It's hard to believe for anyone who's watched her play for the Camden Catholic girls' basketball team — where she commands attention and stands as one of South Jersey's most intense, sure-handed players.

But Kate Deutsch tells a story of a time her confidence was so low, she actually questioned her future in basketball.

"I remember there was a scrimmage before my junior season," she said, "Ms. Pal [coach Chris Palladino] actually sat me down and told me, 'You have the potential to be amazing. You just have to let yourself do it. The only person who is getting in the way is yourself.'

"And, honestly, after that is when I really started to turn things around."

Little moments like those are what Deutsch reflects on when she thinks about how, as a senior, she wants to lead her team.

She credits these memories when she talks about how she's developed a reputation for diving all over the floor for loose balls, for wanting to take a big shot for her team and for being able to play any position on the court — wherever her coach needs her most.

Her biggest motivation this year as a senior are the bonds she's formed on her team.

"More than anything, I want to win for Ms. Pal — she's an amazing person and she deserves it," Deutsch said of her legendary coach, who is in her 34th year heading the Irish.

And she talks about her teammates — her former teammates who helped her through tough times and her current teammates who are there for her every day.

"The one thing that makes me happiest is that I'm surrounded by teammates who want it just as bad as I do," said Deutsch, who is already off to a hot start in her senior season, averaging 22 points per game for the 4-0 Irish. "I want to be able to spend this season sharing the love that I've always been shown. I want my teammates to be able to come to me and talk to me if they're having an issue."

Deutsch, who wants to play in college but is undecided on where, has been one of the top contributors for the Irish since her freshman year — through several different phases of the Camden Catholic program.

When she was a freshman, the Irish were veteran-heavy and she was surrounded by All-South Jersey-caliber talent.

The team was stacked at the guard position — and so Deutsch, who stands a powerful 5-foot-10, played forward. And she thrived in her role as a complementary player to the area's top backcourt.

It's in stark contrast to this season, when the team is comparatively gritty, void of the flash that had previously been a defining trait. And, more than anything, rather than Deutsch fitting her game around other players' talents, the team is now more of a reflection of her own game and strengths.

"They just go out and they scrap," Palladino said. "That's our team this year. They just want to play, they just want to win. They don't care who the star is. They pass the ball well, they shoot the ball well. They play team defense. And whoever goes in, they support each other.

"And Kate is a four-year starter and she's the leader of that effort."

And that's what Deutsch wants to be known for. As much as she's emerging as a star player in her own right, that part doesn't seem to faze her.

She knows that she's close to her 1,000th career point. But when asked how close, she shrugged.

"I really haven't even thought to ask anyone," said Deutsch, who is within 200 points. "I'm just worried about improving myself and my team. I just like proving to myself that I can do things. There's always something you can improve upon. There's always something more you can do, there's always something you could have done better. And I always just want to improve every single game."