Heart vs. Experience: Young Players Are Stepping Up When It Counts
Traditionally varsity basketball was a sacred privilege reserved for the upper classmen of high schools. Every blue moon an underclass man would be able to make the team, but even then they didn't see an abundance of playing time. The reasoning behind this practice was the older players brought more experience and that made them better players.
Today's regional semi-final game featuring Bloomfield Marian and Southfield Lathrop put that theory to the test. Both teams are loaded with some of the state's best talent from classes 2015-2017. Both are well coached, defensively sound and great at crashing the boards. Most basketball experts would say the deciding factor of games like this is the experience and discipline of the veteran players on each team; that they would be the ones who could withstand the emotional rollercoaster of such an intense game. 2017 standout players Samantha Thomas and Deja Church would not only put that theory to rest, but show that heart and toughness quite often are the winning factors.
In a game that truly could have gone either way, it was the "by any means necessary" and relentless play of these two young talents that kept their teams in the game. Deja Church earned 22 of her team's 36 points, while Samantha Thomas scored 18 of her team's 47 points and also added 10 rebounds, 5 steals and 4 assist. They both did all the necessary things, no matter how big or small, on both ends of the court, and without hesitation.
Say what you will, but I believe that players like Thomas and Church, regardless of their graduation class, are the heart and soul of girls’ high school basketball. Having talent is great, but without the will, heart and dedication to accompany it, it's really not very useful. Tonight's game brought together two teams that had players with "experience" on their roster; however it was the two players that exhibited the most heart that lead their teams on the court.
**Follow R. Simone on Twitter @LBI_RSimone**