Gazette Prep Peak Performer of the Week: Olivia Florek, St. Mary's basketball

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Photo - St. Mary's basketball player Olivia FLorek is The Gazette's Peak Performer of the Week. She was photographed on the St. Mary's Pirate logo on the school gym floor Monday, January 30, 2017. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette
St. Mary's basketball player Olivia FLorek is The Gazette's Peak Performer of the Week. She was photographed on the St. Mary's Pirate logo on the school gym floor Monday, January 30, 2017. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

Olivia Florek loves life behind the line. The line which separates 2-pointers from 3s.

The St. Mary's senior has become one of the most prolific 3-point shooters in Colorado history, but she's far from finished.

Florek showed how good her sharpshooting skills are when she went 8 for 8 from beyond the arc in a 75-30 rout of Vanguard last week. She is now sixth all-time in Colorado high school girls' basketball history for 3-pointers made in a career with 231.

"It would be hard to just stand out there by yourself and make eight in a row, let alone with people guarding you," St. Mary's coach Mike Burkett said. "Olivia is such a weapon, and she can probably get to fourth on that list by the time the season ends."

The Pirates are 13-0 and ranked No. 1 in the state in 3A. Florek, who also just passed the 1,000-point mark for her career, has been a big reason for St. Mary's success.

"It means a lot, because I've worked hard and practiced a lot," said Florek, who estimates she took 200-300 practice shots per day last summer. "Now it's paying off, because my team is successful, and I'm successful."

Florek has had plenty of help along the way. Between her dad rebounding for her during those summer shooting sessions, and all of her coaches, she's had plenty of guidance.

However, one influence stands above the rest - her older sister, Gabi.

"She was my role model when I started playing basketball," Florek said. "I saw how she played, and I wanted to be like her. She would play me one-on-one and practice with me a lot, and she's a big reason why I'm a good shooter."

There was no learning curve allowed for Olivia. A year after her older sister and the 2012-13 edition of St. Mary's lost in double overtime in the state title game, she was in the starting lineup as a freshman.

Since then, Florek and the Pirates have amassed a 70-16 record, and she's led the team in scoring three of those four years.

"When she came in as a freshman, I knew she was going to be special," Burkett said. "She's been a leader on this team the last four years, and it's been a fun ride. You don't just get players like Olivia all the time. We're hoping Olivia can take it one step further than Gabi and get a state championship."

As Florek's high school career winds down, there are several goals on her mind. A 3A Tri-Peaks title, making her first appearance at state, and trying to get her hands on a state title trophy.

"We're staying focused on right now, but I have thought about winning a state title," she said. "All three of my years here, we've lost in the regional championship game and haven't been to state. So we want to make it to state first, and then go from there."

However, basketball will not rule Florek's life at the next level. Her 4.36 GPA has her looking at impressive academic institutions.

"My top three colleges are Villanova, Georgetown and Gonzaga, for nursing school," she said. "I'll go to one of those and play club basketball, but my focus will be academics and getting a good job in the future."