Vongni Yang, The Union Democrat

To improve her game, Bret Harte hoopster Kelsey Switzer played with the boys on Sundays in open gym.

And when Switzer stepped on the court, she proved not only was she good enough, but also made the boys notice that she could hold her own against the Bullfrogs best.

"They treat me like any other basketball player," Switzer said. "I like that they don't let up."

With more commitment, dedication and hard work in the offseason as a senior, Switzer improved immensely from her junior year and caught the attention of college coaches.

Switzer, a point guard, earned a partial scholarship in January from the University of Saint Mary and signed a National Letter of Intenton Wednesdayto play for the NAIA program in Leavenworth, Kansas.

"It was always a dream to play college basketball since I was little," said Switzer, who got her first hoop at age 4. "When I found out, I was very excited and I could not stop smiling."

In her first varsity year as a starter under Bret Harte head coach Ronnie Davis last season, Switzer flourished and led the team in scoring.

Switzer, as a junior, played in all 27 games and averaged 13 points per contest on a team-high 42 percent shooting. She was second among the Bullfrog players from 3-point range with 14 and grabbed 105 rebounds, dished 45 assists and made an astounding 99 steals.

"She's just gifted with athleticism," Davis said. "She's got speed. She's got quickness. She can jump. She has all those qualities you look for in a basketball player. You don't see that many athletes with that type of athleticism."

Switzer helped lead the Bullfrogs to an overall record of 16-11 and 9-6 in Mother Lode League play.

Bret Harte finished third in league and qualified for the Division IV Sac-Joaquin Section Championships in 2012-13. Switzer netted a team-best nine points, but the Bullfrogs lost to Ripon in the first round.

"She can shoot," Davis said. "She can penetrate. She can drive. Her strongest asset is her speed. It allows her to do multiple things. She can run the floor. That allows her to attack the basket."

Switzer has exceeded all expectations in her senior season on the court. She scored a career-high 34 points against Summerville in January on 11 of 24 shooting for a 46 percent clip. She also made 11 of 13 free throws in the 61-33 win over the Bears.

In 25 matches, opponents have only held Switzer to single-digit scoring two times, and in both games, she drained nine points.

"I would say she's twice as good as a basketball player as she was last year," Davis said. "Her decision-making has tremendously improved. She understands when she should attack, when she shouldn't attack."

For the second straight year, Switzer, again, is leading the Bullfrogs in scoring and has the team on verge of clinching an outright Mother Lode League title.

"Our season is going really great," Switzer said. "I love the team. I love the bonds that we have. I think that we're going to do really well in the next few games."

Switzer has scored 20 or more points in 11 games this season, and has dropped 15 or more 18 times. The standout director of the offense is averaging 19 points per outing and has recorded 475 points. She has drilled 27 shots from beyond the arc and has sank 112 free throws. From 2-point range, she is shooting 47 percent from the field on 141 of 302 attempts.

Under Switzer's breakout season, Bret Harte boasts an overall 21-4 record and 12-1 in MLL play. During that amazing stretch, she has hauled in 79 rebounds, distributed 69 assists, made 98 steals and blocked a total of 20 shots. In the new year, the Bullfrogs have only lost once and reeled off 13 victories, including nine straight.

"Her speed allows her to create," Davis said. "Getting up and down the floor is her strongest asset. She does a great job. She has a great motor. She never gives up. She goes 120 percent for hustle plays. She's constantly hustling."

Bruce Erickson, who is in his first year as head coach of the Spires program, plans to exploit Switzer's talent immediately.

Switzer said Erickson will utilize her at the point guard position.

"They want me to play right away," Switzer said.