Athlete of The Issue: Varsity Basketball And the Half-Court Shot

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Elaine Sarazen Almost immediately, the ball lands in Sophie Norris’s hands right before the half court line, Latin up ten points, with six minutes left on the clock. “I was trying to control the ball but I heard everyone from my bench just screaming at me. Somehow in my head I translated these screams into 3-2-1,” Sophie says. Only a step in from the half court line Sophie launched the ball towards the basket. At that point, Sophie had not had much playing time, was only a sophomore, and had never scored a three point shot in her entire career, let alone a half court shot. The ball floats through the air, hits the backboard, and goes straight into the hoop. Now perhaps on the surface this moment could be seen as a nervous sophomore who was just getting the hang of things, but underneath, it shows great strength as a player early on in her Latin basketball career. Since this moment, Sophie has grown as a person and a player on the basketball team. On the court, she shows more confidence and goes for more shots; while as a teammate, her leadership skills have developed immensely. This year, Sophie is co-captain of the basketball team and was the field hockey captain this past fall. “The basketball team has become my family at Latin,” Sophie says. Throughout the four years of her high school career, Sophie spends roughly three hours each day, six days a week, from November through February with her teammates. The Latin team has not only allowed her to play her favorite sport, but has given her the opportunity to make friends she might not otherwise have made. “I could not have asked for better people to play my favorite sport with” she says and is “forever thankful” to have been brought together with her teammates. Sophie’s teammates return the love Sophie gives them. Lily Weaver says, “Sophie is a great leader who’s always there for the younger girls on the team as well as the upperclassmen. You can always ask her a question about basketball or for advice in general. Her sense of humor lightens the mood in every situation she’s in”. Where does Sophie get her motivation from? Her Latin family. When everyone on the team is working together and supporting one another Sophie feels most motivated. Not only do Sophie’s teammates motivate her, but her coach, Mr. Rouse, has been a role model for her as well.  Sophie credits Mr. Rouse for modeling “the power of dedication and passion,” something she has adopted during her career. “Over the years, Sophie faced adversity on the court. Yet, her hard work earned her a starting role this season. As a captain, Sophie, along with Kathryn Stender, cultivated a team dynamic that welcomed the freshman. The team has great chemistry and all the credit goes to Sophie and the other upperclassmen for creating that culture,” says Rouse. At the beginning of Sophie’s Latin basketball career, she made a half court shot with six minutes left in the game – something she has “been teased about…ever since”. Last year, she won one of the best games her team has ever played against Lane Tech, and this year, she has been the leader of two varsity teams. Unfortunately, Sophie’s Latin basketball career is ending soon, but she hopes in the future she will come back to help in practices and still be in contact with her teammates. Sophie may join a club basketball team in college and says, “I hope to ride it out as long as I can.” Mr Rouse sums up Sophie’s personality perfectly, saying, “It has been wonderful getting to know Sophie over the years and she can always make me smile even when a game is on the line.”]]>