QUINCY -- Michaela Gronewold referred to it as "returning the favor."
Others might call it payback.
Either way, her three older sisters -- Randi, Danielle and Lauren -- have spent the last two winters watching her play for the Quincy University women's basketball team, which was one of the reasons she choose the Hawks after spending her first two seasons at John Wood Community College.
"I'm continuing the tradition of my family of playing basketball," Gronewold said. "My sisters have done a lot for me. They love to watch me play. That's how I grew up, just watching them play. So now I'm returning the favor so they can come watch me play.
"I've been to a lot of basketball games, track meets and softball games in my life. I'm grateful for everyone. It's brought us closer together. It makes you want to live up to the things they did. And you can't do it without the support of mom and dad. I'm just so thankful for that."
It was her dad, Mike, who helped deliver the point the support will forever be there. Basketball won't.
After the Hawks lost 101-64 to No. 15 Lewis on Thursday night, Gronewold made her way into the stands to visit with her parents. That's when Mike made an astute observation.
"He said, 'One practice and 40 minutes and you're not even guaranteed 40 minutes,'" Gronewold said. "I was like, 'Wow.' He keeps reminding me it will hit me, but right now, I'm just trying to enjoy every little thing. Enjoy it all."
She did that right up until the final exit. Gronewold was pulled from Saturday's 60-47 loss to Indianapolis with just 44 seconds remaining, receiving rousing applause from the spattering a fans available.
It was an emotional exit, but one the ups and downs of the season prepared her well to handle.
"Basketball teaches you a lot, a lot of discipline and responsibility and time management," Gronewold said. With the ups and the downs, it teaches you that life is going to give you ups and downs. It's hard. Basketball has taught me a lot of things, and I'm thankful God gave me the ability to play.
"It's coming to a close, but there's more to life than basketball. I'm thankful for the future, too."
Gronewold is studying at the Blessing Rieman College of Nursing with a bright future ahead of her.
It could include coaching in some capacity someday.
Her oldest sister, Randi Summers, has coached at the varsity level in the past, while her brother-in-law, Zach Summers, is the athletic director and head boys basketball coach at Keokuk, Iowa. Her sister, Danielle, is the head track coach at Illni West this spring.
They are all within earshot should she ever need anything.
"I'm more thankful for it because there are girls on my team who are not from America and have no one here," Gronewold said. "It makes me realize I'm so glad I'm 30 minutes from home, my parents can come to every single home game and it's just a blessing."
In a way, the last two seasons have been a blessing as well.
Gronewold started all 25 games she played in, led the nation in 3-point shooting in January and finished the season shooting 44.3 percent from 3-point range. She averaged 10.9 points and 4.4 rebounds, led the Hawks with 71 assists and made a team-high 43 treys.
That was after starting 25 games as a junior when she settled into her role as a floor leader.
"There have been some ups and downs," Gronewold said. "But I'm glad I came here."