Moving into this season, the 6-foot Delarue has been the focal point for the Lady Knights and an absolute matchup nightmare for opposing defenses to stop.
“Isabelle, as a sophomore, she sees the floor really well and she’s doing a great job of leading by example and does a great job of sharing the basketball to make the people around her better,” Howell North coach Dawn Hahn said.
Delarue averaged 9.6 points a game as a freshman. This season, she has been scoring at will as one of the area’s top 25 scorers, pumping in 17.1 points per game.
“I think the fact that I’m pretty tall for my age and the position I play I can play pretty much anywhere on the floor, so it’s hard to defend that,” Delarue said.
Delarue’s size and quickness with the ball make her virtually impossible for defenses to contain as she is able to create her own shot almost anywhere on the floor.
“She brings the ball up for us. She and Maddie Stock kind of share those responsibilities. Her length and the way she can see the floor over most guards make her a problem matchup,” Hahn said. “If you put a bigger kid against her, then she’s fast enough to take them off the dribble. So in any of those situations she can hit the open man where they are and she’s a great passer.”
Defense also is a strong asset for Delarue; she plays at the top of the Lady Knights man-to-man pressure defense. She leads the club in steals, averaging 3.5 steals a game.
“With her on top of what we are trying to do defensively, she does a great job anticipating [plays] and she’s a huge obstacle for the smaller guards to have to throw over her or go around,” Hahn said.
Building more confidence was a major factor in helping Delarue thrive in the offseason. She played last summer with the St. Louis Lynx, a club team coached by her father, John. Her work in the summer and offseason allowed her to improve dramatically in all phases of the game.
“I think, … [as] a freshman, it was kind of hard to be confident playing and scoring. This year, I’m a lot more confident doing that,” Delarue said.
That confidence has driven Delarue to excel in big games as well. The sophomore point guard helped lead Howell North to a third-place finish in the Summit Tournament over the holidays and was named to the All-Tournament team as well.
Delarue has been enjoying this season. The Lady Knights, who won just six games last year and went through a mid-season coaching change, have won seven games heading into this weekend.
Her favorite part of playing for the Lady Knights these days is getting to play with her older sister, Gabby, who is a senior. The two also played together on the varsity last year when Delarue was a freshman.
“Everything she’s done has meant so much to me,” Delarue said. “Having her by my side, just like as a buddy on the floor, if I get down on myself, she’s always there to pick me up. Just being with her every day, I just enjoy every moment of it.”