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Nothing but net

Sophomore scores leadership role on varsity team
Ti’Ana Sandle
Sophomore Avery Archer cuts inside the lane to drive to the basket for another two points.

The seconds tick down as the team races down the court finishing for the tie, behind by two. The offense sets up for a final play and swings the ball to the outside as sophomore Avery Archer launches a shot from behind the 3-point line for the win.

Avery has played basketball since seventh grade when she first fell in love with the game. Last year, she earned a spot on varsity as a freshman and has worked tirelessly to prove that she deserved to have a spot on the team.

“At first, playing on varsity as a freshman was a little intimidating, ” Avery said. “I felt a little behind on some things at first, but once I was able to catch up, it was really not that hard to adjust after a while.”

Madison Wells also sees the effort that Avery has applied to help the team become better as a whole.

“Avery works really hard, and most underclassmen wouldn’t work that hard,” Madison said. “Underclassmen frequently just step back, but Avery pushes the team to work hard, and without her, we probably wouldn’t be as good as we are now.”

Head girls basketball coach Christopher Jones sees the team as a single unit that works together and capitalizes on the strengths of each athlete to work as one.

“I think Avery’s positive presence on the court comes from her work ethic, leading by example, being here working all of the time in the weight room and the gym and letting the other girls know that she’s here allowing her to impact her teammates,” Jones said. “They can all work beside each other to get better.”

Jones recognizes Avery’s work on the court and persistence in improving as a shooter. 

“Avery’s role is just like everyone else, to defend and rebound and be a good teammate,” Jones said. “She’s proven herself to be a really good 3-point shooter, so she kind of sets herself apart as a 3-point shooter but everyone’s role is the same, we do whatever we need to do to win.”

Avery said that she makes it a priority to put her schoolwork first and apply the same effort in the classroom as she does on the court.

“Avery’s work ethic is really good, and she really gets after it,” Jones said. “She puts in the time, does her weight work, conditioning, puts up her shots, and does her film study.”

Basketball goes beyond athletic ability and pushes players mentally as well. 

“The mental battles are the most challenging part of basketball; it’s mentally exhausting but at the same time it’s really fun,” Avery said. “My favorite thing about basketball is the peace it gives me,” “When I play basketball,  all of my other problems leave my brain.”

Team members have noticed how the team has grown as a whole in the last few years. 

“We’ve grown a lot,” Madison Wells said. “We didn’t used to work as hard as we do now and we do now, and we used to have issues, but now we’ve matured and work together as an actual team.”

Avery looks at the team as an extension of herself and capitalizes on each person’s abilities. 

“The team aspect coming from having good friendships with the team really impacts how you play and perform on the court,” Avery said. “You can’t have animosity towards any of your teammates.” 

Jones pushes his athletes to work as one and utilize each player’s strengths to benefit the team. 

“For our athletes as a whole, we just want them to be the best they can be,” Jones said. They don’t have the same starting spots so it wouldn’t be fair to ask them to have the same finishing spot. We just want them to push themselves and be the best that they can be and help our team win.”

Avery hopes to play basketball overseas or in the WNBA one day and her coaches believe that she can achieve anything she sets her mind to accomplish.

“As long as she continues to work, she can be as good as she wants to be,” Jones said. “It’s all about timing and opportunity and all of those things, but she’s putting in the work and doing her part to make sure she has the best opportunities available.”

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SaNyla Bullock
SaNyla Bullock, Staff Writer
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