basketball look easy.
From hitting contested 3-pointers to dribbling through double teams, Yoder willed her way to 27.5 points per game and was recognized with first-team All-State honors from the IPSWA.
While the Iowa Mennonite senior makes it look easy during games, that has come at the cost of thousands of hours of practice.
“Teams knew that she was the one to stop and she still couldn’t be stopped,” Iowa Mennonite coach Kari Heusinkveld said. “She has an incredible work ethic and off the court that carries on in the rest of her life.”
That work ethic was sparked by watching some of Iowa Mennonite’s best during Yoder’s middle school years. She said watching players like Oliva Yutzy, who earned All-State honors in 2014 as a senior, made her realize she wanted to get to the same level.
“I remember just wanting to be that good. I wanted to be the leading scorer for Iowa Mennonite and do these things,” Yoder said.
Once she started school at Iowa Mennonite in 2015, Yoder immediately worked her way into the starting lineup and led IMS in scoring. That’s not to say she didn’t face struggles, making only 18 percent of her 3-pointers and 40 percent of her free throws.
“Then I remember after my freshman year thinking I’m just not good enough to do that,” Yoder said. “That has made it more meaningful that things will work out if I put in the hard work.”
Her eight points per game freshman year turned into 18 her sophomore year with improvements across the board in her efficiency. That jumped to 22.2 points per game her junior year and leading Class 1A in scoring.
Yoder transformed her game with careful planning, writing down her next season’s goals at the conclusion of the year. At first, those goals started with winning just one game, then five games and this year’s goal of a .500 record.
Her drive to get better propelled her offseason workouts, AAU basketball and the other three sports Yoder plays at Iowa Mennonite.
By constantly working toward her goals, she ended her senior season by named co-player of the year in the Southeast Iowa Super Conference, being named Academic All-State by the Iowa Girls Coaches Association and now an All-State basketball player.
Yoder is the first All-State girls basketball player to get the nod since 2014 and the second first-team honoree ever for Iowa Mennonite.
Yoder was one of just three players in Class 1A to average at least 20 points per game and scored 6.1 more points per game than Emilee Danner of Ar-We-Va for the scoring title. In all classes, Yoder trailed only Caitlin Clark of Dowling Catholic at 32.5 points per game for the scoring title.
It wasn’t just her scoring that helped Iowa Mennonite to their first double-digit win season in five years, but her ability to set up other teammates to score as well. Yoder scored or assisted on 80 percent of Iowa Mennonite’s field goals.
Yoder will run track and play softball for Iowa Mennonite before heading off to Goshen College, a NAIA school in Goshen, Indiana, to play basketball.