Winning Combination

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 13, 2003

Two players can make a difference.

That's exactly what McKenzie School girls basketball players Lindsey Odom and Kassie Everett are hoping to do.

Odom, 5nfootn6, is one of only two seniors on the Lady Tigers' roster. The 17nyear old is listed as a forward, but her versatility allows her to play anywhere on the court depending on the opponent and personnel available.

"Lindsey is a good allnaround player," McKenzie's Head Coach Cindy Lowe said. "Lindsey is everything you want in a player. She's got heart, she's got desire, and she'll give you everything she's got. She's constantly hustling and never quits. You can't ask for anybody any better. She's a hard worker and does what you ask of her even if she's not in the spotlight."

Lowe believes since Odom is a senior, she will have to take a leadership role this season in order to help the team be more successful. She believes that will also be key in Odom's individual success.

"She's going to have to step up and pull the team together, and help us get that family idea together," Lowe said.

Odom agrees.

"A team needs a leader," Odom said. "I think I need to be that leader."

Odom believes the team is more successful when they work together. She said if the team doesn't, it's a downhill battle.

"If we work together and play as a team, we score points," Odom said. "Sometimes we don't work together and it all falls apart."

Lowe also said Odom is one of the Lady Tigers' biggest offensive producers.

She believes it's a result of her tenacity.

"Lindsey's the one I can count on," Lowe said. "She's has dedication and the kids see it. When others back off, she's still going just as hard as she can go."

Besides working to be a better leader this season, Odom's other goals include winning some ballgames and to help the program grow.

She believes those goals will be fulfilled because of the improvement she sees in herself and her teammates this season.

"I feel we're a little bit better than last year," Odom said. "We've matured a little bit and practiced a lot. We have more feel for the game."

Odom's heart and desire has helped her to become a better player throughout her basketball career. Add strength and grit and you've got the winning combination.

Odom's counterpart

Everett possesses those qualities and is using them to help her team find more success. The 5nfootn9ninch guard has toughened up over the years and is now one of the Lady Tigers' key players under the goal.

"When Kassie first started playing, she was the nicest, sweetest little girl you ever wanted to see, and I always wondered why she wanted to play," Lowe said. "She's finally starting to get a little mean, a little tougher, a little more of an athlete. She's almost on the level of Lindsey n working hard as she can. She's strong underneath and has finally got mean enough to fight for the rebound and get the ball."

Lowe believes Everett has the ability to be an accomplished rebounder, but will have to gain the confidence needed to find that success. She believes Everett's success at rebounding will be key for McKenzie this season.

Everett said her apprehension on the court is what's standing in the way of her play.

"When I get on the court, I tend to get nervous and anxious," Everett said. "I need to learn to calm down and get my mind more into the game, focus. When I see something, I need to try help my teammates do better. I also need to work on shooting more because I tend to pass a lot more than I shoot."

Everett's goals are similar to Odom's. She too wants to help the program grow and improve, as well as, improving her free throw percentage and to make it to the playoffs.

"The girls basketball doesn't have such a good reputation," Everett said. "My goal is to work with my team to make it better and prove to everybody that we're better than what we've done in the past."

With the improved shooting of her teammates and the desire to work together, Everett believes the future is bright for McKenzie's girls basketball program.

"Everybody has their own attitudes, and personalities conflict sometimes," Everett said. "But for the most part everybody's trying to work together more as a team and understand each other instead of fussing at each other."